Black Eyed Susan



Days like these, when it isn’t really summer but it’s not quite autumn either; we’re in that in between-season, the nomansland of the calendar. Did summer really go by in the blink of an eye? Is it really over? There are days when I am quite sure it will go on forever, our doors and windows are still open, the sun is still hot on our backs and the leaves have not yet started to fall. But when the wind picks up it has that slight chill; the mornings and evenings have turned a little cooler and the rain, absent for so many weeks, has made its return.

It’s also the month when Black Eyed Susans feature heavily along every fence-line beside the road, and they’re in our garden, too, a bright yellow splash of bold colour swaying in the breeze.


But black eyes are not only found in flowers. It seems to be a time when mosquitos make a last ditch effort to exert their authority over us poor humans. I woke in the middle of the night last Monday with that dreaded high-pitched buzzing sound around my face and I felt a little stinging around my eye and scratched tentatively, and then, still half-asleep scratched some more and more. It felt so good, but I was not fully aware of what I was doing and at some stage I fell back asleep. When our alarm went off and the real time to get up arrived, I could barely open the affected eye. Groggily I got out of bed and looked in the mirror to find that I had been stung several times on my eyebrow and eyelid, and the scratching had made it swell to epic proportions, turning the area a deep angry-looking red. It looked as if I had met a wall on a drunken night or squared up to an angry opponent; no one would have imagined it was a tiny little mosquito that could make quite such an impact. Thank goodness the sun was shining and everywhere I went I was able to wear dark glasses for a couple of days!


Despite the mosquitos, summer is such a happy time, with endless fresh produce from the garden, apricots and strawberries, long nights eating under the stars, laughing children around the pool and sand –  endless sand everywhere in the house. It doesn’t matter how many times I vacuum or how often I sweep the floor it never seems to go away; it’s a constant reminder of the beach and those lazy summer days.

But there is a definite change in the air, autumn is knocking at the door, not quite ready to make an appearance but hovering in the wings with winter looking balefully over its shoulder.

The sunflowers have gone to seed


all that is left are occasional fields where tough little self-seeded specimens have pushed up through the soil and emerged triumphant, determined to make one last stand before they are ploughed in and forgotten. These are the ones we pick quite freely; no one wants them, and they have no use except to look pretty in a vase on our kitchen table. Each weekend the children and I cut huge bunches and fill the baskets on our bikes.


This is the season for evening walks, when it’s still warm enough that we don’t need a coat, but also cool enough that we are filled with energy, urging us to run with the dogs and skip in puddles.


We’re still overrun with tomatoes, they just keep on coming and there isn’t a day since June when we haven’t eaten a handful with every meal. Now our menu includes tomato soup, one more hint that autumn has taken another step towards crossing the threshold. The fruits are so sweet, there is no need to add anything more than a sautéed onion, some well-seasoned vegetable stock and a whole bowl full of tomatoes, skin, seeds – the lot. I simmer them for fifteen to twenty minutes and simply purée it all together; nothing could be easier. Add a baguette still warm from the boulangerie and there are six satisfied faces around the table!

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Vineyards and grapes play a large part of life in the Charente Maritime, but here the fruit is mostly picked for the local tipple, Pineau des Charentes, a fortified wine made with a blend of lightly-fermented grape ‘must’ and cognac eau-de-vie. Right now the grapes are just about ready to be picked and are bursting with flavour.


It’s also fig season, and I’ll eat them anyway I can – fresh from the tree walking in the garden or sliced with some cheese; the two seem to go hand in hand.


There are days when the sun is so strong, the geraniums still so bright in their window boxes and the green so vibrant from the leaves that it seems hard to believe we are halfway through September.



When the sky is so blue,P6770510P6610480

and the water so inviting, one feels as if it might last forever.P6610468


These are some of the best days to take a holiday if you don’t have children and are not governed by school schedules. The roads are miraculously empty, seasonal restaurants are still open, brocantes still occur every weekend, and there is still plenty to do but without the crowds. A couple of weeks ago we ventured east into the Charente and embraced big rolling hills and enormous views that seemed to never end.


Back on home territory once more and surrounded by our salty marshlands we are reminded that September is a fickle month and there are days when the sky is heavy, the wind picks up sending the clouds scurrying across the sky and the rain begins to fall.



And that age-old question rears its head once more. When does autumn really start? The autumn equinox is nearly upon us, which is the official start of the season for astronomers, but in meteorological terms autumn begins on September 1st.


Seasons play a major role in the year here and for me the start of autumn is not really dictated by a set date but by natural events such as falling leaves, the appearance of seasonal produce and the state of the garden. Like the Sunflowers, the Hollyhocks have gone to seed, replaced by the Asters which along with the Black Eyed Susans take centre stage right now.

While autumn feels like it has begun this week, temperatures are set to rise again next week; perhaps the start of an Indian Summer? But the signs are here; children’s jackets are one again dumped on the back of kitchen chairs and conkers litter the ground. No one collects them here, no one plays with them. I remember those days at school when everyone gathered conkers; it was a huge competition to see who’s was the best, the biggest, the shiniest, and any spied on a walk were pounced upon by several eager kids, pushing each other aside to be the one who took possession. No one was polite, we just had to have ‘that conker’! But that’s a tradition that seems to have disappeared, certainly here anyway. I know that playing conkers attached to a string was banned in schools as it was deemed too dangerous, knuckles got hurt and they stung or bruised, maybe they even bled a little; but it never did us any harm! Bending to pick up a conker when I see one is still a habit. I spy a tree whilst walking and see a mass underfoot and eagerly stop and search for the best I can find and hand it to whichever child is with me, thinking they will grab it and thank me enormously, but instead they look, they smile, they touch it for a few minutes before dropping it back on the ground. You would think I would have learnt by now, they no longer spark any interest in the young. The child within me will never forget playing with conkers nor the pain they caused, but that was all just a part of autumn!


115 thoughts on “Black Eyed Susan

  1. I know just what you mean. Still enjoying summer on the Côte d’Azur but it’s too fresh to still eat breakfast or dinner on the terrace.

    1. The mornings and evenings have certainly got that autumnal chill about them, but we have also had a really cool ten days, I believe it has been much warmer with you and I am a touch envious!! Enjoy it xx

    1. I am glad someone else collects conkers too! I heard from a friend today that she collects them and places them around the house, apparently they keep spiders away, she said she is not sure how accurate this is, but she has no spiders in her house! xx

        1. How interesting that you read about it recently, I had never heard of such a thing, I wonder what it is that spiders don’t like, perhaps I shall try it, but we don’t get very many spiders anyway. Putting them in a bowl is a great idea, I love them, especially the big shiny ones, like polished mahogany. I will never truly be able to understand how my children can just pass them by, just like they will never understand my fascination with them!! xx

          1. At least it gives one a reason to collect them! And yes I agree, it is so sad that they don’t share the conker memories, we would literally run towards any we found, whereas here they are huge and shiny, perfect specimens and they just rot on the ground! We even have a horse chestnut in our garden and conkers on the lawn, but zero interest!! xx

    1. A French friend told me this afternoon that there is to be no Indian Summer this year, he had just read it on a French news site. I don’t want to believe it, I have never known a September so chilly, it is not normally like this at all! xx

  2. Susan,
    What s lovely post ! I so enjoy your garden stories and look forward to them. I am definitely going to plant sunflowers in my garden next year. I am planning an above the ground garden spot in my yard somewhat like your garden that you described in an earlier post. I look forward to tomatoes, zuchinni & flowers here in my Virginia garden. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. I always wondered about mosquitoes biting eyes. I guess it does happen. We keep our windows closed tight at all times here and we are having aerial spraying tonight, as the mosquitoes are really bad from the Harvey flood. Varieties of Black Eyed Susans seem to be all over the world and I noticed some on our bayou banks blooming.

    1. We shut our windows at dusk, but have no problem at all during the daytime. It was just one pesky little fella who managed to sneak in and stay put until he could attack and he made a good job of it! Black Eyed Susans are such a delight at this time of year. xx

  4. Such evocative and lovely photos, as always. They draw us in and invite a reverie of life in France that is more real than reality.

  5. Probably my favorite post you have ever written. I just felt a real connection and loved this and am saving to read again and again.

    1. Thanks so much Nancy, I love writing posts like this that centre around our comings and goings as a family. It is what we love most about our life in France and it is so easy to take photos because there is so much to see xx

  6. Don’t talk to me about mosquitos, they love me, & feast on me when I’m abroad! I was in Paris 2 years ago, & didn’t realise they even existed there. I woke up with huge bites all over my face & body, that very quickly turned into huge pustules (sorry, hope you’re not eating your lunch right now!) So there was I, trying to fit in & be tres chic, looking like I had the plague. It was also extremely hot, so that didn’t help, I was red, sweaty & generally dishevelled, I had many horrified looks as you can imagine!
    Enjoy the rest of the sunshine, feeling very autumnal here in Edinburgh. xxx

    1. Oh I can imagine and I am so sorry, but I also did have to laugh, your description was brilliant! I was lucky I just had one huge swollen eye but no nasty little pustules at all! it really is pretty autumnal here too, summer seemed to come to a very abrupt halt ten days ago and I am still clinging desperately to the idea of an Indian summer, it keeps trying, when the sun is out it’s really warm, but the wind seems so cold all the time. xx

  7. Oh My…Susan these pictures have to be amongst your finest! The first photograph is Absolutely Stunning….And the buildings themselves are so “Charming.”
    I think I mentioned in my last comment how much I Love autumn…🍁🌻🍁 This post only makes me yearn for it more! In fact it makes me want to jump on a plane and head on over to Charente Maritime! I never seem to be able to get enough of France: its Beauty, its History, its Charm!💓💓💓
    Sorry about your eye…glad it’s on the mend. Living in Minnesota I have never been able to get get away from the “little guys.”
    Enjoy your the coming weekend with your lovely family!
    Again, your photography is Spectacular! 🍁🌻🍁❤️

    1. Thanks so much Stephanie, it’s easy to take nice photos when everywhere is so photogenic! Soon you will head over here I am quite sure, but I am not sure you would love our days at the moment. It’s no longer summer, that seemed to end with a sudden abruptness and yet it is not autumn, the leaves are still firmly on the trees and the garden is still desperately trying to pretend it is summer. When the sun is out it is really hot and quite lovely but the wind has a distinct chill to it. It has been such a strange few months weatherise, far from normal! Hope you too have a wonderful weekend and that you had lots of fun with your grandchildren and that your family had a lovely time in Europe. xx

      1. Susan the weather has been rather persnickety here, also. Sixties at the.beginning of the week…Ninety-one today!
        You will love to know even though Heidi did spend days on the Almafia Coast her favorite place is still France. She and her group of friends loved the French Rivera!
        I have Grandma duty for the weekend as they have a close friend getting married!
        Loving it! 💓
        Enjoy your Friday…no pressure…just looking forward to your next posting! 🌻🍁🌻❤️

        1. Right now I would love 91, I am so not ready to be putting t shirts and shorts away and finding winter clothes!! But the forecast looks good, not particularly warm for a few days but then getting lovely, in the high 70’s and perfect early autumn weather, now that is what I like, let’s hope it can settle like that right through October!! So glad they had fun in Europe, what is not to like about the French Riviera, except perhaps the crowds and the prices!! Enjoy your Grandma duty, I am sure you are perfect at it and it is so lovely that you are able to do this, what a lucky family. Have a truly lovely weekend xx

  8. Hope you have recovered completely from the mosquito attack! Those pesky bugs absolutely love me and the feeling is NOT reciprocated! And the welts they cause!! Well, just know that I so sympathize.
    Love your evocative prose of the last days of summer/first days of autumn and the accompanying photos. This summer has been so beautiful–and especially fun–that I am so sorry to see it end. Usually it is so hot here in DC that I am dying for a reprieve but not this year. I also loved your description of conkers which I have never heard of before, had to google it. I love learning here about different traditions. Finally, your vegetable garden has completely inspired me and I may have to try myself next year, especially for the tomatoes. We have a lot of deer so my earlier efforts were so discouraging that I gave up years ago. But, this time I am willing to put up a fence and enjoy the bounty that you have described–too tempting not to make the effort! Thank you for inspiring me!! xo

    1. Summer has been strange here, in fact I think it has been much cooler with you and on this side of the Atlantic too than usual, at least in this part of France anyway where we too are affected by the Atlantic. I hadn’t realised that you don’t call them conkers in the US, what do you call them, because I am sure you have horse chestnuts? Normally I love autumn but this year summer seemed to come to such an abrupt end that I find I am not ready for autumn at all. I rally hope you do get to try the vegetable garden again, I cannot tell you how much pleasure we get from growing and harvesting our own produce. If you try the no dig method, I can highly recommend it, I am so happy with the results this year and the lack of weeds. xx

  9. You poor thing I cannot imagine anything more horrible than being stung on the eyelid, glad you seem to be better, or at least I am assuming you are

  10. Those mosquitoes are not my friends. When we lived in the Ottawa area, each night we would check the walls of each room. The number of little bodies would add up. It was almost a completion to see who would get the most. During the night that dreaded sound around you face would wake us up. Then, a slap….a naughty word, and perhaps sleep.

    Thank goodness there are not many mosquitoes out here on the West Coast..


    1. I hate that dreaded buzz at night, thank goodness we don’t get very many here and I think it is the first we have had in the bedroom all year despite the fact that we always leave the windows open all day. It was just one of those things! xx

  11. Hope your black-eye gets better soon. We are still eating tomatoes and cucumbers…fed up with the latter now but they keep on coming. I gather conkers too.I have just been told we have about 150 tomatoes left…I guess I shall be making soup too.

    1. So glad your tomatoes have been a success. We have new cucumbers coming again now, they died off in the summer when it got really hot but have come back strongly again now. I have just been told by a friend that conkers keep spiders away inside the house, she places them all over her home! Enjoy your tomato soup, a firm favourite of mine as we have lots of tomatoes left still. Delicious, yum yum xx

  12. Your pictures are to die for! They make me want to return to France — and not just to see those sweet sunflowers and black eyed susans. I love the towns, winding streets, and ponds. Thanks for a lovely post!

  13. Great post. How I always love your words and photos, a true match made in heaven. I don’t know which I love the most looking or reading!

  14. I hope your eye is on the mend. Mozzie bites can be quite nasty. My sis-in-law (whom the mozzies love) has had to visit the local emergency room a couple of times on account of the critters. As ever your photos are gorgeous. I too particularly like the first one. Since I’m a bit out of love with my village at the moment I’m very tempted to drive your way and see the real thing. but then, I think you have to have an eye for the right picture and, alas mine involve a fair amount of decapitation, amputations etc. I’m probably the only person who can make a beautiful well-tended house look like a ruin. But I get so much enjoyment from yours. Pl. keep ’em coming.

    1. I think perhaps you should send me an email, let’s make contact. If you really are serious about coming this way it would be lovely to meet you and I am sure we would have much to talk about, especially with all of your writing, I would love to pick your brains! xx

  15. Lovely as usual Susan, beautiful photos. We have been having miserable rainy weather here for quite a few days. I tend to think that the weather in the US has an effect this side of the Atlantic too. They do say when a butterfly flaps its wings it can affect the weather thousands of miles away, so all those hurricanes must be bringing our unsettled weather too. Monet’s black eyed Susan’s were fully in flower today too. I do love them.
    I think the fact you are still sweeping up sand is very positive, it signified that summer is not yet ended. Long may that be the case. Bon courage pour ton œil!

    1. I have always thought that we tend to get the weather that New England gets, just a few days later and I know they have had a much cooler than usual summer so we are not the only ones. Summer seemed to come to a very abrupt end the day the children went back to school! We have had some lovely days, Tuesday was gorgeous, and when the sun shines it is really warm but the wind and the endless heavy downpours are getting a bit annoying!! I keep hoping for an Indian Summer then a french friend told me this afternoon that it won’t happen, he had just read it on a news site, not this year!!! Well I will remain positive! xx

  16. This in-between season is a lovely one – summer’s last burst of warmth and light before the rain and wind of autumn. Here, too, the black-eyed Susans are in bloom, bright spots in the landscape. So sorry about your eye – we don’t have many mosquitoes on our west coast island and I often forget repellent when we travel inland. Tomatoes are plentiful here, too, and your soup idea sounds wonderful. Enjoy the bright days.

    1. We seem to be having the rain and wind these past couple of days, but then next week it is meant to get much better again, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we shall have some lovely weather before autumn and winter really take hold, even though it’s a very short season here anyway and we cannot complain. We don’t normally get many mosquitoes here, and this was the first in our bedroom this year, it just was very successful in it’s attack!!! xx

  17. Conkers? I had to “Google” that, being from the U.S.–but oh how I love those photos! We’ll be in France next month, on a whirlwind driving tour through various wine regions. So much to see and experience, so little time!

    1. I am sorry, I had no idea that they are not called conkers in the US, I just assumed they would be because I am sure you get horse chestnut trees, so what do you call them? Your wine driving tour next month sounds fabulous, which areas are you exploring? Hope you have a fabulous time, which I know you will xx

  18. The mosquito bites sound horrid, hope your eye is better. I love this time of year, it’s a time to go out and enjoy the great outdoors.

    1. My eye is completely recovered thank you! It wasn’t much fun and it was so tempting to scratch it so much more which I knew I absolutely could not!! It certainly is a great time to walk and enjoy being outside. xx

  19. We will try our best to help use up the tomatoes & figs! So delicious!
    Can’t believe how many & how big the conkers are around here Susie!

    1. I know, thank you!! We just need some long sunny days to ripen the green figs and tomatoes so that they keep on going for another month or so. Apparently you need to collect the conkers and put them around the house, they keep spiders away so I am told! xx

  20. Ooh, horrid mosquitoes! I hope your eye is getting much better. Great post again… lovely warm memories. (I just added a link to my Facebook page, so you might get a few new readers!)

    1. It is completely fine now Alison thank you! But it was quite a sight and I had to force myself not to scratch even more! Thanks so much for sharing on your Facebook page, really appreciate it. Hope you are feeling fully back at home again and hopefully enjoying some nice early spring weather xx

  21. Thanks for the great soup idea, I always think soups are quite difficult but this looks easy. Do you have any measurements or quantities?

    1. It is really so easy, anyone could make it. I don’t have any precise measurements at all. One onion, about a pint of vegetable stock and about 10 good sized tomatoes and see how that goes, if it seems too heavy on the tomatoes as you are putting them in, don’t use them all. Sorry not very helpful, but that is just the way I make it. I don’t take too much notice! xx

      1. Thank you that’s really helpful and gives me some guidelines. I don’t grow any tomatoes but I live close to a good farmers market and will go shopping there at the weekend.

        1. Lucky you living near a good farmers market, I love nothing better on a Saturday or Sunday. Do buy some tomatoes, not too small, and have fun making the soup, if you make a big batch it will keep for a few days in the fridge or you can freeze it. Served with warm crusty bread it is delicious and a swirl of cream if you like on the soup too. xx

  22. Susan,first of all,so grateful and relieved that your eye has recovered!
    Eyes and eyesight are nothing to either take for granted,or worse,ignore!
    Mosquitoes are about as far from the top of my list of favorites as anything can get!

    Your gorgeous photos and descriptions have absolutely captured our imaginations and transported us to a land of nirvana.
    Such a beautiful(and healthy!) life!
    Thank you for sharing this with us!
    We are fortunate readers indeed!

    1. Thanks so much Natalia, my eye is completely recovered. I can tell you it was quite a shock to wake and find it so swollen and unable to open it properly. That will teach me not to scratch mosquito bites! I think our life here proves more than anything that there is so much fun to be had in a slightly simpler way of life. We all love it here. xx

  23. You have managed to cover such a number of areas as yet again without being far from the ‘Oasis’! Absolutely love the house photos being both a frustrated architect and traveller . . . and appreciate the moodiness encroaching during the ‘twixt-seasons’ days. But, with so many other readers inevitably go back to my childhood days in Northern Europe when I was willing to be the bested little girl in the world just as long as Daddy took me into one of the big parks for ‘more, more, more: Daddy, look how pretty!’ conkers, and that in spite of oft torn little hands and another pair of ruined gloved!

    1. Oh I love that, yes we would do anything wouldn’t we, to have the very best conkers and if someone knew of a secret conker tree then they were immensely popular. It’s so funny how my children just cannot understand this at all whereas, as I said, I will never ever not be passionate about conkers!! They take me straight back to my childhood and Roddy’s too. xx

    1. Writing from the Southern Highlands of NSW – don’t think we’ll make it past 16C here and the roof is threatening to blow off for the second day! Poor firemen fighting the 100-odd bushfires up-and-down the Coast . . . the Charente seems so utterly peaceful in comparison . . .

    2. Well as you probably know the weather is an Englishman’s supposed favourite subject. What to do if there is a lull in the conversation? Talk about the weather of course, and those temperature fluctuations would certainly have everyone talking! xx

    1. Thanks so much Erin, the first one is in Pons and was taken in the early evening when that light is so often just perfect. We were returning from the Charente. Hope you too have a lovely weekend xx

  24. What cheerie photos, especially the black eyed susans. I never heard this name before, but it’s a bit cute #AllAboutFrance

  25. I don’t think conkers can compete with modern technology, today’s kids would rather be sat in front of an ipad… another tradition lost, sadly. I also like to see the oaks laden with green acorns, our village green is covered with them. Stunning pics Susan but saddened to hear you comment that there will be no Indian Summer, I’m coming over next week…. now bringing hot water bottle! I had figs for breakfast this morning, Aldi have an offer on, 4 for 49p so I couldn’t resist but they weren’t as nice as when they are still fresh from the tree and sun warmed.
    I can imagine how your eye looked, it happened to my mum too back in the 70’s and I was sent to the pharmacie to ask for a ‘preparation’
    Bon weekend.

    1. The meteo looks a lot more promising, apparently next week will start warming up a little and by the following weekend we should be back it he mid 20’s again, at least that is what is says at the moment, fingers crossed. How long are you over for? Today the meteo said showers, but there was not a cloud in the sky and it was quite gorgeous, so it seems no one knows what it is going to do! xx

  26. Your photos are always so inviting to linger over. Of course, I too needed to Google “Conkers, thought they might be buckeyes. Many folks in OH make an edible buckeyes with peanut butter and dipped in chocolate.

    1. Thanks, it’s easy to take photos here! So are conkers buckeyes? I thought conkers, as we know them were inedible, but I did think that you do get horse chestnuts in the US. I have learnt something because I had no idea that you didn’t get, or call them conkers, so I feel I rather made things difficult here for American readers, thank goodness for google. Conkers were such a huge part of our autumnal childhood memories in the UK!! xx

  27. Lovely photos, as always. Autumn is certainly knocking at the door here in SW France, in fact it has both feet inside it! We were in northern Spain recently and not a mosquito was in sight, since it’s so dry there. The unsightly bumps and scratches on my legs healed up. We got home three days ago, sat out in some rare sunshine in the evening – and the next morning the tell-tale bumps were there again. I am their favourite food.

    1. Interesting that northern Spain has no mosquitos and we have quite a few. Actually we normally don’t have a problem here at all and have sat outside all spring and summer with just the odd bite and that’s it, this was one of those one offs!! Autumn has walked through the door here too yesterday, but the forecast looks really good once more for the next two weeks, so I am keeping my fingers crossed, I am still not ruling out that Indian Summer, ten days in the mid 20’s as it is meant to be would suit me just fine!! Hope your mosquito bites heal quickly! xx

  28. Oh dear, autumn is crashing on the shoreline this weekend here, too. I shall be lighting the stove in the shed soon and wonder where the summer went to as it never really got here. Lovely photos, Susan, as always. That first one should be framed and offered as a stock item in an on-line shop. In fact, I am amazed you don’t have a little shop – I’d love some prints to be honest – it’s been far too long since I was across the water and it won’t happen this year. Plus it is only going to get even more difficult with Brexit…. looking forward to you keeping us in touch with our French ‘side’ over the winter…..thank you for all your summer goodness this year! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Phil, plenty of French goodness to share around! I hope you get across the Channel soon, I think it sounds as if it really is time you took at least a couple of days off to spend over here. Maybe a quick Normandy trip, a quick trip on the ferry, if nothing else! Summer has disappeared here too very quickly, but it is meant to be returning this week and I am keeping my fingers firmly crossed! In the meantime enjoy what is left of the weekend. xx

    1. Autumn is a very special month, but we are in a little bit of limbo at the moment, no colour yet in the leaves, in fact the only real hint of autumn is the temperature and the rain! Not the best parts of the season at all. But it is meant to get warm again so maybe we will have that Indian Summer after all, who knows, the weather is so strange throughout the world this year it seems, it makes me think we are all in some way very responsible. Enjoy what is left of your weekend xx

      1. No color yet here either, which makes me suspect things will just turn brown and fall off. The Farmers Almanac suggests we’re in for an early autumn which after weeks of hot, dry weather would be welcome news. Most cold spells are followed by an “Indian Summer” batch of days. Now if only a bit of moisture could accompany the milder temps.😇

        1. Ahhh if only I could send you over some of the moisture, we’ve had quite a lot of that this past week, very welcome for many people, but the vegetable garden and the fig tree are all looking a bit sad, they are longing for some long warm days now and a little less rain, it is forecast so fingers crossed. The fruits now need to ripen once again as opposed to splitting and rotting. Predictions are for quite a cold dry winter, but who knows, we shall have to wait and see. xx

          1. Oh yes I agree, no one wants a very harsh winter, but the weather is so messed up, the more I read the more confused I get! I guess we shall just have to wait and see. Meanwhile you can pray for some rain and we will pray for some sun!! xx

  29. I think I am in love with your French lifestyle. Is it as perfect and simple as it looks, I have my doubts! I think behind the scenes a lot of hard work goes into your life!!

    1. Ha ha very observant Pamela, yes it is a fabulous lifestyle, but I cannot say it is always easy, but then is any life easy? It’s hard work, but we make the most of all of the wonderful things and enjoy life and I just don’t talk about all the hard difficult parts! xx

  30. I keep hoping that the weather will give us another quick splurge of temperature but it seems to be resolute in refusing us a warm September this year. The sun shines, the rain gleams and we have had snow on the Belledonne and in the Chartreuse already. I guess it’s time to hunker down and get those woolly scarves out but it does just feel too soon to kiss summer goodbye (even though the Autumnal Equinox is on Friday ….). As ever your heavenly photos lift spirits sky high xx

    1. I have been hoping ever since the children went back to school at the beginning of September. However, it seems perhaps my prayers have been answered, the forecast looks fantastic for the next ten days, as far in the future as MeteoFrance dares to go!! Climbing temperatures and non stop sun, I can cope with an end of September in the mid 20’s!! After a few days at 16C I am certainly not ready for autumn quite yet!! xx

      1. Your optimistic note prompted me to dare to look and although today is cool and damp it seems we are heading into the mid-twenties for the next week! Hurrah though sadly Hubble is en route back to Boston as I type having had a mostly sullen week weather wise. That said, he is off to Hawaii on Monday so my sympathy is thin, very thin 😂 xx

        1. Yesterday was gorgeous here and today the same, not yet hot but warm and endless blue skies. I was brave, I dared to look at the meteo again and it still gives ten days of fabulous weather. My sympathy would be virtually zero too, which island is here going to, or multiple? Spent several weeks on Kauai many moons ago, and absolutely loved it. xx

          1. His principal observatory is on top of Mauna Kea (Big Island) and in fairness he stays in Hilo which is the ‘rainy side’ of the Island …. the weather must be coming west to east, I imagine – the sun is peeping tentatively here but I think tomorrow will see her back to resplendant dominance xx

          2. Still he is in a wonderful part of the world, the Big Island is beautiful, we have many friends there, fishing related of course!! Sun is back in full force here and shorts are the order of the day once more! xx

          3. He loves it there. He’s been a regular (6 or 8 times a year) visitor to the island for two decades – he thought of retiring there but the issue, as you will know well, is that it takes an eternity from wherever you are to get there and he felt he would be too cut off. Then he met me and although I am captivated by the idea of living out my years there, I couldn’t be that far from the girls. Of course, they would probably be quite enthralled with the idea of living with us but ….. 😉 Shorts here today – it’s amusing seeing the contrast between those in office attire and those of us who can do as we please. The tram is comical! Xx

          4. It does take forever to get there, not a quick hop from the UK or France. But a beautiful place to retire none the less, so long as your green card comes through!! Shorts for me and the tourists today, but the locals are still resolutely wearing winter attire, some things never change!! xx

  31. I immersed myself in every image conveyed by your words. Black eyed Susan’s are blooming wild in Maine and when I see a full field I can’t resist clipping a few?

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post and photos Lulu, I have never seen fields full of Black Eyed Susans, only in private gardens here, our fields are full of sunflowers in the summer. But I can imagine at this time of year they must look fantastic, and I too, would stop and clip a few, they look so lovely in a vase in the house, a ray of sunshine indoors. xx

  32. What beautiful photos Susan! Everywhere looks so inviting! Here too it’s turning chilly morning and evening, a dew on the ground and yet in the garden, my Ballerina rose is still flowering like mad, the anemones and persicaria are pretty behind the pond and the good old Alstromeria is rampant as ever! We try to snatch as many moments outside as possible. A few days ago we had a late breakfast on the patio in the warm sunshine, the next day it poured with rain. Today we sat outside for coffee with a friend in the sunshine, but now the clouds have come and the temperature is falling again. Tricky knowing what to wear these days! But I love the promise of the autumn colours to come and hope the winds don’t blow all the leaves down before they have put on their autumn dress. Conkers – I remember my brothers playing with them on lengths of string and taking them to school – but now Captain Sensible has come along to ruin it all! However, in our village we have a Conker competition in our village pub garden in October! Grown ups and children bring their own conkers (preferably not ‘doctored’!) and the battle begins. Last year, a young boy of 11 won against all the grown ups (I can’t think why!) and was presented with a small silver cup before we all headed inside the pub to warm up with a lovely cup of hot chocolate! A lovely autumn day. Perhaps you should teach your family how to do it and then show the locals – another excuse for a friendly gathering with hot drinks and yummy cake to follow!! Have a lovely weekend.

    1. You have the same things flowering as we do, I so welcome these end of season blooms in the garden, and I have found that the Japanese Anemone really do make fabulous cut flowers and last for a week or so inside. Layer dressing is definitely the order of the day at this time of year. Today we are going to be in the upper 20’s, a trip to the beach is in order! How fantastic that you still have a conker competition, I think village pubs are the only thing I miss here in France, the local bar is just not the same! have a lovely weekend xx

  33. Autumn usually feels far off at this time of year on the Côte d’Azur but it’s turned cool earlier than usual this year. Your photos are just lovely and I’m so sorry to hear about your own black eye, Susan! I’m jealous of your never ending supply of tomatoes and figs, our fig tree looked promising earlier this year but I guess birds must have got them because we didn’t get a single one!

    1. It has been a strange summer here and a very chilly start to September, but fortunately this past weekend was fantastic, just as it should be and the children were swimming in the sea once more. Hopefully we will have a few more weekends like that before winer starts! If only you are closer you could have some of our figs, we are inundated! xx

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