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Les Guis is a small hamlet in the Monts de la Combraille, the mountains at the northern edge of the department of Puy-de Dôme in the centre of France, in the region known as the Auvergne. The nearest village of any consequence to Les Guis is Pionsat, and the nearest town is either St. Eloy-les-Mines or Commentry.

In days gone by, Les Guis was an extremely large hamlet with a considerable number of houses, and was famous for its weaving and spinning. There's a green lane that passes through here that was fomerly the route taken by pilgrims travelling between the Abbey of Bellaigues and the monastic community of La Cellette, one of the routes of the Pellerinage de la Compostela. Today, though, the lane is overgrown and the hamlet is mostly derelict.

Although most of the houses had fallen down, there were still a few left standing when I visited here in 1997 with Laurence and her daughter Roxanne. One of them particularly caught my eye for several reasons -

  1. it wasn't overlooked
  2. its aspect that was mostly south-facing and had a nice slope downhill
  3. there was plenty of land included in the deal
  4. much of the aforementioned land is aforested
  5. there's this whacking great barn
  6. it didn't need too much doing to it (at least, in comparison to some places we had seen on our travels)
  7. the price was right

To pass the time, I'd been studying a University course in Environmental Technology and the idea of wind and solar power appealed to me. I'd had in the back of my mind the idea to buy a place in the country and have a practice with living self-sufficiently off the grid for electricity and water, and so despite many reservations, I took the plunge and bought the place.

At first it was a holiday home and little was done. But I took early retirement from work in 2004 and in 2006 sold my apartment in Brussels and came to live here permanently.

For 9 years, the place was my home but then, inevitably, a serious health issue arose and that, I'm afraid, was that. I was in hospital for 18 months and then moved into some kind of respite care.

One day, when my health permits, I'll be back to carry on.

You can read about the progress that I made through the early years by navigating through the links on this page.

Once I was properly installed I started to keep a blog on a daily basis of what was happening.

I'm also taking part in many of the local activities, and I'm starting a web page with photos of interesting happenings around here and round where I'm now living, as well as some of the sights (and sites) worth seeing.

Another thing I'm planning on doing will be to have some pages of photos of places further afield, but that might take some time to develop.

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