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Indian summer in Southwest France
It’s fair to say that here in the UK we’ve had a superb summer. It kind of took us by surprise, but we have certainly enjoyed it and most of us seem to have made the most of it. In fact, going by the weather we’ve had over the past few days, I’m not sure why I’m writing in the past tense. Although it’s normal at this time of year to expect temperatures to be falling, we seem to be getting a real bonus of warm, sunny days.
The summer in France hasn’t been all that great by normal standards this year, a fact that was confirmed by a lady I spoke to the other day, Lizzy. Lizzy lives in the Gers in Midi-Pyreness and was telling me that at 6.30 in the evening the other day, her thermometer told her it was 33 degrees. Now that’s what I call great news. Lizzy and I got speaking and she’s going to write a regular column for us about her life in France.
Lizzy runs a gite business and has kindly offered to share her personal experiences with the readers of this blog. Lizzy told me that her gîte hadn’t been as busy as usual this summer, but because it operates successfully all year round, she’s not too worried. She hadn’t really over-analysed why there were fewer tourists this year, but told me about the people who bagged themselves a real bargain in her gîte for September. She did an off-season rate for them and they’ve had high season temperatures! Lucky them.
Lizzy also took me on a journey that she’d made to a city near her home recently that made her realise just how lucky she is to be living the French dream. She admitted that the weather made the journey even more memorable, but as she recalled the story, I was almost on that road with her. Here’s what she told me…”Patrick, you should have seen the Pyrenees. The sun was shining directly on to them and the sky was as blue as it gets even in the height of summer. There were sprinklings of snow on the mountains that were glistening like icing sugar on the strong and imposing surfaces. I had the window open and the smell of the countryside was warm and rich. In some ways it was a little bit unfamiliar because the ground is much damper than it would be in high season, but the strength of the sun was giving rise to an odour that was almost summer-like”.
Lizzy went on to tell me that her neighbour had been out early that same morning picking cèpes and had very kindly shared a significant part of his hawl with her. This is the second time he’s given her cèpes this year. According to Lizzy, the first lot was delicious, however, her neighbour, being a cèpes connoisseur said they’re not as good as usual because of the summer we had. I asked how often her neighbours pop in with produce and I turned almost green when she told me that she’d been delivered so many tomatoes by various neighbours over the weekend that she’s had to freeze some of them. That’s another thing that’s so great about rural France.
Anyway, enough about my jealousy for Lizzy’s life, I’m delighted that she’s going to be contributing to our French property blog over the next few weeks. I think Lizzy will give our blog readers a real insight into the richness and naturalness of the life she’s living in France. Although she’s a busy lady, she considers herself incredibly lucky to work from home and live in a community that is so rich with affection. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Lizzy’s life in SW France, especially as half of my blood originates for this part of France, and hope you’ll enjoy her stories too.