Saturday, 21 September 2013

l'été indien

"Savourez l'été indien" is a headline on the front cover of the October issue of my French gardening magazine and all French gardening books include a season  l'été indien between the chapters for summer and autumn. I have loved this stretching of the summer later into the year since we came here - Autumn is all very well, and I know lots of people who love it, but for me the longer we can put off the retreat indoors the better - last year visitors used our pool at the end of October!

This year however it has been different, September arrived bringing cold,damp and miserable weather for days on end, summer seemed to have left early just as it had arrived late. (The wet weather finished off the tomato plants so part from a large trug of green fruit at least my "tomato problem" is behind me.) There has been much frantic scrabbling to find long trousers,jumpers and even socks for heavens sake, and also a sudden urgency to the need to find someone to sweep the chimney. For the first time since we moved in we are having to buy some wood for the fire as most of our stocks from garden clearing here and at our ex holiday house are too fresh to use. We've had some delivered but will have to get more now we've got some idea of what a "stere" of wood looks like (not a lot is the short answer).

But we shouldn't be using wood yet - a French friend told us yesterday she never lights the fire before the first of November - and panic over, apparently the indian summer is going to happen after all. Yesterday a dull morning was followed by a sunny afternoon and I got to enjoy sitting in the sunshine beside the pond with a book ( I needed to recover from a morning spent lumberjacking in time for our dancing workshop in the evening). The forecast from tomorrow and for the next week is for sunshine and warm temperatures - perhaps the water in the pool might even warm up again, I bet TC goes in anyway!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

ç'etait l'été

Looks like that was it - more then a  touch chilly the last few days - it seems that  summer is  bowing out early just as it arrived late. At least July and August were  lovely with  hot weather and very little rain and wow what a summer we've had - much too busy for blogging!

 A stream of visitors have kept us on our toes and we have been more than happy to spend the whole of the summer chez nous, why would we want to go anywhere else? We have enjoyed local festivals and exhibitions and TC got to play some music.

a little bit of Purcell

outside the Troubadour at the Occitan festival in Laguepie

a friend's party in Tarn

strolling musicians at the Parisot art festival

Our big project of the summer has been the conversion of part of the barn at the back of the house into a dining room. This meant knocking through the 60cm thick back wall of the house to make a door and several scary days with the wall supported on accro bars. The summer kitchen and barbecue area was a no go area while the builders were working but it has all been worth it though as the new room has made a big difference to the house and how we can use our summer kitchen space. I am glad to have a nice separate dining room too, I never have got used to entertaining in the kitchen!

The garden has been beautiful and the new pond has established quickly giving us a new focal point and another lovely space for sitting outside.

It has also been  productive - in the case of the tomatoes even a little TOO productive. I really must remember not to plant so many next year - I have roasted, souped, dried and sauced what seems like tons of them - 9 different varieties - I have red chutney and  green chutney, the freezer is bulging with boxes and boxes of sliced plum tomatoes and sauce. TC no longer asks what's for dinner it's "what's with the tomatoes?"

We are deliberating about where we might go for a holiday in February/March next year - could be a very good idea if the winter is going to be another long one and it could even have started already! We certainly won't be planning to go away in the summer - we love the summer  here too much.