I might be slightly unusual, but I miss the noise of the children. I miss the mess, I miss the chaos and the endless trail of wet footprints throughout the house. But now it’s the weekend and the weather is as good as any day in July or August; everyone’s at home and I’m back to picking up soggy swimming towels and hanging them out to dry; the mat outside the front door is once again littered with flip-flops waiting for someone to trip over them – everything is right in my world again!
It seems I am not the only one not giving up on summer as our wisteria has flowered non-stop since the end of April; after the initial first flush of flowers, the second show arrived just weeks later and we’ve had a mass of delicate purple petals covering the walls ever since – just this morning we noticed new blooms right above the door!
We are heading unfortunately, towards autumn though, and a new school year fully decked out with all the regalia of la rentrée, came to pass on friday as four of our children went back to school. Thankfully, and typically à la mode, my pangs of bereavement lasted just one day and then it was the weekend; tomorrow they have their annual Journée de Cohesion; a day on the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding and playing games on the sand and in the water. A chance for new pupils to integrate with old ones, a day to get back together after the holidays; it’s such a civilised start to the school year! But summer is not over, I am not giving up on summer yet, we have a couple more weeks to go and I am hanging on to the shirt-tails of my favourite season before it gets hung up in winter’s wardrobe.
To prolong the atmosphere I thought it might be a little bit of fun to look back over the holidays.
We didn’t go away as such, preferring to stay at home and let friends visit us; we didn’t need to leave as we had one long perfect ‘staycation’ right where we were.
Summer took forever to arrive, back in June we would be treated to a few days of heat and then it would be cool and chilly again, but once it settled in for the duration, wow – what a summer. It’s been an endless succession of hot dry days (we have had one day of rain since the end of June) which has not been good for the farmers and growers but fantastic for the tourists. The average daytime temperatures have ranged from 30C to 39C with no humidity, and we’ve eaten every meal outside – breakfast, lunch and dinner – for over two months.
It’s been a summer of non-stop tennis tournaments for Gigi and great new friendships.
We seem to have visited the Île de Ré several times and found new places and favourite spaces.
We’ve had lots of heatwaves, une canicule, ou vague de chaleur; officially a time when immense daytime temperatures don’t cool down at night. We’ve picnicked endlessly on our local Atlantic beaches, staying until well after sunset and returning home close to midnight.
We’ve been ocean kayaking, stopping on deserted shores
and paddle boarding on the River Charente.
We did slip away for a tinsy winsy mini break, more of a “change is as good as a rest” type affair, to the Pyrenees Atlantique and enjoy the fun of the Pays Basque although the main reason was, no surprise, for a tennis tournament!
We’ve indulged our guests in local patisserie, at least that’s been the excuse!
Our two youngest daughters have learnt to cook more than just cakes. Hetty scrambled eggs and fried bacon yesterday morning, she pretended she was on Masterchef and then called Gigi in to sit down for breakfast!
We have taken the time to stop in nearby towns and villages rather than just quickly passing through.
and for the first time we’ve wandered the ancient streets of St Porchaire, just twenty minutes away,
finding empty houses, slightly neglected, shuttered up and for sale. In my mind I am quietly calculating how I can afford to buy this and what it must be like inside, I think I shall go back for a look this week, it has intrigued me, maybe I am a hopeless romantic but I would love to fling open the shutters and sit under the grapevine!
It has been a summer of virtually ceaseless blue skies
and red geraniums.
We’ve taken friends all around the Charente Maritime and visited Mornac-sur-Seudre on several occasions, each time we find another little alleyway previously unknown to us.
We’ve sort shade in various places and cooked outdoors in the summer kitchen or on the terrace all summer long, it’s been too hot to cook inside the house.
The garden has suffered from the lack of rain, I can’t even remember what green grass looks like, but thanks to our well, we have watered our vegetables and anything in tubs. We are totally overrun with tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and aubergines which have loved the searing temperatures, by contrast the cucumbers and lettuces have not fared so well.
The figs are late this year, we think because of the cool weather in June, but finally they are ready to eat, two days ago there were none, now we already have more than we can use! Typically the first arrive at the top of the enormous tree and this necessitates a ladder and walking along the garage roof.
The grapes are spectacular, all five of our children pick together and if at any time Gigi is nowhere to be found, we know where to look – she’ll be sitting on the ground underneath the vines feasting on the deep purple, juicy fruits.
I truly hope you have had a peaceful and happy summer. If you get a moment, tell me what was your favourite part; you know I love nothing more than to chat with you all; this blog is no longer just about me and my family, it’s about all of us, or at least that’s the way I have come to view it! Bon dimanche à tous xx