Lazy Sunday in Southwest France

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.

Winter-summer

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.

Our rustic barbecue

Pre-Easter weather

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.

Official notice detailing the work and where the subsidies are coming from. The association, to which we belong, has raised nearly 30,000 euros.

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.

Archway into the former de La Valette chapel (now demolished). In very poor condition.

Elaborate platform above the collapsing blocked archway.

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.

Front of the chapel.

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.

You might also like:

Clock this

Buried treasure at Teysseroles Chapel

French and Corsican Easter traditions

Copyright © Life on La Lune 2021. All rights reserved.          

18 comments

  1. In Canada we changed our clock on March 14. I like to see the light in the afternoon and slowly we are getting longer daylight. J’aime bien même si je ne sors pas beaucoup le soir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vous changez l’heure avant nous, alors. J’aime la lumière le soir. Pour le moment, un couvre feu commence à 19h00, mais comme vous, nous ne sortons pas bcp le soir.

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  2. Cuckoo heard this morning!
    It was so near, loud and appeared somewhat speeded up that I at first thought it was a human imitating one. But as it flew off and sang again at a greater distance the sound became familiar again! Sadly did not see it though.
    Hope the builders at your local church are not using cement!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Still no cuckoo here. It must have bypassed us. I don’t think the builders will have been using cement, but what I described in the post as concrete is probably some kind of lime mortar. The project is being overseen by Bâtiments de France, since the church is a Monument Historique, and they have no doubt specified the materials to be used. The builders are supposed to be specialists in restoring historic buildings, so we have to hope that it’s being done by the book.

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  3. I posted on my blog a few years back on the ‘poisson d’avril’ tradition. It seems the origin is rather murky, but check it out if you’re interested. Your inaugural barbecue lunch sounds lovely. Hope the sunshine lasts and helps bring the Big C numbers down!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, it’s MaryJane again! As you might have seen from my latest blog I’ve just finished my second book. It’s called A Simple Life, and is about living off-grid in a cabin in France, re-connecting with the natural world, negotiating Brexit and a pandemic, as well as immersing ourselves more deeply in France than when we were on the boat, learning the old ways and the new.
    I have a short section on Les lavoirs and in one of your previous blogs you recount an amusing joke about a new priest struggling with a phrase meaning more than it seems. Would you be happy for me to use this joke in my book? Obviously I would credit it to you and list your blog in the reference section. Let me know what you think, and if you would prefer I can send you my email address. Best wishes. MaryJane

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on finishing your second book. I’m happy for you to use the joke. It isn’t actually mine, but the translation (which I did from memory) is. I don’t remember where I got it originally, but I don’t think there would be a problem about using it. I told it to my author newsletter subscribers, and they seemed to enjoy it, judging by the feedback! A credit would be nice. Thank you.

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  5. First BBQ – you’ve pipped us to the post, particularly as we haven’t got one yet!! But it’s on the shopping list. Shirts and t-shirt for the first time yesterday – hope our Easter isn’t going to be cold, I’ve gone into summertime mode, probably way too soon. Fascinating blog as always- interesting about April 1st. Take care. Mary Jane

    Liked by 1 person

    • We enjoyed having a lazy day after a rather frenzied week in the garden. It wasn’t quite warm enough for shorts, but it was certainly mild enough to sit out to eat. Rain is forecast here for the weekend, unfortunately, but then it is Easter!

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  6. No Cuckoo heard here although on our walk last wednesday the verges were full of cowslips that the French nickname ‘cuckoo’. Like you we had half a degree of frost this morning but the thermometer hanging on the magnolia in the sun said it went up to 32° this afternoon!
    Our walk last wednesday took in the church of Saint Jean the Baptist in Goudou, in the commune of Labastide-Murat. I was interested in the rather gory window behind the altar and later discovered it dated from 1941 and was the work of a Belgian painter, Georges-Emile Lebacq. I’m telling you as I know you love the quirky French patrimoine!
    Do you think we are headed for another lockdown? The papers seem to think so. 😦 Bon courage, stay safe…

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have heard a cuckoo as early as 25th March in a previous year, but normally it doesn’t arrive until April. This afternoon the temperature went up to mid 20s. Very acceptable! According to la Météo, it should go even higher in the next couple of days.

      Thanks for the quirky info! Yes, I’m always up for that kind of interesting detail.

      I have a horrible feeling that another generalised lockdown is around the corner. Macron was making dark hints about it the other day. And epidemiologists are saying it’s the only way to flatten the curve. They really have to get the vaccination programme back on track.

      Bon courage à vous aussi.

      Liked by 1 person

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