Saturday, 29 August 2009

End of the Party

The house martins are gathering on telephone lines. The cows have gone from the field the other side of the valley - no more distant bells. This morning we heard the first of the guns for the hunting season. And we had friends round for supper last night and bless them, they left early.

For two months we have all supped, drunk, barbequed, visited night markets, had friends and families to stay, danced, been to concerts, watched shows and suddenly, for all of us, we'd had enough.

For the first time in weeks we finished the evening indoors, curled up on the sofa, the shutters closed against the cool night air. And today I just gardened - tugging at the thistles that have grown over the muddy trench where a new land drain lies. The earth around their roots still feels warm, but the gold evening light across the bare fields and the sharp breeze speak of autumn.

Building work is about to start on our house and in two weeks we'll be moving into the cottage. Our days are going to be busy with packing and decisions about what to take and what to store.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Upstairs in the Cottage

I'm at an upstairs window of the cottage fixing a new handle.

The opening used to be a small hayloft window and the deep wooden lintel is at the height of my eyebrows. Tod has to stoop to see out but I can look directly down through the dappled green of the lime tree to the sloping brown lines of Monsieur F's now-harvested field beyond.

I feel like a child in a tree-house.

LinksThe Handles - Progress (of a Kind)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

No Rain ...

... for the next seven days, the météo chart tells me.

Obviously the few splodgy splashes falling over me this morning as I trudge backwards and forwards with the watering can don't count.

We have a hosepipe ban and most of our plants will have to fend for themselves, but the roses and small kaki tree I planted earlier this year need the occasional soak to keep them going.

Today's lowering grey clouds are respite (and good watering weather) from the fierce bright heat of yesterday. Even last night on the veranda, where we sat over supper with friends, there was no breeze to cool us.

In the dark warmth, as our friends left, we lingered over our goodbyes, looked up at the Milky Way and searched for shooting stars.
After midnight I swam and cooled down enough to sleep easily.
Shooting stars

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Muck and Mahler

Monsieur F has been muck spreading in the field at the back of the house and behind the wood store. Clods were flying over our fence and onto the grass between the fruit trees. The hot wind was blowing from the north west and as I started to do supper I realised that we would only be able to smell and taste ammonia .

We fled to the crêperie in Clairac.

The tables in the courtyard were crowded as everyone was there to eat before the evening concert in the church - the last in a week of classical music. So we sat inside in the cool, brick-walled gloom listening to Madame chat behind the counter as she whisked up her crisp, light crêpes.

The performance was Mahler's Fourth Symphony, played with great verve to a packed, sweaty and enthusiastic audience. There was to be another piece by Mendelssohn, but we slipped away to escape the heat and took great gulps of fresh air driving home in the batmobile, to store up for our return to our smelly valley.

Today, after a garden-reviving downpour, the air is sweet and clear again.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Brother Love

Taken for granted
He would always be there - following.

First, the toddler on pudgy legs
Then the adult
Who knew me better than I knew myself.

He told me he could not stay
I did not listen
And then I looked round and he was gone.

Today is Peter's birthday.
He would have been 60.