Another March passes into history. This one was typical: rainy, chilly, blustery. A lot of flowers are blooming but they are waiting in vain for some nice weather. It rained most of the day yesterday and came down steadily all afternoon. The grass is green and growing, that's for sure. On Saturday our neighbor came down from Blois and rode around on his riding mower for a few hours in the early afternoon. It was the first mowing. A few years ago he did the first mowing on February 24.
Saturday was the exceptional day, in fact. We were invited for apéritifs by some friends who live down in the village (he's French, she's English). We actually sat outside for about three hours at noontime and enjoyed a couple of glasses of Sauvignon and some finger food. The sun was warm, but when the random cloud went over we were glad to have our jackets on.
Our friends live across the street from the plumber who has done a lot of work for us over the last five years, Mr Rougemont. They are renovating a house on the main square in Saint-Aignan these days, and Rougemont is doing the plumbing work for them. We asked about him, since we haven't had occasion to call or see him in a while, and we especially asked about his wife, whose health had been iffy the last time we did talk to him.
Mme Rougemont worked in the offices of the real estate agency in Amboise that we used to find and buy our house here in Saint-Aignan. We first met her in 2002, and then when we bought the house we found out that she was one of our neighbors. The fact that her husband was a plumber was good news for us, because our house needed some upgrades in that area.
In 2005, Mr Rougement put in a new shower stall for us, turning our big bathroom into a much more usable room. Mme Rougemont came in one afternoon and helped him do part of the work. It was then that we found out she was being treated for cancer. And then on Saturday we found out from our friends that she had passed away about a year ago. We didn't know.
Mme Rougemont couldn't have been much more than 50 years old. She and her husband and daughter had moved to the Saint-Aignan area just a couple of years before we did. They said they were escaping the noise, crowds, and commuting stress of the northern Paris suburbs. Now Mr Rougemont is raising their teenage daughter alone.
Other subjects: we changed our clocks yesterday and lost an hour of sleep. Now it stays light until about 8:30 p.m., but we have to get up in the semi-dark if we want to walk the dog at her ususal time, which is 8:00 a.m. That's especially the case on cloudy gray mornings. Callie woke me up at 7:00 this morning — she wanted to go out. So I groggily stumbled down the stairs and opened the back door for her. At least it wasn't raining.
Yesterday morning when I took Callie out for her walk the temperature was already over 50ºF. I had a face full of gnats and flies the whole time I was out there, so the insects are becoming active again. I saw bumblebees and big caterpillars. Oh, and the cuckoo birds are back too. They arrive here in late March or early April and migrate on to other regions at the end of June or beginning of July. You get used to hearing them cuckooing in the background for a few months.
April 1 is tomorrow, and let's hope it's not just a bad joke. Last April turned off warm and sunny and dry. I'll take that kind of April again this year. Hope springs eternal.