04 March 2006

A Saturday surprise

Back yard at La Renaudière on March 4, 2006, 7:30 a.m.

The linden tree in the back yard

It's a surprise because yesterday it was downright warm (okay, only 12ºC, or 54ºF) in comparison to the temperatures we've experienced for the past 6 weeks or so. I just calculated our average high temperature for January and February 2006 and it came to 5.7ºC.

We had a few 10º days in January, and a couple of 11º days in the middle of February, so yesterday's 12 is our high temperature for the year so far. I have to say, though, that we haven't had any days when the temperature stayed below freezing. We've had snow more frequently this winter than we did during the last two, but we haven't had any significant accumulations.

View from the kitchen

The neighbor's house, hidden by frosted trees

On France Inter radio this morning I heard a report about driving conditions in the Alps. They said travel was difficult and the roads were slippery malgré le ballet des chasse-neige. At least that's what I understood: "the ballet of the snow chasers" — that is, the dance of the snowplows. Nice image, if I understand it correctly. The only problem is that there's another French word, balai, that's pronounced the same as ballet and means broom.

That in turn reminds me of a French professor I knew back in Illinois who said that when he was a little boy, he heard that people were going to Paris to see les ballets russes. He understood balais russes and wondered why people would go all the way to Paris to see some Russian brooms.

Kitchen window view

On the radio, they are calling this the winter that just won't quit (l'hiver qui n'en finit pas). It's now mid-morning and it's still snowing. It's starting to melt, I think. We are hoping the heavy wet snow won't take down any tree branches in the yard, or cause a power failure.

Our new British friends called yesterday and invited us to lunch tomorrow. Janet is going to cook a roast leg of venison en croûte. She and David live only about a mile from us, so we should be able to get to their house, even if the snowplows don't give a performance at Saint-Aignan and we have to walk. The special Sunday dinner is a nice birthday dinner for me, coincidentally. Tomorrow I celebrate my 57th. It's hard to believe.


  1. What a beautiful sight to wake up to.
    Happy BirthdayI I send you virtual, flowers, champagne and kisses, you young thing you!

  2. Congratulations on your birthday. You're getting close, but I'm still one year ahead of you! My 58th is Saturday the 11th.

  3. Hi Mimi, thanks for the good wishes. We'll be having some good bubbly Vouvray tomorrow to mark the occasion.

    And Peter, happy birthday in advance, old man.

    It continued snowing all day and now the temperature is going below freezing. Tomorrow morning we will be all frozen over.

  4. We, too, (Candy, John & I) will be celebrating your birthday with sparkling Vouvray!

    Bon Anniversaire!

  5. Happy Birthday, Ken! You seem to get invited out a lot
    these days. I guess you may have to put on your boots and hike to your new Brit friends home. You'll be able to walk your dinner off if you have to climb that big hill beside your house.

  6. The snow is melting. We are going to take the car and hope we can get there without sliding off the road. That is a steep hill.


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