Monthly Archive for July, 2015


21 degrees with a snivelling sky. Anoraks are being worn in the village. I resist. 16 is still shirtsleeve weather where I grew up. There’s a jasmine in the garden. It’s very rewarding plant, covering itself in heady blooms to start with, but it goes on summer long with sufficient blossom to perfume the terrace.
BeetleA Scots visitor the other day had one of these things crawling up the wall a couple of inches from her head. I, not a natural squeaker, would have squeaked. She didn’t. Neither of us had encountered the insect before but she tried to pick it up with her hand. I diverted her to a glass and a postcard and the beast was ejected.
Lidl was closed the other day because farmers had sprayed it with liquid shit. The natives are very tolerant about this sort of behaviour. I once went on a farmers’ demo in Wales and we stood politely on the other side of the fence and held up some banners. I did feel it a bit of an insult that they didn’t even bother to send a policeman. Poor Lidl had to import a new set of shopping carts and I’m told a whiff still lingers.


Good boar this year at the chasse lunch, although its carving left something to be desired. You’d’ve thought a bit more care would have been taken as the vast majority of the chasseurs and their guests have plastic teeth no better than mine. Boar is either delicious or inedible and we’ve had two goodies on the trot. The wine is OK but the drinks beforehand were the usual appalling sticky fortified things. I plumped for whisky and received uneasy glances when I completed my modest splash with water. It should have been at least two inches in the plastic cup and topped up with coke.
I picked up another speeding ticket near Bordeaux. I pay the bill quick and forget about it since we UK driver’s license holders don’t accrue points. It’ll lead to tears when the UK computers do link up with the rest of the continent because bad habits die hard. In a similar vein I nudged a flowerpot out of the way without thinking about it near Bristol the other day because that’s what I do with my own car, which wears its myriad of scars with pride. But hire cars don’t and it cost me £150.
The hot was broken by a night of thunderstorms and the temp has been sub 30 since – a relief. The dogs sat and shivered as the world outside flashed and banged. It doesn’t augur well for the village fete, which approaches. M le Maire does like his fireworks and the dogs will have to be well shut in with loud muzak playing to distract them. There’s also a disco for two nights on the trot and the nearest speaker is no more than a dozen yards from our bedroom window.


The 30+ temperatures are set to continue as far as can be forecast. I rejoice in the agony of the grass, now burnt dusty brown and incapable of growth. The terrace faces north and catches any breeze that passes so is rarely too hot to sit there. The kestrels have long gone but the lull in birdsong and activity that I thought was normal has not yet happened. It’ll go a bit quieter when the swifts depart at the end of the month but at the moment the colony numbers about 30 that scream round the chateau. An oriole calls from a tree 50 yards from the house. Of course I know its remarkable fluting call redolent of steamy jungle canopies as well as its incongruous squawk but it has an extra conversation of quiet chuckles that I didn’t know.
We went to lunch with a guest in a delightful restaurant adjacent an ancient abbey with tables beneath a large shading tree. It’s a husband/wife operation – son does the waiting – and the food is good but you can’t be in a hurry. It doesn’t much matter as tourists, pilgrims and other curious fauna wanders past. Some Brits next to us got cross at the delay and found another set of Brits to join in their complaint. They claimed they had an appointment, got shirty and stumped off before the pudding. They joined the passing parade and husband came back half an hour later to sit on a stone wall to wait for his wife. The restaurant missus to whom they had been rude offered him a chair in which to sit and wait. He had the grace to look a bit shame-faced.
The village is quieter than usual, both because the smaller children have been at camp and because water restrictions rule out pressure washing cars and no grass growth frustrates those who love to primp their surroundings with strimmers.


Life slows down when it’s as hot as it is. One hopes for a breeze that at least will keep the air moving, otherwise you sit indoors with a fan playing. Our neighbour, even though his aircon keeps his house at 22, has fled the heat to Brittany and left us to look after his dog. It is an amiable creature, Poonkie’s sister, and rather larger.
A colony of pipistrelles have taken to roost behind a shutter. I would like to host them but the quantity of shit they rattle down onto the terrace is discommoding, as is flitting round the upper floor of the house at bedtime and requiring to be ejected with the help of a towel. I’m afraid I shall evict them tonight by closing the shutter and force them to find new lodgings.
Most of the cereals have been harvested as has the first crop of melons, but there are still hectares of the latter, in glittering polythene strips across the fields, to come. Most of the sunflowers are in bloom. We walk the dogs to a little river, which is as low as I’ve seen it. There’s a pumping station by a bridge that irrigates fields in three communes, but water restrictions have been imposed and the mighty squirty hoses rarely play on the other side of the valley.