Summertime and the livin’s (not always) easy!
Summertime in the Perigord region of France is when we wake up each morning to reliable blue skies. We know we need to be out early if we’re to walk the dogs before the heat rises. In June, July and August temperatures fast become horrible for the dogs to be outside for any length of time.
This is the 20th summer we’ve spent here. We’ve got the hang of serious heat and how to manage it. We know how to keep the dogs happy and comfortable in summertime: plenty of iced fruits, cool drinking water, cool mats and damp towels if needed. On the hottest days, staying inside the shuttered house is the only way, gloomy as it feels after a while. Our house is old with thick stone walls to keep out the heat and tiled floors to keep cool. If it stays exceptionally hot for too long it begins to feel like the dreary, wet confinement of winter, when going outside is no fun at all. But, like winter days, they pass and we’re soon once again throwing open the shutters and heading outside for a bigger part of each day.
Summertime in the Dordgone has always been hot. However, for the past couple of years, normal high temperatures have been far exceeded. Last week saw the highest temperatures in France ever recorded – 45.9C (114.6F). These are not temperatures a European country, even one with a Mediterranean coastline, is equipped to cope with, nor enjoy. We have family and friends in various locations farther south and east and all reported last week as being horrid. It was almost impossible to cope if not in air conditioned buildings, and many homes are not.
We didn’t see those awful spikes of heat but we had days of high thirties with 10pm one night over 30 degrees. That’s Crazy-Town territory when it comes to thinking about what’s going on with the planet. It doesn’t seem to be a blip any more, it appears to be becoming the norm. Last year we sweltered during a searing two weeks in temperatures knocking 40 degrees.
Thankfully yesterday, the mercury dropped to seasonal norms and this week looks set to be typical for early July. Hot, but bearable, lovely in fact if we’re sensible. Why anyone thinks about taking their dogs – or themselves – out for walks in the heat of the day escapes me.
We were happy yesterday, it was cool, overcast and gorgeous to be out for a summer’s jaunt across the fields. Fields which to our delight are sun-flower filled and just beginning to open.
The sight of yellow fields is truly one of life’s simple pleasures. One we offer full appreciation for. Summertime is happy time (when it’s not trying to incinerate us).
Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions….and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world~ Ada Louise Huxtable