End of Summer

This was the last official week of summer vacation here in France. The remaining vacation stragglers will be heading home to the “real” world of work and school.

Clearly, Summer decided to go out with a bang, as we had a real furnace blast of heat for several days this week. It made me understand what so many of you have gone through this year and be extra grateful that we’d mostly escaped it.  Then, it real Possum Kingdom style, within a matter of hours yesterday, the heat blew out and a storm blew in, dropping temperatures to more normal (and comfortable) levels. This morning it was downright chilly when we walked the dogs and this afternoon feels pretty much perfect.

But it’s already looking a lot like Fall outside; the leaves have been dropping from the plane trees (probably more to do with the heat than the season) and they are crunching underfoot with that definite autumn sound.

And, also this morning, for the first time it was pretty dark when we went out ; most of that was due to cloud cover but not all of it. I can see that soon we’ll be needing flashlights again for first walkies.

I also feel like cooking again, something that I haven’t felt much like doing in the summer heat. Thoughts of soups, stews and casseroles are running around in my head and I can’t wait to experiment as well as rediscover old favorites.

I can’t say that I mind any of this, as Fall remains my favorite season. I look forward to having the chimney swept so we can light the first fire of the season; I look forward to the smell of wood smoke in the air; I look forward to the agricultural fair in Espezel.  Yes, it is a good time of year!

Ciao for now.

Randy

Summer Calm

It’s been a bit of the summer doldrums here, as the lazy days of August have led to not much news that’s fit to print.

Even though our various summer friends have been around, everyone seems all caught up in doing work on houses and family matters, so it has been much quieter than summers we’ve had in the past.

In some ways, even though there is still over a week of August left, it feels like Fall is already upon us. I wonder if that’s one of the signs of getting older; all time feels compressed. JM and I were talking about some things that are happening at the end of the year, and at first it seemed far away, but really, it’s only a couple of months now. Maybe we never give ourselves time to enjoy what we are living in the “now” because we are always too present in our own futures.

On the local front, I would imagine that we are going to have one more vide grenier before the season is over, as we usually have three during the summer. No signs about it yet though.

And, for those who are interested in visiting the region, relatively new British residents, Dave and Toni have been working like maniacs getting their new gites up and running.  They are a lovely couple and have done an amazing job. I’ve already sent them a friend who is going to stay in October.

In fact, according to an article in l’Independent this week, visitors to Carcassonne in July were at the highest number ever. That makes me think that more of those visitors are venturing afield and finding our little corner of the Possum Kingdom. I do know that when our friends were looking for accommodation in early October, almost every place that they checked was already booked. That’s both good and bad, I suppose. Good for local businesses and tourist destinations, scary if you don’t want the area to turn into another Provence.

Still, how can you deny the joys of the Languedoc to anyone who wants to experience it for themselves?

Ciao for now.

Randy

Feeling Lucky

I’ve been watching the weather around the world and I think that we are very lucky here in the Possum Kingdom. Now, I’m not sure that EVERYONE feels that way, because if you are a fan of lizard-like heat, we are not having that. But those of us who like more moderate temperatures have no complaints.

We had a very hot beginning of July as you may remember, without a drop of rain for almost a month. Then about two weeks or so ago (maybe a bit longer, time kind of flows together these days) the weather changed; it cooled down and we had several goodly storms. We’ve had days that have felt more fall-like than summer-like.

Now, personally, this suits me to a T. I think that temperatures in the low 20s (70s F) are just about perfect. Granted, lots of rain during dog-walking hour is less than ideal, but I can cope. I do feel bad for the people who come here to camp, as I can’t imagine much that is more miserable than trying to camp in the rain. Still, I’m inside, so I don’t really care!

As always, you can always tell when it’s August here. First, if you have to drive anywhere you need to be really, really careful on the roads. We’ve had several times when we’ve been out that have been a bit on the scary side. I understand that our roads are narrow, but that really does not give people a reason to drive down the center of the road! There is a white line in the middle for a reason; it is not a “user’s suggestion.”  Nothing freaks me out more than coming upon a driver from a different department/country who is heading towards me in MY lane while he/she is talking on their cell phone and the only place I can go to get out of their way is into a ravine leading down to a river. I do not want to end my days that way.

Then, there are the people who drive through the village looking at the quaint buildings instead of the road. Yes, our village is pretty, but park your car and get out; please don’t run me or my dogs over while you look at it!

There is also a lot of construction going on, which is a good thing over all. It means that people are buying the houses in the village and fixing them up with the intention of staying here, whether as permanent residents or holiday residents, I don’t know. But it’s good for a village to have life in it. And houses that are fixed up make a village look lived in and attractive, not sad and run down. All good signs. It keeps the businesses busy, which may draw more businesses, and that means that those of us who live here have places to shop.

All-in-all, we are very lucky indeed.

Ciao for now.

Randy