... minus five in parts of the Landes, Tod, Vita and I headed south west for Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the sea.
We arrived bang on time for lunch, tucked ourselves into a sunny corner of a restaurant terrace, snuggled into our puffa jackets, people watched and ate crispy fried cod with a sweet pepper sauce.
Post-lunch we wandered along the front but although they can sit in restaurants, dogs are strictly not allowed on the beach. We thought we'd try our luck further south but sadly Hendaye was the same. So we watched the few hardy surfers braving the sharp wind, Vita peered over the promenade wall looking for something to chase and we decided next time we'd choose a more remote location where she could safely be let loose to get her paws wet.
In the late afternoon, as we contentedly drove home, the car thermometer just crept into double figures.
In the 1970's I lived in Brazil and I wrote home to my mother in the UK every week. Those letters became the story of my life there. In 2007 I moved to south west France. Not quite sure where "home" is, I have no family left in the UK. If I did, these words would be my letters home, capturing the first impressions of my life here, to share, enjoy and perhaps re-read in years to come.