Just as January ended gray. January was a dry month, though, with less than 25% of the rainfall we got in December. And the beginning of January was mild. The end turned out pretty cold. So I guess the average was okay.
We have a high pressure system over us right now, but all high pressure does in the wintertime here in France is hold a layer of low gray cloud and haze close to the ground. La grisaille est plaquée au sol. It's like some kind of inversion. The sun just barely shines through at different points during the day, but it's basically gloomy 90% of the time.
This too shall pass. The days are longer now. Sundown is around 6:00 p.m., so there's a little more daylight. Still, it doesn't get light in the morning until about 8:30. And even then, it's a dim light.
This is the price we pay for the good months of warmth, long days, and short nights, and for all the good things we enjoy about life in France. We just have to keep reminding ourselves why we decided to come live in the Loire Valley. No regrets. But with each passing winter.... well, each winter seems longer.