. . . this year high summer seems to arrive out of nowhere.
One minute we are fretting that the weather is not warm enough for our visitors and we worry that we will be chilled sitting out for a leisurely evening meal in a restaurant high on the escarpment overlooking the Lot valley.
The next, we are hiding indoors, shutters pulled to with just a crack to let a glimmer of baking sunlight through. We wonder whether it was this hot last year? (It probably was.) Did the pool get up to thirty degrees? (It probably did.) And was the lawn this parched and dry? (Almost definitely.)
We stroll up to Laparade night market, leaving it late thinking the crowds would be thinning, but the hot night envelopes us like a blanket and cars are still arriving by the dozen, the tables are still packed and the queues for food still intertwine across the square. A man in white with a red cap and scarf is singing Basque songs - quite well too. We spot friends in the dark silhouetted against the lights of the band and chat for a while. But Bertie announces loudly to the world that he can see/smell another dog between the bare legs of the milling throng and we decide it's time to beat a retreat.
We park the car in front of the house and pause before going in, looking upwards at the huge arc of star-filled sky. The Plough hangs low over us - appropriate for this harvesting time of year.
Then, to the north east, across the dust of the Milky Way, I see my first Perseid meteor. This is a good year to see them - no moon and an inky-black cloudless sky.