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Summer? What summer? That’s how it feels at this end of it. After a very dismal few months, September distinguished itself by being the rainiest month in our 24 years here. Now, autumn has arrived with a vengeance, starting with continuing rain and a chilly north-easterly. However, there are glimmers of light on the horizon.
The SF (my husband, aka the Statistics Freak for his penchant for collecting stats of all types) claims that summer runs from 1st May to 30th September. This may be stretching a point. It certainly doesn’t coincide with meteorological summer (June, July, August). But if we are lucky, we can swim in all of those months, so I suppose that constitutes a working definition.
In recent years, we have become accustomed to summer not really taking off until about mid-June. This year it didn’t take off at all, with the exception of a few hot days here and there.
The upsides are that the countryside remained very green throughout, we were able to get out to complete much-needed external chores without being frizzled and we hardly had to water the garden at all. Even drought-resistant plants like sedum (see photo at the beginning of the post) seem to have thrived this year. The downside was that we never stopped mowing, strimming and weeding, whereas we normally get a couple of months’ respite.
The cumulative rainfall for the previous 12 months (1st October 2020 – 30th September 2021) is the highest it’s ever been at 1,223 mm. We have experienced several torrential downpours, one of which flooded the local riverside campsite and friends’ garden when the River Bonnette overflowed.
September here is normally a mellow, luminous month with warm sunshine. This year, it was a washout. We had 215 mm of rain, the most we’ve ever experienced in a single month and almost four times what we would normally expect in September.
Unfortunately, this meant that the planned meal to celebrate the restoration of Teysseroles chapel couldn’t take place onsite. It was transferred to the salle des fêtes instead.
On the bright side
The upsides? The weather is forecast to improve for at least a week or so, although it won’t be hot. That’s okay. We can catch up with some walking and garden tasks. Autumn is a lovely time of year to walk, provided it’s dry. Today, as I write, the sun is slanting through the leaves outside, and I have glimpses of an uninterrupted blue sky between them. Long may it last!
Our wood is stacked and ready for the winter. In fact, we’ve started burning it already. All carted and stacked by my own fair hand between showers, since the SF was recovering from cataract ops in September and wasn’t allowed to do heavy work. Eighty wheelbarrow-loads of logs. I now have muscles like a prize fighter.
The walnuts are falling, and it looks like a good crop this year. Also, the nuts are good quality; very few have gone rotten. The two walnut trees in front of our house are grafted. For some reason, this makes them flower later, so they missed the week of sharp frosts in April. Also, they don’t like drought, so this year’s rain has been welcome to them (if not to us).
In other news
Covid has receded sufficiently to allow some activities to resume: my yoga class in Villefranche, for example, to which I last went in early March 2020. It was good to catch up with people I haven’t seen in all that time and to stretch unaccustomed bits of me again. Nonetheless, it doesn’t do to let one’s guard down too much, otherwise we will all be banged up again in a late autumn lockdown.
Life on La Lune has been featured in two French life magazines this autumn. More about those in later posts.
This month and next I will also be featuring interviews in the Ma Vie Française series with people who have experienced life in France. So watch this space.
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