A reminder that if you are in Europe, the clocks changed to summertime last night. We lost an hour and some morning daylight but gained a later dusk. A few years ago, the EU proposed to allow member states to choose whether they stuck with summertime or wintertime all year round. The mood in France seemed to lean towards keeping wintertime, which we would have hated. However, the Big C appears to have overtaken this plan, at least for the time being.
Weatherwise, we hover between winter and summer at this time of year. I know, it’s normally called spring, but on some days spring barely gets a look-in. Today, for example, we awoke to a silvery frost of minus 1.5 C, but temperatures were forecast to hit 20 C or more this afternoon (they did). We therefore decided to award ourselves a day off, having worked hard during the week on the computer (me) and in the garden (both of us).
Today, we decreed our first barbecue of the year. It had to be at lunchtime, since the temperatures drop sharply once the sun dips towards the horizon. Grilled duck breast, roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary, and spring veg were on the menu. Naturally, there was wine (I don’t normally drink at lunchtime). And a siesta afterwards.
We will have to make the most of the summery weather forecast for the coming week to get the garden firmly back in line. Next weekend is Easter. Unsurprisingly, France Météo says it’s going to rain. The Auvergne will even have snow.
“Noël au balcon, Pacques aux tisons” is a popular phrase in France. Literally, Christmas on the balcony, Easter by the embers (i.e. by the fire). This implies that if Christmas is warm, Easter will be the opposite. I can’t say we have noticed this particularly in our 24 years here. You can have fine or foul weather on both occasions. Last Christmas certainly wasn’t au balcon. And this Easter looks like it will be the aux tisons variety.
Before we get there, 1st April approaches, with the strange French traditional prank of pinning a paper fish to people’s backs without their knowledge: le poisson d’avril. I must find out more about its origins and report back.
Progress at last at Teysseroles
In the meantime, before our long-anticipated barbecue, we visited the chapel at Teysseroles this morning. The building dates back to the late 15th century, but it was built on top of two previous churches, 10th and 12th-13th century. Our house used to be within the church’s parish. We have been involved with the restoration project for 10 years.
It has taken a long time to raise the money and navigate through the Byzantine red tape around obtaining the subsidies and appointing qualified builders. The restoration work was all set to go last year, comprising masonry and roofing work and the restoration of the stained-glass windows.
In fact, some of the work was urgent, since a blocked-up archway into a former side chapel threatened to collapse, possibly taking some of the main wall and the roof with it. The Big C, of course, intervened and delayed the start of the work.
Last month, happily, the scaffolding went up. Today, we didn’t find a lot of activity had occurred, although the builders had clearly mixed concrete. We hope that they, too, will take advantage of the coming week’s fine weather.
We had a lovely day today in the sunshine. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoyed your Sunday. Stay safe.
P.S. No cuckoo yet.
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