Steamy summer

In an effort to combat August’s steamy temperatures, I’ve taken to getting up really early. A quick ride on the home-trainer, breakfast on the balcony and then a spot of housework, followed by a cold shower, all before my beloved wakes. He’s been finding it more difficult to sleep in the heat as there’s not too much difference between top day time and night time temperatures. We don’t have air conditioning instead we rely on the passage of cooler air through all the open windows.

Early morning is about the only time the temperatures fall below 26C and the cicadas give their cooling leg rubbing a rest. If only keeping cool was that simple for the rest of us. In an effort to remain cool, I’ve been wafting around the flat in cool floaty outfits while my beloved is permanently topless. He’s been swimming daily in the pool which has certainly helped his mobility but he’s finding it difficult to concentrate in the office, the hottest part of the flat, in the afternoons.

According to the weather forecast the top day time temperatures should start to ease below 30C this week. Welcome news for all but the most ardent of sunbathers like my sister, who’s over here for the next month. It’s unusual for the Cote d’Azur to have these daily high temperatures for two consecutive months (July and August).

Even the Domaine’s animals are feeling the effects of the heat. The dogs wearily trot out for comfort breaks and hurry back home into the shade. The rooks have found themselves some shady perches in the forest, the pigeons only appear late afternoon and potter about in the shade. We’ve not seen hide nor hair of Mr Squirrel though the magpies are still upsetting anyone and everyone.

My beloved, in his own inimitable style, has not been helping with the work load quite the reverse. He dripped sweat all over the marble floor and then walked in it. It was easy to see the imprint from the soles of his shoes. I was not happy as I’d only recently swept and washed it. I had to re-wash it because his sweat strips the shine from the marble! Of course, I could’ve wait for him to do it……but hell would probably freeze over before that happened.

When it’s this warm, you really don’t feel like cooking or eating much, just plenty of cold soups, fresh fruit and salads which means regular early morning trips to the market. I’m aware this is beginning to sound like a moan. It isn’t, not really. I’m just looking forward to a slight dip in temperature to make it much more pleasant throughout the day. When it’s hot, productivity slips alarmingly and sitting in the car with the air conditioning on full blast is a welcome option.

A letter to Mr Sunshine

Dear Mr Sunshine

Level with me, what’s up? You’ve been conspicuous by your absence this year and, as we hurtle towards mid-year, I’d like to remind you that we’re supposed to enjoy 300 days of your presence each and every year. We’ve seen way too much of Mr Rain and Mr Cloud!

Don’t blame Global Warning! I’m not doing a Donald, but surely we’d be enjoying more sunshine and less rain if that were the case. Or is this payback for last year’s fabulous spring, summer and autumn? It comes to something when the weather in recent months has been better in the UK, a country we fled for France’s temperate climes, fine culture and charming natives. Please also bear in mind that my sisters hold me to account for the weather. If clouds mar any of their many vacations it’s a disaster of epic proportions!

My neighbours have been reminiscing and have concluded that it’s the worst spring ever. I’ve only lived here for 13 years so can’t comment other than to say it’s been the wettest, less sunny spring since we arrived. Even the farmers are saying they’ve had enough rain and need more sunshine or the fruit and vegetables will start to rot, pushing prices sky-high. Now, you know how the French love to complain about the price of fruit and veg!

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining. Everything is so lush, green and verdant. We’ve had to employ extra gardeners to cope with the grass. No sooner have they mowed one spot than it has shot up again, seemingly overnight. Our 50m pool opened finally the last week-end in May but it has been closed, thanks to stormy weather, more days than it has been open.

My beloved is getting antsy. He won’t ride if rain is likely – we don’t need any more broken bones – nor is he getting his daily swim. You’re playing havoc with my riding too. I really don’t expect to spend time on the home trainer in June!

I’ve checked the forecast and there’s little prospect of much improvement. Thank goodness we’re off to Spain next week-end (Catalunya MotoGP) which is currently promising wall-to-wall sunshine. Don’t forget I live in an area whose economy relies heavily on tourism, frankly this isn’t helping. Typically we should be enjoying plenty of sunshine, dry weather in the daytime, with temperatures in the mid-20s. Please get it sorted!

Yours sincerely

A concerned sun lover