OK, back to the future. Saint-Aignan is living through a prolonged cold wave right now, as is all of northern France. It's not even winter yet. This morning our low temperature was -6.2ºC — that's about 20ºF. We awoke to thick fog, which is freezing on the ground and on all the trees and vines. Luckily, freezing fog doesn't cause the damage that freezing rain can cause.
On our thermometer, the temperatures have been in the 23º to 26ºF range (that's -6º to -3ºC) other mornings, and we are lucky if the temperature gets above the freezing point in the afternoon. Roselyn the Bread Lady tells us our thermometer reads high; it's much colder according to hers. She lives about 6 miles east of us along the Cher River.
Shady spots in the yard and around the vineyard — in the shadow of our bay laurel hedge, for example — stay frosty all day. The frost is building up and some patches of it are starting to look like snow, although we haven't had any precipitation for a while.
Luckily, we haven't had any wind to speak of either. That would make it really unbearable. I know it's all relative, and some of you reading this may be in areas where the weather's a lot colder and nastier than it is here. But our basically uninsulated concrete and tile house feels chilly these days. This is very cold weather for the Loire Valley.
We also just had to order 1,000 liters of fuel oil to keep our boiler and radiators going through the winter. The price we paid for fuel oil is €0,83 a liter, and that comes out to 264 U.S. gallons of oil for about $1200.00 U.S., or more than $4.00 a gallon. How much does heating oil cost in the U.S. these days?
We still take Callie out for her morning and afternoon walks, despite the cold weather. She doesn't mind. Walt and I both have long johns (des caleçons longs) to wear on cold mornings. I brought two pairs back from my trip to North Carolina, and I'm glad I did. I sure needed them this morning. I put on a short-sleeved tee-shirt, a long-sleeved tee-shirt, a corduroy shirt, a fleece vest, and my heavy coat. Not to mention the long johns, gloves, and a wool hat. Callie just wore her regular coat.
I'm not sure it feels a lot like Christmas, but that's because we have no special plans and I don't go out much. There are Christmas decorations around town and in some of the stores. OnTV, the national news is running a series this week showing different chefs and cooks trying to plan and buy the food for a Christmas dinner for six people on a budget of €150.00 or less, including wine. It's not easy.
Has anybody else in France noticed how much food prices have jumped up this fall? Vous qui habitez en France, êtes-vous d'accord avec moi que les prix des produits alimentaires montent en flèche depuis la rentrée ?