Summer Solstice

P6410392YESTERDAY EVENING, 11.45PM.

It’s dark. Outside it’s still 32ºC/90ºF, but inside it’s comfortable and pleasant without the need for air-conditioning – a good thing as I am not sure anyone in the village has any. Instead, we rely on old technology, whereby the two foot thick stone walls of our house keep us cool. I’m alone in the kitchen, the windows and doors are still wide open and I’m staring out into the stygian blackness. Roddy has fallen asleep in the sitting room; Bentley is with him as always and Evie is with me. She tried to stay awake to keep an eye on Rory the cat, her greatest mate, but she can’t quite manage it; thick eyelashes, black on one side and white on the other, gently close and she too enters the world of dreams. I’m thinking about the wonderful evening we have just enjoyed. I open my laptop, wondering how I can possibly convey this feeling of pure contentment – how I can explain such simple things which make a night so special?

It’s close to midnight and I think I might go for a swim, the pool looks deliciously inviting and I’m not at all tired – I can almost taste the coolness of the water. The children are all in bed but the sound of music is wafting down through the village on the warm night air. Tonight is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the 21st of June. It is the official start of summer and all over France it is also La Fête de la Musique, the official day to celebrate live-music. Throughout the country there are concerts, large bands in big cities and small local groups in tiny villages; anywhere and everywhere music is enjoyed until the small hours of the morning.

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It’s quite difficult keeping a track of time with these long summer evenings, when what seems like 7pm turns out suddenly to be 9pm and the sun is still shining fiercely in the sky. Consequently we seem to eat later; the children are never in bed when they should be and everything takes on a far more casual tone, and this evening has been no exception. The atmosphere was relaxed, a state of mind and body not helped by the fact we are in the midst of a somewhat fierce canicule, an extreme heatwave which tends to slow everyone down. Dogs no longer run, children seem to shriek a little less and even the flies go from A to B in slow motion. Trees flap listlessly in a faint breeze and whenever one can, one slips un-noticed into the pool and out again, to stand dripping in the breeze so the air chills the water on one’s skin. No one is particularly hungry and simple salads accompanied by homemade flatbreads loaded with summer vegetables, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes have become our staple diet. Naturally this is accompanied by a good glass of wine, even in the heat ‘red’ is still my preferred choice, unless someone mentions champagne!

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We planned to all wander through the village to listen to music tonight, but we could hear it clearly anyway from the pool, and its watery domain was too much fun on such a hot evening. But at 10.00pm, the night seemed young, and Roddy and I decided to go along, leaving the teenagers in charge we headed out on our own, feeling somewhat like teenagers ourselves. This was much to the excitement of all the children saying we were going on a date, just the two of us! The crowd around the pool was not just our children, but also our neighbour’s – we are frequently a house of many people!

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We strolled down the ancient streets, no doubt as thousands have done before us on the evening of the summer solstice.  Our way to the music was slow, unhurried, and peaceful. There was no one else on the streets at our end of town and our footsteps echoed off the dusty walls amongst the hollyhocks. Dull lamps glowed behind half-closed shutters, and in the distance we could faintly hear people singing and clapping. The sky was still blue and it was hard to believe it was just an hour and a half shy of midnight. A peal of laughter burst out of a dark house across the road and Roddy and I grinned at each other, suddenly aware that the weather was making fuddled fools of everyone.

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The ancient market hall still stands where it has done since the 12th century. Tonight it had become an open-air concert venue, with perhaps a hundred villagers mingling together. There was a small stage on a raised dais of pallets, a table of drinks on offer to all, and all around babies lay sleeping in pushchairs and prams, oblivious to the noise. Their parents were swaying to the music, one hand on the pram, the other holding a drink. Children played in the street and those who we knew from school ran over to offer a kiss and say ‘hello’. We greeted a few friends and then wandered on. The air was getting stiller, and as the breeze died away we realised the sultry heat of the day had dissipated, leaving us with the most perfect evening. We headed down a narrow street towards the Château.

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By this stage we were casually sauntering in the middle of the road, it was 10.41pm and there was not a car in sight and yet still it was light. The tarmac was warm under the soles of my shoes as we headed on out of the village and away from the strains of the guitar and the band, away from the sounds of chatter and laughter and singing.

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With each step the evening became more and more peaceful; stars began to appear, scattered across the forming night sky, while away to the west a striated sunset was sinking to completion below the horizon, signalling the end of the solstice day.

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In the distance the flags were flying on the roof of the Château and we stopped for a quick camera-call. The sunset outlined the building and surrounding trees in a stark shape of silence, as though the landscape was holding its breath, waiting for the sun to finally fall asleep. We were so far from the music that we could barely hear a note, apart from a chorus of cicadas, the perennial sound of summer in hot countries. There was nothing else to break the mood, apart from our gentle footsteps on the road and our own hushed voices, for we found ourselves communicating in soft muted tones, almost as if it would be a shame to talk too loud and break the spell of the oncoming night.

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P6600620We turned for home, perhaps we would savour another glass of wine on our terrace, looking up at the stars. Roddy nodded in agreement at the suggestion and we quietly hastened on our way. Happy Summer Days.

 

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126 thoughts on “Summer Solstice

    • Yes it’s all down from here for us! Although it is still only June, the children haven’t even finished school yet although it already feels as if we have been enjoying summer for ages. Xx

  • Lovely post, we too are “enjoying” the heatwave and like you the children are staying up later and later. We had the music from our village concert serenading us until 11:30pm last night. I wish I’d thought to go out and take a photo of the sunset!

    • The weather has been fabulous hasn’t it, just loving these wonderful long warm evenings. The children never manage to get to bed on time any longer, like yours they stay up later and later, last night they were in the pool until 10.30pm! But it seems such a shame to break up these wonderful nights by saying “you must go to bed!” Thank goodness it will be summer holidays soon and no more school, then it really won’t matter! Xx

  • What a lovely evening. I had wanted to go out somewhere to listen to some music while sipping on a cool glass of rosé but it was too hot to take the puppies out in the car so we stayed home behind closed doors and windows with the fan on, desperately trying to keep cool.

  • Thank you for this beautiful, atmospheric picture of your lovely summer solstice. I was there with you, too, and so happy to be by your and Roddy’s sides. xo

    • Thanks so much Anne, it really was such a fabulously pleasant simple evening, a perfect stroll through ancient streets on the balminess of summer evenings. Utter perfection! Wish you had really been here, maybe next year! Xx

  • What a lovely way to spend an evening. Lucky kids and lucky you, how I long to live in France, but for now I have to enjoy it through your writing.

    • It really was the most beautiful evening, I love small village life, uncomplicated and simple but making the very most of the smallest of things and everyone always comes together, young and old. Xx

      • I enjoy all of your post but this on struck a chord. The beautiful simple settings of flowers, food, pets & village life! In this crazy world i need the sense of beauty & peace 🌎🌸🕊
        It calms my mind & fills my soul to read your posts.

      • Thanks so much Jeanne, I do think we need calm things in this world. The news is so sad and everything seems to be so negative, I am constantly praying for so many people. Sometimes it is nice just to have complete peace and enjoy these simplest of pleasures with friends and family. I hope you have a lovely calm and peaceful weekend xx

  • So evocative! Here in Australia it’s been raining non-stop for 2 weeks, everything is mouldy, and it gets dark by 5.30pm… It was good to read this post, and see the photos : ) G

    • I do know how you feel, no doubt I will be feeling the same way in winter, although it never really gets dark before 6pm here. However, we have to enjoy these wonderful long summer evenings whilst we can and make the most of them! I think it is the winter that makes us love the summer so! xx

  • Just lovely, & you are so right, it is the simple pleasures that give the most pleasure. Your writing gets better & better, I enjoyed reading about your evening very much.. We had torrential rain yesterday, so not as close today. The weather here in Edinburgh is so weird, 30c at the weekend, & forecast to drop to just 13c by the end of the week! x

    • Wow that is quite some drop in temperature! It is meant to get cooler here too by the weekend, 25C instead of 35C, so just a great deal more pleasant for actually doing anything other than sitting and doing nothing! We need the rain so badly here, our lawn is brown, we have no grass in places at all! Enjoy your wonderful weather whilst it lasts xx

  • Wow, what a post! I can imagine myself walking and experiencing every description as if I was there! Wish I was….
    Thank you for sharing such a night with us.

  • Hi Susan, long time no comment, my apologies, been way too busy. Love this post, very calming. Amy and i both agree that there is little to beat the coolness of an evening after a scorching hot summer’s day. You conveyed this so well. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much Simon, glad to hear all is well with you both. Cool evening air is indeed wonderful after the heat of the day and it has been so hot here, but loving every second of it. xx

  • So glad to hear about your lovely Solstice celebrations. I wish more celebration of this date would happen in the U.S. but I celebrate both solstices (summer & winter) with long and short foods. It started when my son was young and we had spagetti on June 21 and couscous on Dec 21st. Just a creative outlet to mark the changing seasons. I loved your photos of the sunset and dusk. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much Kathy, I love celebrating Summer solstice and winter too, and love that you have your own traditions around these dates, they are certainly occasions to mark and remember. Dusk is so late here at the moment that the evenings feel as if they go on forever and it is these simple evenings that really do give the most pleasure. xx

  • Like you, we are also in the midst of a “canicule” with temps just shy of 100F. A dry heat, but stifling just the same. Your descriptive prose provided me with loads of smiles at the scene and I could practically feel the air you so brilliantly described. Very well done! Here’s hoping your heat wave breaks and summer can be enjoyed a bit more outside.

    • It seems we have much the same temperatures, ours is a dry heat too,and it has been going on a while now! We are still continuing as normal, G played a tennis tournament in this heat last Sunday, it was 110F in the sun on the court!! Life goes on as normal, we just all melt a little!! But it is getting a couple of degrees cooler each day and by tomorrow should be far more normal, as in around the mid 80’s and, as you say, lovely summer weather, that makes everything possible. Hope you cool down there a little bit too! Xx

  • Oh it all sounds so idyllic. Here in the states I doubt that anyone even recognizes that is it the summer solstice. What beautiful and evocative prose. Thanks for taking us along on your walk.

    • Thanks so much, summer solstice has always meant a lot to me, we celebrate it in the UK and I am so happy that it is celebrated here. I love these long light evenings, although it seems hard to believe that summer has only just begin really. Xx

  • We have been watching your weather closely. I cannot imagine temperatures that hot for any length of time. What a lovely evocative picture you have painted…almost dream like. It does seem like a scene from a movie or a chapter from a book. I’m keep wondering….and then what happens next.

    Ali xxx

    • It is fabulous Ali, very hot, but also quite wonderful in lots of ways, the pool is in the 30’s, meals are long and slow outdoors, we do love it! However, it is meant to be in the upper 20’s tomorrow which will be far more pleasant. On the down side, our lawn is completely brown and it’s only June! Plants are struggling, those that I am not watering anyway. However, last night was the most fun, love these summer evenings! Xx

  • What a lovely simple summer’s evening! The heatwave for us at the moment has just meant an investment in an inflatable pool and an awful lot of popsicles!

    • Ahh, I know that feeling, lots of Popsicles, and I can imagine you are loving the inflatable pool, anything with cool water in it is a bonus during this heat! Enjoy, it’s wonderful that the UK is having such great weather too. Xx

  • The long heady days of summer when we are blessed (and it makes me REALLY furious to see the numbers of Brits moaning about a tiny hot snap across the water) with good weather even when it turns into a forceful canicule as it has this year are to be savoured. They don’t last forever and you and yours really embrace that. I loved the idea of you and Roddy on your wandering date. Last night (the night before our wedding anniversary which is today) we walked amongst the masses in Grenoble watching bands all over the city giving their best (some we loved, some a little less so but who cares?) … we felt like teens and that is surely manna from heaven? Stone walls will always be a better cooling system than the most sophisticated aircon.

    Xx

    • But isn’t that just oh so British. When it is too hot, we complain, and then when in July and August the weather turns awful and well, just typically British, we will complain again about the lack of a proper summer!!! Glad you had fun in Grenoble, it sounds as if you were spoilt for choice and there must have been something to suit everyone. Just the one tiny band here, music was so so, but the atmosphere was fabulous and that’s what made it special. It’s fabulous to feel like teenagers, with the wisdom of an adult!!! Xx

  • How lovely to capture some time for just the two of you! A rare treat I guess. We have also had this heatwave, which is wonderful and awful at the same time. The beautiful blue summer skies, a little breeze, but then the high humidity, which leaves one sweating and listless. I’ve spent each evening watering the garden, using the hose at the back but having to carry several runs of 2 watering cans around to the front of the cottage as we can’t get the hose round there (we did give a few moments thought to bringing the hose through the house, but then the potential disaster images popped up and we decided against it!!). But the Hydrangeas at the front, only planted 18 months ago, were so thirsty and struggling for moisture and my lovely new roses planted last year needed to be given plenty of water while their roots establish. But while watering with the hose in the still of a summer’s evening, it’s such a calming and therapeutic half an hour. And I love hearing a little ‘plop’ or rustle as I water behind the pond and some of our little froggy residents hop into the undergrowth or back into the pond to wait till I’ve passed by. Then as I walk back up the gravel path, I see little black shapes sitting on the patio in a patch of damp or on the edge of the border, or even sitting on top of a plastic bag full of soil which is waiting to go into our raised veg beds! It’s a wonderful time of the evening and so peaceful and still, not a sound; the blackbirds have finally finished singing, the bees have gone home with their haul and as I wind up the hose, I can just see the silent dash of small bats as they come out to feed in the dusk. Magic!!

    • Marian, you paint a very lovely picture yourself! When I water my (huge) garden, it’s more like 90′ (strangely my Hero Husband manages ‘well’ in one hour AND has still time to saw off, say, all the climbing wines which made me briefly wonder for how long I wd need to go to prison if I were to kill him with HIS secateurs! 😉 ) – when I can do this work and still have enough day light, I often do it with a book in one hand – it is so soothing and calming!

    • I am just imagining what could happen taking a hose pipe through the house, it doesn’t bare thinking about, I think I would have decided against it too!! We stop every time we pass our pond, watching the frogs leap in is always such fun. Our lawn is completely brown now and it’s only June! Evening watering is one of my favourite jobs too, I never find it tedious, I love seeing how things are growing, it’s a time of peace as you say and a time to observe all around us. Aren’t we lucky to be surrounded by such fabulous nature? Enjoy xx

  • Such a lovely post, Susan. I miss the long light evenings in Europe. Here, our longest “light” douses at 9:00. I hope that extreme heat stops soon in France and the rest of the continent, my family in Europe is fervently wishing for a little less heat. Summer is glorious in your part of the world!

    • I absolutely love the long light evenings, having always grown up with them they are very much a part of summer for me. Can’t wait for all the children to be on holiday then we can really enjoy them without worrying that they should be in bed!!! It is meant to cool down as from tomorrow just a little I think. Xx

  • Wow, Susan, I can’t believe it was still that light after 10:00. Looks like the perfect evening and so beautifully written. I felt like I was there.

    • Thanks so much Kim, I absolutely love long summer evenings, having always grown up with them they are very much a part of summer. Last night it really wasn’t dark until 11pm, we didn’t even leave the house until after 10 and it was still broad daylight, incredible! Xx

  • Summer, the most beautiful word in the English language. Memories of those longest days of the year in my Grandmothers country house with all of the doors and windows open. This taking place in the Deep South. Cousins sleeping on pallets on the floor, the sounds of the adults talking way into the night. Going down to the creek to cool off as there was no pool or for that matter, no running water unless you count us bringing bucket after bucket of cool water up from the well. Rocking back and forth in the swing on the front porch under the ancient wisteria vine, churning ice cream , eating watermelon, cantaloupe, and peaches all grown on her 50 acres of heaven on earth. Family reunions with more food than any reunion could eat. Summer, the most beautiful word in the English language!

    • I tend to agree with you, I too absolutely adore summer. Your description of summers at your grandmother’s house sounds so idyllic, how fabulous to have such wonderful memories, I love the idea of running down to the creek to cool off and carrying water, it all sounds like it was so much fun. I too have so many happy memories of endless long hot summer’s as a child, it never seemed to rain, but I know it did! This is all I wish for for our children, that they have these same memories as they get older of wonderful long perfect summers. Xx

  • “oh what a night”….can you hear me singing this? It’s a very special night for me which makes me always pondering
    how fast time is running but on the other way it’s definitely a night for joy and celebration to the summer start.
    We had been on the beach where people made bonefire which reflected in the sea. One young man played his
    guitar and also very young children still played in the sand….it was 22.30 h. It seems that everyone has welcomed the
    months of summer. Back at home we couldn’t sleep …it was a wonderful balmy night which we finished with a glass
    of rose wine on the terrace. How could we do better? Your fotos and text is so moody.

    • Your evening sounded absolutely perfect too. I love long summer evenings on the beach. Once the children finish school next week we shall be doing the same. Taking a picnic and staying until it gets dark, and the best part, so many other people do the same thing too, often there is indeed a guitar and so many children playing in the sand. The perfect way to spend summer evenings. We are so lucky aren’t we? We couldn’t do any better. Enjoy xx

  • What a glorious little post – so peaceful and filled with light & music…. just my thing. You know what: We completely missed the Fête de la musique…. AND we knew!!! But we were so busy doing nothing (but drink plenty and at 9.15pm starting to water our garden….. – takes 1h+ and we must do it, have so many pots and jardinières) – so much so that we just forgot about it! My first experience of a FdM was during a trip with the Alliance Française when I took off from Devon and we happened that in the middle of our stay they had that feast. We laughed and sang with them, we danced and drank, all one big happy family of unbeknown ‘friends for an evening’. It did help that some of us spoke French quite fluently. Oh the fun!!!!
    Today I had guests for lunch and instead of my well-planned lovely meal I lost it completely and it was, in the end, melon to start, a glass of Gazpacho (chilled Spanish soup), salads, salads, some saucisson and lots & lots to drink. We went through a dry white with the melon (one small glass per person), then went to the always delicious red with litres and litres of cold water as everybody was driving (well not us but you see….), after the cheese board & grapes it was coffee and more water – the simplicity makes you cry with delight. So, the kitchen ‘stayed cold’ or as an old German publicity for a (now defunct) restaurant chain said: Heute bleibt die Küche kalt, wir gehen in den ‘Wienerwald’ 🙂
    PS: I know I haven’t even read your former post, but I don’t want to add a full novella every time – out of courtesy.

    • Lunch sounds as if it was quite perfect. We too had friends to lunch today and it was the most simple fo salads too, although much quicker as they had a meeting to attend afterwards and we, as always on weekdays, had the school run and endless work to do! Your first FDM sounds like such fun, just as it should be, all strangers becoming friends, United by a common shared interest. This is what I love most about this type of gathering, everyone is there to enjoy themselves in the simplest possible way. By the way, never worry about comments, long is fabulous, I love love love reading them! It is meant to be a little cooler here tomorrow so hope it is with you too. Watering endlessly, our lawn has turned quite brown, but what to do, it will come back to life in the autumn! Xxx

  • My goodness you write well, I felt as if I was there and loved reading this so much, definitely one of my favorite posts.

  • How fabulous that the whole country celebrates like this, another reason to love France! Thanks for sharing with us

    • Everywhere we have driven over the past couple of weeks there have been signs advertising music concerts, most were last night, but a few are held over this coming weekend too. It’s such a great way to celebrate the summer solstice. Xx

  • Oh,Susan!You are absolutely a master of ekphrasis! And lucky us,we got to accompany you and Roddy on this magical evening!
    Thank you!
    And thank you for reminding me of the long (and long ago!)Summer evenings when Rod(my husband) and I would sojourn off on our own walk at sunset,following wherever our minds(and hearts) would lead us.
    These days,we are content to sit outside on the couch,holding hands,our sweet four pawed little girl between us, and watch the sun sink into the horizon.Not nearly as exciting,but a very comforting way to end the day and give thanks for it.And for a blessed life.
    Needless to say,wishing you the same!

    • So funny that we have husbands with the same name! I think your days now sound absolutely wonderful, how fabulous that you are still such great friends after all the years. We are so lucky aren’t we to have great partners and to live happy and contented lives, we are most truly blessed. xx

  • As always your words made me feel like I was walking with you. Though I know 3 would have been a crowd! I love our winter here, but your posts remind me of the joys of summer. I admit I need the airconditioning!

    • Hi Ann-Maree, it was the perfect evening for a long stroll, unhurried and unhindered and with so much just to look at and appreciate. I think we need winter in order for us to fully enjoy summer! Today the air is cooler, the windows and doors are still wide open but now it is refreshing rather than stiflingly hot! xx

  • We are at 105 F here in Northern California today, but reading your post just now, I could almost hear the music from your village, feel the coolness within your stone walls and the peacefulness which enveloped you as you sat down to your laptop. I think you did a brilliant job of expressing your feelings of contentment. Thank you Susan.

    • Thanks so much Kathleene, 105F is hot! We have hit that a couple of times this past week and it really does slow one down, I find myself heading to the garden early in the morning and then just sitting working indoors for much of the day. Thank goodness the evenings do cool down here quite considerably! Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  • Oh Susan – and you say you do not know how to describe the atmosphere around you ! You have done so perfectly and ‘thank you’ indeed to Roddy and you for taking us along on your ‘date night’ . . . . I could feel the warmth in the balmy air and wished I could have a swim with you in the warm pool and ‘sneaked’ quietly past your welcoming open door so Roddy would not wake afterwards 🙂 ! Yes, well, the previous mail was a receipt for yet another heater for a cottage which refuses to get warm and I can hear the fan from the big heatbank which means we are below 19C inside again . . . Another Australian wishing spring would hurry up . . . Oh, our seasons always ‘change’ on the 1st of the month . . . . 1 June for winter and 1 December for summer: who knows why . . .

    • I think you could sneak in and join us, sneak into the pool and back into the house without waking Roddy at all!!! plus it is so easy with open doors. Can’t think about winter just yet, summer has only just begun although it feels as if it has been here forever, and we are loving every second of it. Now long for the children to be on holiday in a week’s time so we can all really enjoy long summer days and nights! Sorry to rub it in!!! xxx

  • What a perfect atmosphere you describe, a lovely picture. Summer is such a gift for its warmth and the bit of relaxation it offers. Those longer days give us exactly what we need. It is in the 90’s and very humid here and people are whining about it, but to me it feels as though the world is moving in for an impromptu hug. I feel so much better in summer! And use a lot less moisturizer.

    • I love summer, I agree we feel so much happier with just a little warmth on our backs and enjoying the long cool evenings. Summer is indeed a true gift, a gift in the garden and everywhere around. Fortunately we do not really get humid at all here which makes the climate pretty much perfect. Enjoy your days and have a lovely weekend xx

  • You are simply put ….an incredible author!
    This is a masterpiece….. it truly is….and I feel so very privileged to have gotten to read this tremendous blog post so beautifully written, so beautifully photographed, and with such a peaceful yet precise depiction of the rhythm of earth, the rhythm of Summer.
    Many many thanks.

    • Ahh thanks so so much, perhaps I should always write my posts at close to midnight, after a glass of wonderful red wine and a perfect evening, obviously words just fill my head and roll off my fingertips with so much more ease!!! I love summer and everything to do with it. Have a great weekend xx

    • That it just way too warm, I don’t blame you for staying indoors, there is nothing else one can really do in that sort of heat. Enjoy your weekend all the same and stay cool! xx

  • Excellent post, Susan, encapsulating all that us good about summer evenings, France, peace and so on. Brilliant. I have quite felt my troubles slip away this morning. Mrs C says hello too and wishes we had a pool!

  • I cannot believe it was still light, that’s what makes European summers so great, how I miss them. Lovely piece today, I so enjoyed my little journey to France via blogland with you, wishing you and your family a wonderful weekend. Hilary

    • Thanks so much Hilary, I grew up in the UK, so am a lover of long summer evenings, they truly are very much a part of these warmer months for me. The sounds of laughter from the pool, children in bed far too late, no one goes near the television, it’s all just too perfect! xx

  • Your writing style takes me away from the hustle bustle of life here and puts me smack dab in the middle of Parisian bliss! Always calming. Always magical. Always touches my heart. You have such a gift! Thanks for sharing it with us..

    • Thanks so much Janey, it is such fun to be able to share this with everyone and I am so enjoying it and also being able to chat with everyone via the comments, this is what makes it all so worthwhile. Life here has a certain magical quality, it is very simple but that is what makes it so charming. Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  • I agree with previous comment….”oh, what a night” I love that sing and it reminds me of summer nights as a teen, with boyfriends…..ok, enough, of those memories. Back to your night stroll with precious Roddy. Very romantic on a sultry long summer night. I think I need to stop dreaming and take a dip in a cool pool, perhaps! Definitely!
    Well, I loved the blog and wish I still had a pool in my backyard. I love swimming at night in the hot summer. I will have to settle for the glass of wine on my porch, sans pool.
    I hope the heat wave ends before Tour de France. Susan, does the tour come near you this year. I hope it does and ask you to please include some in your blog. I dream of being in France someday, watching the cycling. I am addicted and will watch on TV.
    Also, one other request for photos of your dog and her buddy cat, curled up together.
    Keep enjoying your wonderful summer nights and your pool…….Cheers, from Patty

    • Ha ha, I remember plenty of long hot summer nights in France long before I was married too!! I think your drink on the porch sounds utterly charming. The Tour de France doesn’t actually come anywhere near us at all this year, the closest it gets is Perigueux which is a couple of hours away. We do have the Tour du Poitou Charentes in August which does come within 20 minutes or so from the house so I shall certainly include some photos from that. I shall certainly find a photo of Evie and Rory and if I can’t then I shall take some of them, they are always play fighting, but I never have the camera at the right time! Hope you are having a lovely weekend, xx

  • You’re making me miss France, and I just got back after 9 weeks at the house. Neighbors took us to the limestone grotto carvings last Friday and the nearby village on the Charente where we had hoped to kayak. Instead walked along the river and then lunch at a fabulous restaurant next to the river (had a red wine from the Loire that is supposed to be served cold and it was wonderful!). Our neighbors in France spent 3 years in LA and they said people they thought were their friends in LA turned out not to be and when they had a New Years party most people came, stayed 1/2 hour and dashed off to the next party. Exactly my experience in Southern California!!!! Always getting together in France with neighbors (some Brits, some French) and other people I’ve met. Here, everyone’s too busy or checking you out to see if you’re good enough for them (what car do you drive, how big is your diamond). Can’t wait to go back to France Sept. 4!

    • How did we miss you and how did the time go so fast. I was only thinking last week I must set up a rendezvous, the problem is weekends are really not my own these days, I cannot remember the last time I had a whole day with nothing that I had to be doing or taking someone somewhere. September 4th, for how long? We will make it happen! I know exactly what you mean in everything you say, I find here people like us because of just that, because they like actually like us, as people, not because of anything we might or might not have. We will get together. xxx

  • Oh, Susan, I remember being in Europe when there was a terrible heat wave. My husband almost D.I.E.ed. However, we still had the most wonderful time, being with all the residents who were as hot as we were. Love the look of your blog, will you please email me and tell me who and how you did it. I need to update mine. Sending love from HOT Houston !!

    • Yes, everyone is hot during the heatwaves Marsha, and we all greet each other with the usual kiss on either cheek, followed by a conversation about the weather and how hot it is! But no one minds particularly, we just do everything that little bit slower. I shall email you in the morning Marsha and we can chat, too tired right now as I need some beauty sleep! Much cooler here today, in fact perfect summer weather so I sympathise with you and your hot weather! Have a lovely weekend xxx

  • Sounds like an absolutely wonderful evening, Susan. I’ve been back in the States for just over a week, but had a bit of hot weather while in France. I’m with you on the red and the champagne, although we were having Kirsch with champagne, which was quite nice as well. I do love the long days of summer with all the light. I like winter, too, but would enjoy it even more if there were as much daylight as in summer. 🙂

    janet

    • How time flies, I cannot believe you have been here and already been home again for a week, seems like only yesterday we were talking about your imminent departure for France! I love the long long evenings, they are always so special, although we never get to bed very early which is perhaps a bad thing! The french love Kirsch with champagne, but I think I am a straight champagne girl if I have the choice! So glad you had a wonderful time here. xx

      • Susan, it was odd how the time both went slowly and flew while I was there. It was, as always, a wonderful time, filled with small pleasures, beautiful surroundings, and good company (and food). Hard to beat that combination. 🙂 Perhaps next time I’ll be able to make it to the coast to say hello in person.

      • So glad you had such a good time, sounds like a winning combination! So hope you do make it over to this side of France next time, would be fabulous to meet you xx

  • What a beautifully vivid description of a perfect day and night, thank you for allowing me to step in and enjoy it all as well. Cheers, Ardith

  • The long evenings in France at this time of year are blissful, it is so light that my solar fairy lights are not illuminating until 2240. I returned to the UK yesterday after five fabulous days in Vendée. I went to a Fete de la Musique event in my village at the weekend but after advertising an 8.00pm start nothing had happened by 10pm so we went home. (I know, I know, this is France we are talking about, I should have learned by now!)
    A beautifully written post Susan…as always.

    • Yes everything starts late and children cope! You returned to the UK at the right time, although I know the weather is bad there, it is bad here too! But it’s good, as you know we so desperately needed the rain that we cannot complain, instead we must actual enjoy it and know that everyone, plants, humans, literally all are so happy to have endless days of rain finally! xx

  • I have never seen a photo of the pool. Is it an aged old pool or a new one you have added. Or, did you add a new one and somehow craft it to look old? I would love to see a picture of the pool.

    • It is a new one we added, surrounded by the hibiscus so that it looks as if it has been here forever! I’ll try and remember to add it into one of the posts at some stage, I promise! xx

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