Bonne année, Meilleurs Vœux. Wishing you a happy and peaceful year and a better one for the world in general. Welcome to Life on La Lune 2017. This is a particularly special year for me and the SF (Statistics Freak to the uninitiated; you’ll see why below). August marks 20 years at La Lune and I’ve no doubt we’ll be raising a glass or three.
Life on La Lune highlights 2017
In the meantime, here are some of the highlights lined up for you this year:
- A new series, French Flavours, exploring the origins, history and recipes of some French dishes and beverages, especially those from southwest France.
- Further interviews in the Ma Vie Française series.
- More local châteaux in my Every Château Tells a Story series. I keep discovering new ones to tell you about.
In addition, there’ll be the usual mix of the historical, the eclectic, the opinionated and the downright quirky. And if you’d like to hear about an aspect of French life or culture that I haven’t yet covered, please leave a comment below or write to me via the form in the contact tab. I always enjoy hearing from you.
2016 Weather Roundup
It will take me at least a month to stop writing 2016 on cheques and forms. However, the weather is determined to remind us that we are now in January. Last week, it turned wintry and raw, with temperatures down to minus 9C or so at night, and our central heating is working overtime.
In ironic imitation of the summer canicule (heatwave), the market stallholders have to cover their produce to stop it spoiling. Even so, the green spears of daffodils and snowdrops are poking through and yesterday we walked past hazel trees covered in catkins. Reminders that winter doesn’t last forever.
So far, we’ve had no snow, but we’re not out of the woods until early March. And our experience is that if it snows early in the year it will carry on…and on.
It’s also our experience that the weather in the latter half of the year is becoming distinctly better than that from January to June. My husband measures everything from weather statistics to the number of colds he has in a year, hence his soubriquet, the Statistics Freak. He has been slaving over a hot Excel file to bring you a review of last year’s weather in this part of southwest France.
We give every day a subjective mark: a plus if it’s good weather, a minus if it’s bad or a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In 2016 overall we had:
+ 174 (48%)
0 104 (28%)
– 88 (24%)
As you might imagine, this varies a lot from year to year. The best so far was 2011 with 201 pluses; the worst was 2013, a particularly gloomy year, with 146 pluses.
If you look at the rainfall chart for the year, you’ll see that every month between January and June had more than average rainfall, but the later months had less, except for November, which was pretty wet. December, in a re-run of the previous year, had very little rain at all. So, although the 2016 total of 930 mm (almost a metre) is over the average of 785 mm per year, the situation is becoming quite serious for farmers.
According to the forecast, this might change next week. And the phrase “be careful what you wish for” springs to mind.
Finally, here’s a dicton, or proverb, of which French country people are so fond.
Mieux vaut voir chien enragé que chaud soleil en janvier (it’s better to see a rabid dog than warm sunshine in January).
Little chance of either so far.
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