White-out

 

Car under snow

Norway in January? Scotland at Hogmanay? No, southwest France on 27th November.

This is what we woke up to this morning. We weren’t greatly surprised. La Météo issued a severe weather warning last night for the départements around ours (Lot and Aveyron). But they weren’t forecasting it for our area. However, we somehow knew that it was destined to hit us too.

This is our 14th winter here and it has never snowed so early. The earliest snowfall we have had was last year, when we had a very cold snap a week before Christmas. But today’s efforts are unheard of, at least as far as we’re concerned. No doubt if you ask the old folk round here they will shake their heads and say, “Ce n’est pas normale.” For them, the weather is never normale

Snowy steps

The Statistics Freak ventured outside, since our satellite Internet connection wasn’t working. He discovered the satellite dish almost completely covered in snow and, fortunately, normal service was resumed once he brushed it off. This is one of the downsides of living right out in the sticks: we will never get broadband here.

He also measured the depth of snow on the table in the photo at the top of this post (on which, incidentally we ate lunch outside in the sun two weeks ago). It was 11 cm deep, so it must have snowed most of the night.

No question of going to the village today. Our lane is steep, winding and 1km long before you even get to a minor road. It’s bottom of the council’s snowplough list. We might get out but we probably wouldn’t get back up again. Fortunately, we are well provisioned, the electricity hasn’t gone off (I’m touching wood hard as I write that) and it’s all rather pretty really.

Frozen wastes: Siberia? No, southwest France

So, all you folk who think that the sun always shines in the south of France and that we swim in January, disabuse yourselves of that notion. Here is the evidence. And if you’re planning to move here, make sure you invest in some thermal underwear.

Copyright © 2010 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved

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About nessafrance

My husband and I moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I am fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs and enjoy seeking out the reality behind the myths. I run my own copywriting business and write short stories and the occasional novel in my spare time. My husband appears here as the SF, which stands for Statistics Freak, owing to his penchant for recording numbers about everything.
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6 Responses to White-out

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Oh my, looks like my erstwhile digs, the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. (where it gets to 1000 cm, on rare occasions). That dispels my final imago of SW personhood and living. Next, I suppose, you’ll tell me that bad food and wine can be had as well.

    Stay warm, stay well!

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    • nessafrance says:

      Oh dear, sorry to shatter your illusions, but as your illustrious countryman allegedly said, I cannot tell a lie. You can get bad food and wine here, but happily that’s rare.
      The most snow we’ve had here was 50cm in January 2006, which of course was pas normale.
      I shall shortly be sitting by the fire with a nice glass of kir.
      Bonne soirée.

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  2. Stephanie says:

    Stay warm! You’re a bit snowier than we are, but it’s still falling and more is forecast. I think it’s going to be a long winter this year …
    Amitiés
    Stephanie

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    • nessafrance says:

      It’s melting a bit now, but I’m afraid that either it will snow again overnight, or freeze on top, which would be even worse.
      We read somewhere that Polish weather forecasters are predicting the worst winter in Europe for 1,000 years. I’m not sure how they know that several months in advance; and presumably accurate records were a bit thin on the ground in 1010. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’re wrong.
      Restez au chaud, as they say down here.
      Bien cordialement,
      Vanessa

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  3. Rob Innis says:

    Brr, looks like it’s a case of keeping warm indoors and getting down to some more writing! We are expecting lots of rain here (Costa Blanca) – but given how dry Oct and Nov have been doubtless the folks up in the campo will be grateful.

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    • nessafrance says:

      I should be so lucky (getting on with writing, that is). We’ve just spent an hour shovelling snow away from the worst part of our lane where we always get stuck. It’s thawing now, but if it freezes overnight that particular bit of road will be like an icerink. These are the joys of country living. I wouldn’t swap it, though.

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