03 May 2011

Rain, and Romo

We got a little more rain last night. Big fat raindrops slapped against the Velux roof windows for an hour or two, in two or three showers over the course of the evening. Rainfall seems to come in either 1 mm (a trace) or 6 mm (¼") quantities these days. We also had just a little bit of thunder and lightning.

I am really happy for anybody who decided to take a vacation trip to the north of France in April 2011. That person enjoyed fantastic weather. Down south, on the Côte d'Azur, Provence, or even in the Southwest, the weather wasn't quite so nice. That's a pattern I've noticed over the past 8 or 10 years. April is often dry and warm up north in France, but wet and chilly down south, near the Mediterranean.

Peonies in the back garden

Yesterday we made the drive over to « Romo » to do some shopping. Romorantin is one of the three largest towns in our département (Loir-et-Cher), with a population of about 20,000 (Saint-Aignan is about 4,000). There are more and more big-box stores over there as the years go by, including a Centre Leclerc "hypermarket." We needed outdoor chairs and our weekly groceries. Leclerc has a good selection of outdoor furniture, and at good prices.

Romo is about 40 kilometers/25 miles from our house. All the big hypermarkets (superstores) are about that distance from us — there are stores in Loches, Amboise, Blois, and Romo. It's not a trip we make often, because of the price of gas and the general hassle of going there. But the Centre Leclerc has a bigger selection of specialized merchandise than any store in the immediate Saint-Aignan area, so we drive over there or to one of the other hypermarkets several times a year.

On a recent walk, a caterpillar...

...and a butterfly out on the vineyard road

As for the price of gas, we filled the Peugeot's fuel tank up yesterday for the first time since March 9. The Peugeot is a little 206. It has a diesel engine and a 12-gallon fuel tank (that's U.S. gallons, which are smaller than British gallons). We put in 40 liters of diesel fuel — 10½ gallons — and it cost us 53 euros, or about $79.00 U.S. at today's exchange rate. We noticed that the diesel fuel prices at SuperU and Leclerc were exactly the same.

A couple of days ago this guy came and fished in the pond out back
for an hour or two. I don't know if he caught anything, or even if
he's really allowed to fish in a pond that is owned by the village.

On the way over, I decided to drive through the center of Romo rather than around the edges on the ring-road bypass, just for the view. It's a pretty little town, with a river, a large green park, and the nice narrow "main street." There's a Michelin-starred restaurant there, and a big new market hall. I noticed that the market is having a special "asparagus and strawberries day" next Wednesday. Those are two of the surrounding region's special springtime food products.

Here's how the back yard is looking these days.
The house is behind the apple, linden, and cedar trees.

It was one of those days when the shopping went well. The store actually had the outdoor chairs we wanted, so we were successful. Every success counts! Now we can set up our lawn tent, get out the table we bought a year or two ago, put the chairs around it, and start spending more time in the back yard. Let's hope the weather doesn't go south on us.


  1. We have had no rain. Our grass is brown and our very old cedar tree looks like it is dead!!!!

    Love your insects. Diane

  2. ahhhh, the smells and sights and blog posts of oncoming spring and summer life!


  3. We were in the Dordogne from April 4-9. It was cool with a little drizzle on the 4th and 5th, and warm and sunny the rest of the time.

    In Provence from April 10-20, it was sunny in the mid- to upper-60's, and on two days in the upper 70's. I guess it was wet and chilly somewhere, sometime down south in April, but the weather sure smiled on us.

  4. Good, Chris. Looking at the weather reports here, we got the impression it was rainy down along the Mediterranean for most of April.

  5. So, then, the price of gas is less than $8 US per gallon.

  6. Sounds like summer is well on it's way to Saint-Aignan!


  7. Starman, the price of diesel fuel is less than $8.00/gallon. Gasoline, regular or premium, is 15% to 20% higher.

    BettyAnn, yes, and really, it's still far too early for summertime weather here. It's freakish.

  8. Just got back from Dieulefit in La Drome. They've not had any rain for about 2 months! However while we were there we had a couple of good thunderstorms, welcome rain for everbody.

    Noticed something odd to do with diesel fuel. I filled up (actually about 35 litres) at SuperU and had the plesant experience of getting a 15% improvement in mpg. Filled up again before setting off home and the mpg was maintained. At Riems we refueled and the mpg went back by about 10%. Having now refuled in England I'm back to normal. Anyone had a similar exerience?

  9. Hello Mac, I've never noticed such mileage differences, but then I don't really keep track that closely. I wonder what the cause could be.


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