Summer at Last

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Torrential rainstorms are a feature of life in France Pic: Rod Fleming

Well, summer did finally arrive here in P’tit Moulin and the warm balmy days are back. I must say they are very welcome, and could have been here sooner. The girls are all out in their skimpiest dresses, to show off their golden-tanned skin and the boys…well, who cares about the boys anyway?

Of course, here in central France the climate is interesting, to say the least. The way summer in Burgundy works is you get a week or ten days of glorious weather and then the skies open and it’s like God went out on the piss, drank too much beer, and finally split the seal. Torrential is not the word, associated with spectacular thunder and lightning that can go on all night.

Our village is in a valley and often the storms blow up along the river and right over the house.  It’s entertaining and some of us have even been known to dance naked under the pouring rain…after a few drinks and with nobody watching, of course.

This summer has been no exception, although so far we have not had anything like the doozie we had in 2009, when the torrential rainstorms were supplemented by hailstones the size of tennis balls. Well, here they were that big, along the road in the next village they were bigger, with one weighed by a distraught local whose roof had just been demolished, at 650 grammes. That’s a pound and a half, for the septic tanks.

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Summer hailstones can be devastating! Pic: Rod Fleming

Also, perhaps confirming the old saw that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, I can confirm that the Crucifix on the hill is still there and not blown to smithereens as it was one year.

Well, we had our lashing rain and fireworks on Tuesday, the day after I put out the tomato plants, for the second time. Naturally, within minutes, dozens of slugs took advantage of the wetness to sally out with murder in their hearts. Murder of my tomatoes, that is.

They had reckoned without this particular alchemist, who remembered a bag of rock salt in the cupboard. I spent a very entertaining half hour pinging little lumps of salt at the slugs, and I got quite good at it. Then I laid a little minefield of salt crystals around my tomato plants. It’s deeply satisfying to see what crystal salt does to a mollusc; osmosis is such a useful principle. And I am pleased to report that Georges and his little chums are doing very nicely.

Thereafter I retired indoors to celebrate with several glasses of red wine and wish my vanquished, not to say eviscerated, enemies slug speed to Valhalla. Or something.

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Georges and his chums. Pic: Rod Fleming