15 August 2022

July 2006 and now

These are three photos that I took in Saint-Aignan all those years ago. That was a very busy year. We had a series of visitors and guests starting in March. Then Walt and I went and spent a week in Paris. We went on road trips with friends to Saumur, Domfront, the Mont Saint-Michel, Sarlat, Rocamadour, Rouen, and Dieppe, among other memorable places. We had a great summer and a fantastic vegetable garden. In autumn, Walt and I spent five weeks visiting friends in the U.S., driving from New York to North Carolina to Alabama and finally to Illinois before flying back to France. The memories from 2006 are good ones.




On this past Saturday evening, we had dinner with our neighbors across the street. We sat outside until 11 p.m. eating, drinking good wine, and enjoying lively conversation and warm weather. We went over there expecting just to stay for an hour or so, but then ended up staying much longer and having a full dinner. It was fun... like old times... reconnecting with old friends.

14 August 2022

The fever has broken

It's raining this morning. What a relief! For now it's a steady, moderate rain, but the chance for thunderstorms is 50 to 75 percent for much of the day. We won't get enough rainfall to break the drought, but it has already broken the fever. On Accuweather, the highest temperature in the long-range forecast for Saint-Aignan is a couple of 30ºC days toward the end of August. We're pros now; those won't bother us.

The rooftops and the château de Saint-Aignan seen from the grounds
of the old Bernardines convent across town.

13 August 2022

One more day of heat

Worn out and worn down... That's how I feel. Here's the daily weather report. Yesterday afternoon on the front deck: 95º. In the loft: 90º. At 5 a.m. in the living room: 80º. Accuweather's prediction for this afternoon: 95º. (TéléMatin says 97º at Tours.) Tomorrow, the weather will change — if we're lucky. Cooler and damp. Hope we don't get hail. Meanwhile, here's a peek inside the old church in Saint-Aignan. I have enhanced these photos to show more details. What you see in the crypt of the church is darker and dimmer.

    


    

12 August 2022

Speaking of Delftware

CHM mentioned faïence de Delft (Delftware, Delft pottery, or "Delft blue") in connection with a photo I posted a day or two ago, so I thought I'd post an enlargement of part of that image, above, to show more detail. I also wanted to mention a piece of Delfware that Walt and I have, photo below — assuming it's authentic and not a some kind of knock-off. I think I've posted it before but I haven't yet located it on the blog.

The woman who sold us our house outside Saint-Aignan gave us this platter as a gift when she moved from Saint-Aignan to Tours nearly 20 years ago. I think she had had it in the house for many years. Here's the mark on the back of platter, which we use as a serving dish once in while.

11 August 2022

Saint-Aignan in winter

    

I'm now officially tired of summer. Our high temperature has been 34ºC (93ºF) for the last two days,
and it's supposed to continue at that temperature or higher for the next three days.
In protest, I'm posting some photos that I took in February ten years ago
around our house and yard as well as out in the vineyard.



So this summer we've had at least 30 days with a high temperature at or above 30ºC, including a few days close to 40ºC. And France is experiencing the driest summer in its recorded history, with no summer rainfall at all in many parts of the country. Have I mentioned that the pond out behind our back gate is as dry as a bone? It's the only time that has happened since the first time we saw the place in 2002.

    

10 August 2022

Saint-Aignan in summer (31)

Just a few Saint-Aignan buildings and houses for you to look at...

    


    

09 August 2022

Saint-Aignan in summer (30)

Here are four more photos of parts of the château complex in Saint-Aignan,
in the Loir-et-Cher (41) département of central France.

    

    

Yesterday was another day when the temperature topped 30ºC here in Saint-Aignan. The Accuweather forecast
is that we'll have six more such days — including 2 with temperatures above 33ºC (91ºF) and two others
with highs hitting 35ºC (95ºF) — before this fourth heat wave of 2022 ends.

08 August 2022

Saint-Aignan in summer (29)

I've had this sedum plant for nearly 20 years now. It was growing here when we moved into the house. I transplanted some of it into this planter box and it has thrived with almost no care from me except infrequent watering in summertime dry spells. It's a sedum that flowers in August and September. One French name for it is orpin, and in English it's called stonecrop. Right now, It's about ready to burst into bloom.


On the left is a photo I took a couple of days ago, and on the right a picture of the flowers from a few years back.

07 August 2022

Saint-Aignan in summer (28)

Just to reassure you that we are not deprived of fresh fruit even if the local trees are basically barren, I took these photos at the open-air market in Saint-Aignan yesterday morning. This is just one of four or five produce stands at the Saturday morning market. We also have a really good grocery store specializing in fresh local fruits and vegetables that's open six days a week and is just a mile or two from our house.

   

This hot summer has been a banner year for melons, as they are called in French. They are fragrant, juicy, and sweet. We are eating two or three of them every week, sometimes with salt-cured, air-dried ham, and sometimes as dessert with port wine. There are also all kinds of plums available, along with figs, nectarines, apricots, and much more.

06 August 2022

Saint-Aignan in summer (27)

On July 27, I posted a table showing how many days with temperatures above 30ºC (86ºF) we have had over the years since 2005. Before 2022, the highest number was 20 hot days, in 2006, and the lowest number was just two, in 2007 and 2014. In 2022, we were already at a total of 22 hot days when I posted the data. Since then, we've had seven more 30+º days, bringing the 2022 total to 29. That's got to be some kind of record.

Around the hamlet this year, there have been almost no plums, even fewer cherries, and very few peaches
on the fruit trees in people's yards. It's just been too hot and dry for them. But there are a lot of apples.
Here's a photo of one of our apple trees that I took two days ago.