Tod and the dogs returned bedraggled and wind-blown from their early Sunday morning walk. Normally a long, leisurely stroll along the ridge before the hunters are out in their white vans, today was a quick march up to the top of the drive, an investigation of the large open barn that houses a couple of containers and some mouldy old bales of straw and then a turn into the teeth of the wind and the rain and back down again, home.
Our Indian summer is long gone. We've had days of "raining cats and dogs" (the library of congress tells me the meaning is lost in the mists of time. I like the suggestion that it might be a corruption of an old English word "catadupe" meaning cataract or waterfall.) We've certainly had waterfalls of rain - the water butts and the underground tank by the cottage are full to overflowing - and weeding between the cloud bursts has become a pleasure as the mud easily gives up normally recalcitrant roots.
The wind, however, is something new, arriving during the night and due to continue through the next couple of days. Further west, the Gironde and Landes are on orange alert.
Normally, with weather like this, we would be thinking of decamping to the cottage for winter, but this year we're embarking on a new venture - staying put in the house. In recent years our annual transhumance has become tedious, not least because there is a Bermuda Triangle between the house and the cottage and important papers - tax statements, annual estimates for the electricity - vanish without trace.
Our decision to stay put has been made possible by changing our wafer-thin watery glassed, small-paned, draughty windows along the veranda. A precious reminder of the age of our old farmhouse, it's taken me, with aching heart, twelve years to agree reluctantly with Tod that enough is enough. So they are gone and we have doubled-glazed, hand-made, beautifully sealed, easily opened, new wooden frames.
In all the gusting wind and driving rain our new windows are proving their worth. Shutters snugly shut, the noise from outside is but a distant murmur. The house has become cosy.