Friday, 6 April 2007

Moved House

So I've moved house a couple of days ago! And thought I'd post up some photos of the new place as well as say hello.

As mentioned in my previous blog posting, I've moved to Les Houches - a small village just outside of Chamonix. The house is an old farmhouse high up on one of those zig-zag country lanes that rise up from the village, in fact we're about 1200m along the road after it leaves Les Houches to climb upwards. We live at somewhere around 4,500 feet above sea level!

The farmhouse is actually owned by a mate who's rented the top half out for some time now, and luckily my housemate and I have managed to secure the place for the next year - banzai!

So here it is:

The farmhouse.

Inside there's a few bedrooms and quite a lot of space - it's pretty big. Unfortunately there's no real central heating so much of the heat comes through the wood burning stove in the lounge and there's a few electric heaters around the place. It does get a bit nippy sometimes but foraging down into the lower reaches of the duvet soon sorts that out. There's currently no washing machine either so often I'll find Andy's washing in the kitchen sink! Good news is that the landlord's going to stick one in and Andy and I can put our cash together and buy a dishwasher.

The kitchen.

The living room with wood-burning stove, Chris in the far corner, Jonny Slippers (both paying a passing visit) and Andy's legs.

My room is pretty damn cool. It's got one of the beams going through it that support the house. I'm pretty stoked to be honest as the whole thing is wood-pannelled as well. Really mint - looks like the inside of a sauna! I've also got a tv with an XBox/dvd player so I can watch movies and play games. The whole place has got a 10MB wireless interweb connection as well.

My room with TV, XBox and a couple of boards.

The rest of my room with the balcony and pillar support. More boards on the left!

The best thing about living there is the remoteness - away from everyone and everything just being able to live a pretty minimal peaceful existance. There's balconies all around the place, and this is the view from mine.

Looking up the valley towards Chamonix with the Grands Montets mountain the most prominent. Mont Blanc is just around to the right.

We've even got a dog, Digby, roaming around on a lead.

Digby the Dog.

All in all, very cool. Along with Merv the Swerve, my P plated white Renault van, all is going better and starting to really settle in here. I've been recommended for a contract that I can work on out here by a mate in London which is ongoing development work for a dance music website as well as another contract for a local produce ordering website. With these under my belt that will provide really quite a good standard of life out here. Everything seems to be coming together now. Really stabalising and in a couple of months time I should be settled in properly and will be awaiting the summer with relish.

I've talked a lot with Andy about doing the Haute Route - 180km high-mountain walk from Chamonix to Zermatt in Switzerland. Essentially from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. It's a pretty serious undertaking but in good weather the views and rewards will be fantastic. I guess it's a legacy of my Dad taking us out to the Alps when we were kids. I remember walking around the mountains surrounding the Ossiachersee in the Austrian Alps when I was young and it was loads of fun. Admittedly I'm carrying a little more weight than then, but I've lost around a stone and a half since I've been here and feel fit and pretty lean. I'm sure that I'll slim down even further in due course with the summer sports calendar that's rearing its head. For the moment, though, I've found I'm noticably fitter than most of the people I hike and ride with and it's always pleasing to look fit and healthy.

So all in all I'm a pretty happy bunny. I've only had one real low period since I've been here and I hope with all the fresh air and activity both mental and physical as well as not living in a manic ski resort anymore it should mean that those times will be few and far between. I certainly hope so.

I'm working on a mashup of GPS tracking and google maps at the moment so you can see information and routes plotted onto an actual map in real time. It's pretty cool and we're extending it up so that we can get all the information for Chamonix and the surrounding area on there as well. It's looking really good and it's great to be producing some really cool stuff. I'm hooking it into our advertising model as well so it'll be another part of the revenue stream and we've more people joining us to sell the advertising too so all in all, it's looking very healthy for the future of our flagship business here. Game on!