Archive for the ‘Life in France’ Category

Long hot summer

Currently enjoying the long and lazy days of summer. A life lived more outdoors than in, seeking respite in the shade from the fierce heat in the middle of the day, and basking in the balmy warmth of summer evenings spent with friends, a BBQ and plenty of local wine.

The sheep were sheared in early June, before the heat really took hold. Clearing up afterwards the following day, Eddie made a surprising discovery in the barn – a forkful of straw destined for the wheelbarrow turned out to be a forkful of baby hedgehogs. Mum was close by, and didn’t seem put out by the disturbance.

The hay is made and safely gathered in. A fantastic crop this year due to a wet early spring and then warmth and sun which led to the grass growing much quicker – and thicker – than last year. Eddie can manage most of the hay making process himself, but help is needed to get the bales off the field. This is something that needs to be done as soon as the hay has been baled. Unlike the large round bales which can be safely left out in the fields, the small bales we make must be kept dry, so it is always an anxious race between us and the inevitable storm which always seems to follow a period of hot dry weather. Luckily we have good friends who always turn out to help, and an ingenious machine called an “autochargeur” which picks the bales up off the field, sends them round its helter-skelter like innards, and then spits them out back at the barn.

My parents were with us last week, giving us an opportunity for some days out. A summer would not be complete without at least one trip to the Pyrenees: every time we drive the roads which take us up into the mountains I feel my heart lift, and we have been lucky enough this year to go twice in a week.

Our first trip, with my parents, was to the Cirque de Gavarnie, a UNESCO World heritage site. The pathway from the village to the Cirque is a reasonably gentle stroll, even on a scorching day, and there is always the option to cool off hot feet in the icy stream which runs alongside the path.

Our second trip, with our walking group, was to the Cirque de Troumouse. A much higher, more arduous walk but so worth the effort for the most spectacular views. In spite of the intermittent cloud, and the fact that the altitude made it seem a lot cooler than at Gavarnie, the sun is fierce at that height and we all came back with sun kissed / burned faces!

A great day was had by all!


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