Summertime, and the Living is – Busy

Life on La Lune has been a bit quiet recently. One non-negotiable reason is that we had huge problems accessing the internet during the past week. While it is back, it’s wobbly. The other reason is that summer has arrived, and with it a raft of activities that all seem to have come at once.

Unprecedented heatwave

And, of course, we have been in the grip of a fierce heatwave, unprecedented for the end of June. A few days ago, a town in the Gard, Gallargues-le-Montueux, attained the highest temperature ever recorded in France: a blistering 45.9°C. Over here, we got away with 38°C: not so hot, but still scorching.

By virtue of keeping the doors and windows closed, we’ve kept the temperature in the kitchen down to 25°C, but our bedroom was 32°C last night. We have resorted to keeping red wine in the fridge, otherwise it’s like drinking bathwater. And we are getting through bottled water as it if were going out of fashion.

Fundraising fête at Teysseroles

Chapelle de Teysseroles

Fortunately before the temperatures soared, we held our ninth annual fundraising event for the 15th-century chapel at Teysseroles last Sunday. Apart from one occasion, we have always been lucky with the weather. This is crucial, since the meal is held in our outdoor dining room under the trees. This year, it was fine but not too hot. Had it been a few days later, it would have been impossible.

I haven’t written about Teysseroles for a while, for the simple reason that, to our frustration, not much has happened. The chapel is a monument historique and the plan is to restore it to its former glory. A small amount of work has already been carried out: reinforcing a buttress, installing new stone steps and restoring the front door. In addition, the wall encircling the cemetery is now virtually rebuilt.

Work to date: before…
After: renovated front steps, door and left-hand buttress

But the blocked-up archway that formerly led into a side chapel (demolished many years ago) has become unsafe and is in danger of giving way completely. It’s now forbidden to enter the building on pain of prosecution.

Blocked-up archway into the former de La Vallette chapel. The stonework has moved since this photo was taken.

It’s not clear where the gridlock has been. However, we are now assured that things are moving and the tendering procedure will be invoked in July with the work to be carried out, hopefully, in October. The team are keeping fingers crossed that this is indeed the case.

In the meantime, our fête was a success and 173 people came to the meal. We used to do all the food ourselves, but this was very hard work, so we now employ a caterer. This year, les convives dined on charcuterie, salade de gésiers, melon, magret de canard with fried potatoes and cèpe mushrooms, cheese and pastis, a local dessert made of filo pastry and apple. Even after paying the caterer’s bill, we raised a good sum to add to the growing bank balance.

Making an exhibition of oneself?

In addition, the SF has been gearing up for a concert of his choir, Hommes sans Frontières, to be held in the Sanctuaire de Notre-Dame de Livron, near Caylus, on Sunday 7th July at 6 pm. This is one of the only male voice choirs in the area. They sing chansons in a variety of languages (French, English, German, Italian, Russian, and even Welsh).

Notre Dame de Livron, a rather gloomy shot taken on a winter’s day

The lovely little church has excellent acoustics. However, the pews are rather uncomfortable, so if you plan to come, a cushion is highly advisable. Fortunately, the concert isn’t long.

The choir had a dry run in Caylus yesterday evening in the intense heat, as part of the vernissage (opening) for an art exhibition, Odyssées, on the theme of exile and displacement. This year marks 80 years since the exodus of half a million people from Spain, following the Civil War. Some of them ended up locally in the refugee camp at Septfonds. The museum of modern art in Toulouse, les Abattoirs, has coordinated various artistic commemorations around the region. A local organisation, DrawInternational, organised the event in Caylus.

19th-century Gothic revival château
Installation in the château

The event started in the “new” château, built in the 19th century, moved on to a nearby house and ended in the rue Droite, where a new gallery exhibited some of the works. Hommes sans Frontières sang a small selection from their repertoire, while the rest of us enjoyed an apéro. Thankfully, the street was in the shade by this time.

In full flow.

Having had a brief respite from the heat this morning, when a drizzly mist descended, the thermometer is now soaring again, so that’s it for this week. I’m off for a swim. Wherever you are, keep cool (or warm if you’re down under).   

You might also like:

Canicule: the Dog Days of Summer

The Spanish Cemetery at Septfonds: A Moving Monument

How a French Fête is Run

Copyright © Life on La Lune 2019. All rights reserved.  

About nessafrance

We moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I'm fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs. I also write historical novels and short stories.
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4 Responses to Summertime, and the Living is – Busy

  1. Gillian Brown says:

    I don’t wish to preach, Vanessa, after all the other superb stuff on this post that I so much enjoyed (oops, sorry, got angry, must be the heat) but frankly it freaks me out how much bottled water the French drink (second to the Spanish). Here, I have pretty average, often chlorinated water. I fill my old (yes, plastic) bottles with tap water and put them in the fridge, the nasty tastes evaporate. It’s not just me I have a scientist friend to back me up on this. Drinking bottled water is only contributing to heating up the planet further, the reason you’re drinking so much of it!

    Like

    • nessafrance says:

      Oh dear. Sorry to have upset you. If it makes you feel better, we are planning to buy a water filter soon, which will, of course, reduce our use of bottled water substantially. In fact, a couple of years ago our commune’s water source was contaminated, and then we had to drink bottled water. We are never quite sure since then if we can trust the local water.

      Like

      • Gillian Brown says:

        I’m sorry, Vanessa, I didn’t mean you to take it personally. It was inappropriate of me to have this rant on your blog for many reasons I won’t get involved in (can hear your sigh of relief!). I’ll be perfectly happy if you delete this… Once again, apologies.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nessafrance says:

        No problem and no need to delete. You’re right to raise an important issue. Our commune’s water source has been a problem, so we don’t like to take chances, but they have probably sorted it out now, so no need for us to be so careful.

        Like

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