12 July 2010

End of the heat wave?

I awoke to another early-morning thunderstorm today. It was 5:00 a.m. when the lightning started cracking, and the thunder clapped at a deafening level. The raindrops were so big they sounded like they might be hailstones as they pounded the Velux windows up in the loft space.

I got up and went downstairs to sit with the dog. She seemed less afraid than a week ago when we had a similar, even more violent storm. For now the thunder and lightning have stopped but it's raining — 22 mm, almost an inch, in the rain gauge in about 2 hours' time. It's not yet clear from the weather reports whether this patch of stormy weather spells the end of our heat wave.

Last week, we drove over to a village near the wine town of Bourgueil to meet and spend a couple of hours with two bloggers (not a couple) we had known only in cyberspace up until then. One lives over there with her husband and children, and the other was visiting from America with his wife and children. We left the Bourgueil area at about 9:30 p.m. for the 90-minute drive back to Saint-Aignan on local roads, having decided there was no need to take the fast road called the autoroute.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
You can see on the dashboard display that it was 10:03 p.m.
and 23ºC out when I took this picture in Tours.

We drove east along the north bank (the right bank) of the Loire River from Langeais (famous château) to Tours. The drive through the city was pretty, I thought. There was little traffic — it was dinnertime in France — and the light was soft and blue. It doesn't get dark until about 10:30 right now. At one point there was a café full of people along the road, and I snapped a picture. We continued on through Vouvray, Amboise, and Montrichard to Saint-Aignan.

Yesterday we went to spend the afternoon with some American friends who now live just over on the other side of Saint-Aignan from us. We had a mixed grill of French sausages — chipolatas, merguez, boudins noirs, andouillettes — and a chipotle potato salad that was delicious. For dessert, we had ripe juicy peaches and nectarines that were cut in half and lightly charred, cut side down, on the barbecue grill. Succulent is the only word for the result.

I couldn't get close to this butterfly on some lavender
in our back yard, but I managed to get a picture.

Last week our friends received their furniture shipment from the house they've just moved out of, so their "camping" days are over. Their house is beautiful. It's an old Touraine-style farmhouse called a longère — a "long house." It's very different from our tall, square 1960s house.

Today the varnishing recommences at La Renaudière. I think. The weather has cooled down, at least temporarily. It's time to get busy again.


  1. I think the butterfly in your picture is a Swallowtail if its of any interest.
    Peter Corke

  2. I like the photo of Tours :) Those grilled peaches sound heavenly -- we'll have to try that.

    Any chance that your friends who have moved into the long house will be posting photos somewhere? :))


  3. i would love to see pics of the longere too....i always thought that would be the kind of house i would buy....

  4. A third vote for photos of your friends' longere. Apparently some of your readers are house nuts.

  5. I'm not at liberty to take and post pictures of other people's houses!

    You all will have to come and see for yourselves.

  6. Glad to see the weather has eased up a little for you guys.

  7. Of course we know you wouldn't post photos of your friends' house without their full permission.

    How about you suggest that your friends start their own blog and post house pictures. I just need ONE more blog to read on a daily basis and then I'll have a full 8-hour day at the computer.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?