14 April 2008

More whinging

Isn't "whinging" a great word? It's English. I mean British (or Australian). It means "whining." Americans whine but they don't whinge. I think I'm getting good at both.

I was going to call this post "The Art of Whinging." But then I realized that my whining and whinging is not very artful. I am persistent, though. You have to give me that. The American Heritage Dictionary says "to whinge" means " to complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner." I guess that's me.

Tulipes chez le voisin — the neighbor's tulips

And it's all about the weather. We had 23 mm of rain over the weekend. That's just short of one inch of precip, as they used to say on the U.S. weather reports. And that's a lot for us. It seldom rains hard, but this weekend it rained steadily. Temperature: about 10ºC — 50ºF — at the highest.

We talked to a friend in California yesterday. It's in the 80s there. In North Carolina, where my mother and sister live, it's easily in the 70s in this season. Sigh...

Saturday afternoon: can you see the rainbow?

But just this morning, as I was standing in front of the kitchen sink washing up after making a yogurt tandoori marinade for today's lunchtime chicken, I was thinking: What if this idea of quitting work and moving to France was just one huge mistake? With the plummeting dollar and the pelting rain, a man starts to wonder. Just at that moment the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and flooded the kitchen with the promise of better days. Look! It just happened again.

I think I am being teased.

Anyway, I'm not the only one whinging about the weather. Here's an excerpt from a blog (Alana at Vespers is Nigh) written by a woman who has been in Provence this past week with her husband:
Unfortunately, [my husband] decided that he would get a nasty cold literally the day we got on to the plane for our vacation. It has taken him a few days to get over the worst of it and there really is no better place to completely rest than here in Provence.

The weather has also been a bit gloomy...
Gloomy in Provence? Only in April does that happen. Be warned. Plan to take your trip to Provence in another season. But Alana does put a good spin on it — doesn't she? — with the "no better place to completely rest" than Provence assessment.

And then there's Chris's recent experience of Paris in March (The Best Trip Ever). We met Chris and her husband Frank last year when they spent a week in a gîte near Saint-Aignan. This year, they were in Paris for three weeks. She wrote in one topic on her blog:
In spite of all my whining about the weather, I wouldn't have missed this or changed a thing [about this trip to Paris]. The cold and the rain forced me to forget my long list of things to accomplish here and just savor one day at a time.
Again, some very positive spinning going on there, n'est-ce pas, Chris?

To lift our spirits yesterday, as a cold rain fell steadily,
W. made one of his springtime specialties to lift our spirits.
It's white asparagus rolled in slices of Paris ham and baked into a pie.

By the way, Chris's blog is a good read for when you are getting ready to go to Paris for a few days. A good read anytime, really. Earlier, she wrote this in another posting:
Weather has been on our mind the entire trip.

We’re climate-spoiled Californians who don’t even own things like wool coats, so we didn’t exactly arrive prepared. I brought some light sweaters, so I’ve just been layering like crazy, and I talked Frank into a wool scarf and some gloves. I haven’t been able to convince him to buy a sweater or a warmer coat. He hates to shop for that kind of thing, and insists it would be a waste of money because he’d never wear it at home. So he just toughs it out.

I’ve never seen such changeable weather. In the morning, like today, it will be sunny, crystal clear and cold, very cold. Then the clouds sort of sneak in and the fun starts. It blows, then it rains, then it clears up and hails while the sun shines. Then it rains some more, then clears, then more wind and hail, then it settles in and pours for a while. The one thing it never does is warm up.

Ken on the message board told me to expect the “giboulées de mars,” which I took to be a poetic description of some sort of nice gentle spring showers. Hah! I’ve since googled the term and realized that it describes exactly the sudden heavy rains, sleet, hail, and wind we’ve seen just about every day we’ve been here.
So she admits that I warned her, our friend Chris does. I wish I had been more adamant, more descriptive, in talking about the March weather in Paris (and Saint-Aignan). But you always feel so negative when you tell those kinds of truths.

The other day in Blois we bought a new rug.
Here, Callie isn't yet sure she's happy with it.

It's always darkest before the dawn. Just when you feel the whiniest, the sun breaks through and you feel silly again. Not to mention relieved.


  1. Sigh. I'm going to Paris from Wednesday to Sunday and the weather doesn't look too great. I guess it could be worse, though.

    I'm sure I've told you this before,but one year when we were in Touraine, it rained every weekend from October until May. Every. Single. Weekend.

    Things are the same here in Aveyron, if that's any consolation. So much for my "spring" holiday.

  2. According to my neighbors in Southern California, it was 104.6°F [40°C] yesterday afternoon. Here, in Virginia, it was in the fifties, about the same as St-Aignan. I do miss my desert!

    I hope the weather will turn warm and sunny for my arrival at CDG in just about a month! Sigh!

  3. Sometimes we all need to whinge. Your weather has been difficult for almost a year now. I think "this too shall pass" and you'll have memories of wet paws and rainbows in the years to come.

    It is going to freeze here tonight. April 15th is our last freeze date, hooray!

    I wrote a longish comment about your hahas, but it got lost. I really enjoy your blog despite the occasional whinging that happen in life.

    BTW that ham and aspargus tart looks delicious.

  4. Evelyn, Claudia lost a comment too. I guess it is the blogger software, over which I have no control. Sorry you are having a freeze. Our last freeze day is MAY 15, one month later. But it is pretty here this afternoon, despite a shower of pea-sized hail/sleet at noontime! Time for my walk with Callie in a few minutes. K.

    CHM, I am really hoping for better weather toward mid-May. Just in case, maybe you'd better bring some good weather with you. K.

    Betty, good luck in Paris. That kind of rain-every-weekend happened to us one year in the Bay Area in California -- but only December through May. It got very old though. Our next trips to Paris are at the end of May and maybe by then things will be nicer. K.

  5. Claudia in Toronto14 April, 2008 17:38

    i don't mind your "whinging" at all when you surround it with your beautiful (and delectable) photos. I'm just like Callie with new things. I walk around them for days before I actually use them. Even an armchair!

    I remember so well moaning here nearly everyday about our Toronto winter, and the comfort your Summer series gave me. All I can say is, "Hang in there. Believe in the rainbow!"

  6. Yeah, "whinge" is a great word, especially because "whine" is a homophone for one of your favorite things!
    - Ginny

  7. The Oregonian in me embraced the Mistral in a rather happy stride!

    April does have its weather potholes for Provence but I would not have missed the orchid trees (can't remember the exact name for them) as well as the early poppies and irises that decided to show up everywhere after one of the drenching rains.

    We're back in DC where it was 50 & partly cloudly today. With the twiggy bushes in the front now sprouting green there must've been a drenching rain while we were away. Throughout the trip we just kept feeling that the weather in Provence was not that far off the mark from Northern Virginia!

  8. Beautiful rug!
    Beautiful asparagus and ham pie!
    Beautiful black and white tile floor!

    38ºF in New Bern, NC tonight, about the same for your mother, NOT beautiful!


  9. I will not begin to tell you what the weather has been like here in Texas (well, blue skies one minute, raining the next, with temps ranging from a low 32 to a high of 85 within the last week). During baseball practice this afternoon, it was clear and sunny and about 75.

    When I read about Walt having passport photos and visits to small villages, I am reminded of why you moved. The grass is always greener and whatnot, but living the country life in France is special. So is raising a couple of kids in Waco, Texas.

  10. I think whinging is a completely appropriate response to all that cold and rain! Normally I would be whinging about 85+ weather this early in April, but this year I just smiled and soaked it up, remembering the giboulées de mars.

    It's bound to get better soon, isn't it? We've been in your area twice at the end of April or beginning of May and it's been lovely.

    If you get tired of whinging, another good British word for the occasion is grizzle.

  11. One of my old friends from Chambana is visiting next week and I gave her the same warning. She and her husband live in Tennessee. Will they believe me? It's not the giboulées de mars any more, but I remember some pretty miserable cold days in May!

  12. Incidentally, thanks for providing me with new words, that will, no doubt, land in my New Words section ;)


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