Right up to the end of June, we wondered why we had a swimming pool. For the past five weeks, we have been very glad to have one. It was as if someone had flicked a switch on 1st July and we entered a parallel universe where the sun shines. Whereas in June we were lighting the wood-burner on some evenings, in July we were putting bottles of red wine in the fridge to prevent the wine being the temperature of bathwater. Felix the cat (above) goes to ingenious lengths to keep cool but he draws the line at swimming.
Every month I post an update on how the weather has been in our corner of southwest France, based on the statistics we have kept since 1998. To see the other weather posts, please click on ‘Weather’ under the Topics tab in the right-hand sidebar.
Weather assessment for July
A quick reminder of our subjective weather assessment: we assign each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In July, we had:
Pluses – 26
Zeros – 4
Minuses – 1
The graph shows the percentage of plus days each July for the past 16 years (the line is the trend). This puts July 2013 on a par with the best. The others were in 2006 and 2009. Surprisingly, July 2003, which was stiflingly hot, was not quite as consistent, it seems.
We don’t have equipment that is sufficiently high-tech to record the temperatures but on many days it was too hot to do anything after about 11 am; into the upper thirties Celsius. Not that we’re complaining – not after the frightful winter and spring we endured. But it’s uncomfortable for elderly people or those who have to work in the heat: a stonemason we know ended up in bed with heatstroke. We went to a concert at Aujols (Lot), featuring the Fejes String Quartet (excellent). By the end of the encore, the male violinist and viola players’ shirts were wringing wet.
Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. Along with hot weather goes thunder and we had several storms of varying intensity in July. This accounts for the volume of rain: 83 mm against the average for July of 44.6 mm. On one occasion, we had 31 mm in half an hour and, because of the wind direction, it was coming through parts of the roof. This year, the actual rainfall is still well ahead of the average – 662 mm compared with 501.8 – so it seems that drought is unlikely.
After about the 15th August, it’s unusual for really hot weather to continue, although there have been exceptions. Hence the following dicton (proverb):
A la mi-août, l’hiver se noue. In mid-August, winter starts taking shape.
I’ll leave you with a shot of a co-resident of our house: one of the many sparrows who nest in holes in the walls. This one was particularly noisy and I managed to get him in full voice.
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