I stepped off the plane at Toulouse on Wednesday evening into a different season. During a brief business visit to London, it was chilly and blustery. Back in SW France, summer had suddenly arrived with temperatures well into the thirties centigrade. Now the lawn has stopped growing, we have to water the plants and the electric blanket is definitely de trop. Qu’il dure!
The unwanted visitors? Not human ones, although we have had a few of those in our time here. These are the insect variety, which proliferate in this warm weather.
I have already been bitten silly by mosquitoes, despite slathering insect repellent all over. They always find the bits I missed. Battalions of ants are invading the house. Big fat flies drone around like cargo planes. And the greenfly are having a field day on my roses. But I’m prepared to put up with them in return for good weather.
Weather in May
Our subjective weather assessment assigns 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 May, there were:
Pluses – 11
Zeros – 17
Minuses – 3
The chart shows the percentage of plus days each May for the past 17 years (the line is the trend).
The figures show May to have been the third worst over that period. This was a bit surprising, since we didn’t have the impression that it was that bad. However, although bright and very dry, there was a chilly wind quite a lot of the time. This meant that we didn’t think many days deserved a plus, so the large number of zeros skews the result.
The garden was at its best in May. Because we had a mild winter and a fair amount of rain early on, everything burgeoned and the colours were magnificent. Now, they are already fading and the spring green is not so bright.
In May we had less than two-thirds of the normal rainfall: 53 mm compared to the average of 85 mm. It rained on eight days as opposed to the normal 11.
During the first five months of the year, we would normally expect 400 mm of rain. This year so far we have had 388.5 mm, reflecting the lack of rain in May.
Our annual fête at la Chapelle de Teysseroles, the 15th-century chapel we are helping to restore, will take place on Sunday 28th June this year. As ever, we are praying for good weather. Normally, we get it, except for the notorious occasion two years ago when it rained and we had to erect a marquee. So was very interested to see what the weather dicton (saying) had to say for that day:
A la Saint-Fabien, bon foin jaunit bien. On St. Fabien’s Day, ripens well the hay. [A little poetic licence in my translation].
I take this to be a good omen. Look out for more info about the fête soon.
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