The swallows have gone. I don't know when. I just noticed they are not here any more: no longer swooping for insects behind combine harvesters like seagulls following a fishing boat or twittering and fluttering in their dozens along electricity wires. What did swallows and starlings do before man brought electricity and telegraph wires to sit on?
The nectarines have vanished from Leclerc. We now have great banks of ripe juicy pears - every sweet, dribbly bite a reminder of summer.
The landscape has changed shape. Through summer the maize and sunflowers created 6-foot green walls across the Garonne valley through which we drove, seeing no further than two or three rows of giant stalks. As the fields are harvested suddenly we have vast open brown spaces under huge skies, with distant church spires and chateaux nestling low in the surrounding hills.
We approach our house and for the first time see our pigeonnier peaking coyly above the brow of the top field, where before we just saw green.