Week 15 (10–16 April 2023)1

This week came with fluctuating weather, and fluctuating feelings (like I noted last week, my parents were visiting for Easter holidays). It's early in week 16 as I'm writing this, and over here things are calmer again—as is the weather, as are my feelings.

More outdoor climbing

...at the Mazet crag (sectors Petite Aiguille and Troubadour) on Monday with the parents (first unsupervised lead climbing outdoors) and bouldering at Casteljau on Sunday with friends.

I'm super happy that C and I can finally climb outdoors independently!! We're also fully equipped since we dropped by the amazing Face Sud store (near Vallon) a couple weeks ago. (We're missing a few quickdraws2, one carabiner3 and a couple maillons rapides4.)

It wasn't the first time we went bouldering outdoors (we did a bit of that back in 2021 with C and J in the same area, Casteljau, and we even have a crashpad here), but it was really nice to go with people who knew the place. N and J (another J5) know the place like the back of their hands and I enjoyed the boulders a lot more with them bringing us to their favorite problems, giving us tips when we got stuck etc. Outdoor bouldering is as tricky as indoors (read: trickier than rope climbing) but here there's no colorful resin hold, only hard-to-notice little gaps or lumps in the rock, sometimes obscured by moss. Being shown around by regulars was great.

And we were also at the gym on Wednesday and Friday. And (I'm getting ahead of myself but) we just got back a session this Monday evening, April 17th (week 16), and I'm very happy to have finally finished another purple project that I worked on all throughout the week (15).

Life in the country

  • Came back from the gym one evening to find the neighbor's two donkeys about 200 m down the road that leads to the village. I left C to keep an eye on them, drove up to fetch other neighbors who were already looking all around for the donkeys with flashlights (this isn't the first time), left the car up the hill and ran down with halters to bring the donkeys back. Love donkeys.
  • I finished weeding and plowing a good part of the lower garden (near the well thing) where we're thinking of planting zucchini, pumpkins, sweet potatoes. It was nice to have Stardust then Later to listen to (thanks Libby app!)
  • Potatoes and green peas and snow peas and fava beans are growing healthily in the upper garden, salads in the greenhouse. Tomato seedlings are still in the consistent warmth of the house.
  • Swallows are here! It's amazing to watch them hunt in the late afternoon skies.
  • ...and things are getting really colorful around here! Countless shades of green on trees and plants, yellows and pinks on the side of roads, and even the first roses are out.

Four wheels and a boot

After some time searching testing hesitating, we had settled on a car last week, got it insured (this was a whole other thing, you don't want to know about it), and on Friday we finally drove it home.

It's a little red riding Kia Rio from 2018, still in great shape and perfect for us: we need space for a crashpad in the boot, a couple of friends in the back, power to carry us through the Monts d'Ardèche, and reliability to avoid having to go to the garage too much. There's a minor situation with the reversing radar (an add-on, the only thing not under warranty) that's pretty inaccurate and very, very loud—we'll probably try to get it removed.

Not having a car is not really an option around here (though we do know people who manage to hitchhike everywhere—they live in town, a bit easier). It was super convenient to share F's car since we got here, but it's also nice to finally have our own! We can go climbing on a whim (and without preventing F from going grocery shopping or lunching with friends), not change the rearview mirror position every time we go somewhere (until C can drive, that is), and set our own radio presets (for now, 1 = France Inter. We have more presets left than there are radio signals).


Just one film again this week, and not one to brag about:

  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023) by David F. Sandberg. A night when I wanted (needed?) light entertainment, and it didn't disappoint. Superhero stuff rarely does! (During the first lockdown back in the spring of 20206, C and I went through the entire MCU in a custom order that someone recommended on Reddit.) I giggled a lot, but would still not recommend this unless you're after exactly this kind of stuff. (This might be a film equivalent to a Stephen King novel—or am I being too harsh on either of these?)


...but I did some more reading! And also wrote a few book notes that I'll link to from here:


  1. I'm gonna start adding week numbers in here because that will make it easier in the future

  2. we have 10, we can climb many routes but some require up to 15. We're not really limited by rope length, the one we got is 80 m.

  3. for part of the anchoring technique we learned. We can use a quickdraw as a replacement in the meantime but we're already short on these

  4. these are the little carabiner-like things that you can screw onto a point to be able to get down without having to leave a quickdraw behind, in case we can't get to the anchor (alternatively if there is an easier route up you can use that to get to the anchor, or ask a stronger climber for help)

  5. maybe I should start to use the two first letters?

  6. already three years ago!!