30/06/2019 Hot, Horribly Hot!
Reading through last month’s blog, I am reminded of the old adage…”be careful what you wish for” as I sit here in semi darkness (all the shutters are shut) melting in the heat! We like a great part of France are suffering a canicule (heat wave) and I can tell you these high temperatures are not pleasant. This week we have had record highs in our garden of 44c during the day and the nights which are normally cool here as we live at 750m altitude, have been atrociously hot and sticky. Those of you who have stayed here with us know that our house and gite are usually cool inside but not this time. The gite is still the coolest place here just now, and thankfully as we have no guests, we have taken ourselves over there to sit in the relatively better environment most afternoons and evenings. At the risk of making you all hide your eyes, I can tell you I am sitting typing this post in our bedroom in the house, starkers (well I do have pants on) with a mini fan going full blast trying to get up to date and I`m still melting! I must love you lot! We have had so many “what to do in the heat” reports on the TV, its becoming boring! The French are terrified of these canicules after so many folk (especially the elderly) died during the last bad one in 2003, that they tend to go overboard. As an elderly lady myself now, I am aware that you need to drink a lot, eat lightly and stay out of the sun, thank you, and am doing my best to comply. Mind you this drinking more has the added unwelcome effect of needing to pee more too which is definitely not good news! And the really bad news is that this canicule is due to continue for a few days yet…with the added fun of storms forecast. Youpi!
The weather before the heat wave set in was a pretty mixed bag really this month. We were quite cold & damp earlier in the month and I began to worry as we had gite and B and B guests due. However, the weather mostly behaved for their visits thank goodness. I have had a run of “Smartbox” visitors this month in the B and B, all of whom were really nice and who enjoyed their short breaks with us. My cousin Ken, his wife Joy and two of their friends came to stay in the gite and again enjoyed their few days here. We went with them one day, up the Puy de Dome (first time ever for Geoff!) and then took them to Lac Pavin to complete the volcano experience, which was really good. Their visit was followed by one by our daughter Hazel & Phil, who also had a nice break. Hazel and I managed some girly time in Clermont Ferrand one day, leaving the boys to cut back some bushes in the garden and we all enjoyed eating out together quite a bit too. They came with us to the annual Fete de Musique celebrations in Issoire on mid summer`s night, but unfortunately it was not the usual good weather this year and most of the outdoor stuff got rained off. Happily, we had reserved a table to eat in one of our favourite places and as we got here early managed to eat inside watching all the chaos as a storm broke and all the terrace tables had to be accommodated inside! It was a shame though, as most of the bands play outside and so the atmosphere was not so good this year. There were not many people there either which was understandable.
We seem to have eaten out quite a bit this month when I think about it. We ate at Vivianes with Ken and Joy (fantastic as always) and also had to try the auberge at Chameane which is under new ownership. In fact, Geoff ate there again with Phil, when Hazel and I were shopping, so it now has the all clear for recommending to visitors Last Wednesday, one of Geoff
s long term students came here to eat with us, as an end of term thing…and better still, he brought the food! We love folk like him! Now though, with all this heat, its back to trying to think of light meals which dont require much cooking!
We have also managed to get a couple of swims in at “our” lake, but when we were there this week we swam as usual, only to be told by a lady as we came out of the water that there was a small notice by the lakeside (which we hadn
t seen, honest ) saying the nasty bacteria were back in the water and that swimming was “interdit” (forbidden). OOPS! As the plan deau is not yet officially open yet – it starts this weekend – we haven’t seen anything about the water analysis in the paper or on the internet, so we will have to go and see if it has the all clear yet. Very annoying especially with this heatwave, but I have to say we didn
t suffer any adverse effects following our illicit dip the other day, so hopefully it will be sorted soon. Geoff has gone up there this morning to walk the dog so Im hoping for good news when he gets back. Quick update…it wasn`t good news…the lake is completely cordoned off and swimming is forbidden. Blast!
We have had some good news this month though. Geoff
s teaching contracts seem to be getting themselves sorted out at long last and so he and the teachers who work for him may be getting some more work soon…just before all the students go on holiday! It has driven him bonkers this year as all the OPCAs have struggled to make sense of the new CPF rules. Geoff has been kept occupied by a huge revision document from the university…the biggest he has ever done for them and which has seen him confined to the computer for most of the month. All his usual university contacts have also re-awoken too now, so that work continues, which is good for the bank balance! I in the meantime continue to be quiet…so much so, that Im off to the UK next week to see the family which is very unusual for me in July. I
m practising for retirement at last! Booking these flights was its usual bundle of fun as it was quite expensive and I discovered I couldnt use my recently purchased Hop senior card (Hop is the “lower cost” Air France option which operates regular flights between CF and Paris and which we use a lot) as I was booking a flight which terminated outside France! This is even though the two flights (CF to Paris, Paris to Manchester) are clearly separate and priced separately too! I had a very lively chat with the poor girl who offered to help me…and I suspect regretted that offer! I ended the conversation by telling her that IMHO the card purchase had been a total waste of money and a crooked one at that!
I really enjoyed watching the French open tennis tournament (Roland Garros) on TV earlier this month. It’s the only real tennis TV coverage we get here on non-paying channels and so I made the most of it, and although I didn
t like the fact that Rafa won (Im not a fan of his at all), I have to say the tennis was superb this year. Wimbledon, of course, is never covered here, unless there is a French player involved when we may get a snippet of coverage. So, imagine my joy that I am going to be in the UK for part of Wimbers next week. I will have to convert my family to the joys of watching tennis on TV!
Just to add to all my heatwave woes, we had a really fun night last night! As I was climbing into bed, I saw that a small lizard had taken up residence in the canopy of the mossie net. Now I do like lizards…but not in my bed thank you! All attempts by a very grumpy husband to catch him came to nothing and eventually he (the lizard not the grumpy one) scuttled under the bed. I tried hard to settle but it wasn
t going to happen really…I had visions of little Lenny coming out to play in our bed during the night… so I upped and left going to “sleep” in our guest room, which of course was like an oven. Not much sleep really and so this morning we still have Lenny under the bed, a very unhappy Geoff, who still cant catch him, and a very tired and hot me. Not an ideal start to the day really.
So…into July we go. I am hoping that we get back to normal summer temperatures soon as this heat is really draining. I am also going to have to sort out some suitable things to wear in the UK next week where I suspect it will not be so warm! I will have my usual dilemmas re coats and shoes I suspect…neither have been much in evidence here lately. I am though really looking forward to seeing the family and some friends again, and maybe even some rain! So, until next month…
A bientot mes amis