Summer Arrives at Last in SW France

 

Abbaye de Marcilhac-sur-Célé

Abbaye de Marcilhac-sur-Célé

C’est l’été and the weather has finally caught up with the calendar. We’ve had wall-to-wall blue skies and hot sunshine for the past few days. This was a particularly good thing this weekend, since we sang in a concert featuring Mozart’s Requiem in the riverside village of Marcilhac-sur-Célé in the Lot. The concert was in aid of the restoration of the ruined abbey there.

In the event, it was a bit hot for the singers, enveloped in our concert gear, but the good weather tempted out 150 people and the abbey church was packed. We were even graced with the presence of a bishop and a cardinal. The concert was dedicated to the victims of last week’s Nice attack.

Ruins of the Abbey

Ruins of the Abbey

Summer weather?

Back to less elevated matters. The SF (my husband, the Statistics Freak to the uninitiated) is beside himself because I haven’t posted about the weather for a couple of months, judging a monthly report to be overkill. However, since so many events over the past few weeks have been dependent on good weather, I’ll humour him. Luckily, the weather for our fundraising fête at the end of June for the restoration of the 15th-century chapelle de Teysseroles was perfect.

I think it’s fair to say that this was the worst spring we have experienced down here. Not only was it wet, but it was also chilly and grey. We have remarked that the first six months of the year are getting worse, while the latter six months are improving. We have had some luminous autumns.

So let’s grit our teeth and look at the grim reality. We give every day a plus (good), minus (bad) or zero (indifferent or we can’t decide).

May

Plus – 10
Zero – 11
Minus – 8

June

Plus – 12
Zero – 19
Minus – 8

In 18 years we have had only one worse May and one equal. No June has been worse than this one, but one was equally bad. The charts below show the proportion of pluses for these two months over time; the line is the trend.

This presents a pretty miserable picture at a time of year when you’d expect a higher proportion of plus days. The only consolation is that the garden was burgeoning and the countryside greener than I’ve ever seen it.

Rainfall

The figures speak for themselves. In May, we had 97.5 mm of rain; we’d normally expect 85.7 mm, May traditionally being one of the wetter months. In June we had 86.5 mm compared to the average of 62.8 mm, i.e. 38% more than normal.

Rainfall 2016 to date

Rainfall 2016 to date

For the year to date, the total is now 636.5 mm, 34% higher than the average of 475.1 mm.

Temporary residents

Goldfinch nest anchored in our vine

Goldfinch nest anchored in our vine

To finish, here’s a shot of the interior of a lovely little nest that a pair of goldfinches constructed in the vine that stretches across our garage. I was alerted to their presence because it’s unusual to see birds flying in and out of the vine. I have to admire their persistence. They succeeded in raising a brood of three chicks, despite a lot of daily disruption.

The inside of the nest is beautifully soft. I read that they line it with thistledown. The day before the fledglings left, I heard the parents in the trees enticing them out with a silvery song. I hope they’ll come back next year.

You might also like:

Five Signs of Summer in SW France
Five Seasonal Summer Road Hazards in SW France
French Summer Markets

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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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8 Responses to Summer Arrives at Last in SW France

  1. Pingback: Drought in Southwest France | Life on La Lune

  2. Thank you for the weather update, I was missing them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Osyth says:

    I would love a nest lined with thistledown. I am so glad the weather turned upward in time for your concert – boiled in your costumes it must still have been wonderful. I have a friend with a son who sings beautifully. Yesterday they were in Notre Dame de Paris as this (English) choir gave a recital. They are bursting with pride as well they might be but she sent me a picture of her face matching a very ruddy t-shirt …. for every upside there is a down. We travel home to Cantal tomorrow – please ask it to remain fine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • nessafrance says:

      A thistledown-lined nest is a lovely idea, isn’t it? Like something out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Goldfinches also eat thistle seeds, so I’m glad to note at last that thistles do have a purpose!

      It’s been even hotter today and I imagine the weather might break sometime this week, but that’s the usual summer pattern. I will keep fingers crossed for the weather when you’re back in Cantal. I bet you can’t wait!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth says:

        Can’t wait is an understatement! I am SO excited. Thistledown is indeed surely stolen from The Dream and Goldfinches have risen in my estimation (and it was high because they are SO pretty) by eating Thistle which I had mistakenly thought was just a Scotch emblem! I think the weather is supposed to break at the end of the week but as you say, that’s the pattern. After that it seems to be rather fine for the duration of our stay (though I then progress to England and may well need thermals!!!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • nessafrance says:

        Enjoy your stay. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth says:

        I will though I have to accept not much walking as my leg is still mending from barrelling down Arthur’s Seat three weeks ago. Bah!

        Like

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