Visitors who are used to the constant hum of city life sometimes ask us, “Don’t you find it a bit quiet here?” The answer is no. I’ve never been a city-dweller by temperament and much prefer la France profonde. I sometimes miss the opportunity to pop out to art galleries, cinemas, theatres and so on. But, actually, I’m not sure I took advantage of them when they were on the doorstep. Instead, we have a wonderful array of bird and wildlife.
Recently, we have watched the antics of golden orioles as they bicker and whistle in the treetops; enjoyed frequent glimpses of a delightful pair of hoopoes, who must be nesting nearby; been ousted from our own covered balcony by nesting redstarts who must not be disturbed; shooed deer away from my roses only to have them return five minutes later; sadly, disposed of a weasel, which the cat had left uneaten under the car; and observed a large hare (below) grazing contentedly in the back field before taking a nap. To name but a few.
The good weather in June assisted these sightings, since we often took a walk down the lane at dusk, when the animals come out.
Weather assessment for June
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 June, there were:
Pluses – 20
Zeros – 8
Minuses – 2
The graph shows the percentage of plus days each June for the past 17 years (the line is the trend). Compared with June 2013, which was dire, this June was positively tropical. Even so, it was only around the average. We’ve had seven better and nine worse. But as you can see from the chart, there is a lot of variation – and the trend line points downwards.
Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. This June we had 60 mm of rain compared to an average of 59 mm for the month, so just about spot on what you would expect. But it rained on seven days as opposed to the average of 9.2.
This year, which started off very wet, the rainfall so far totals 484.5 mm against an average of 460 mm for January to June. So we are still around 5% above average. But the past few months have been rather dry.
This is more than can be said for July, which started hot, sultry and thundery and has now turned just damp and cool. Good for the garden, I suppose.
The French are very fond of weather dictons (proverbs), so let’s see what the old saws say about July:
Ne vous plaignez pas s’il tonne en juillet ; car en ce mois s’il ne tonnait, guerre et famine il y aurait. Don’t complain if it thunders in July; if it didn’t, we’d have war and famine.
In that case, I suppose it’s better to put up with it.
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