When I went to bed last night, it was just a couple of minutes before 10 p.m. As I lay my head on the pillow, I glanced at the north window, which doesn't have a shade or curtain, and I noticed that it wasn't even dark outside yet.
This morning I woke up at 6 and, again, I noticed that it wasn't at all dark outside. The birds were chirping cheerfully. Another day was dawning.
Yesterday in the vineyard, looking toward our hamlet at 6:30 p.m.
That's the nice thing about this time of year when you live so far north. At more than 47º of latitude, Saint-Aignan is farther north than Montreal, Quebec, Duluth, Fargo, or Billings — it's about the same as Seattle and Spokane. Our sunrise today is at 6:40 a.m. (right now), and sunset will be just after 9 p.m. this evening. All that, and we are still six or seven weeks away from the summer solstice. These long hours of sunlight will be with us until well into August.
It's strawberry season in the Loire Valley. The local gariguette berries are good with scones that Walt makes and some crème fraîche.
Speaking of long hours, the mass of May holidays in France begins this week. This Thursday is May 1, which is a big public holiday here. May 8, the following Thursday, is also a big public holiday, celebrating Victory in Europe, or the end of World War II 69 years ago. Another May holiday, one that always falls on a Thursday, is May 29 and is called L'Ascension. It's a Catholic holiday that marks Christ's return to heaven forty days after his crucifixion and resurrection at Easter.
We've had a few rainy days, and I made a blanquette de veau with rutabagas, celery, carrots, onions, and mushrooms to ward off the chill.
That's three major holidays in May, and because they all fall on a Thursday this year, many French people are preparing to do what is called faire le pont — or "make the bridge" — by taking the Friday after each holiday off work too, giving themselves three four-day weekends in the space of a month. There's another holiday on Monday, June 9, called La Pentecôte — so there's another long weekend.
Puffy clouds in a blue sky over the vines
All we need now is some more nice weather, and we'll be set to go. Soon it will be summer, and les grandes vacances will be upon us.