Monday, 22 August 2011

Dog days of August


The days start by casting lemon-bright sunshine through the wooden shutters. The sky is cloudless. By ten o'clock, the heat is rising and all freshness has gone. This is the "canicule", the heavy heat of late summer when all you want to do is plunge into this:


Or find a shady spot where the warm pines release their scent...


...to drift away with a good book - this is Seek My Face by John Updike (so far, so very good)...


All this gentle activity is interspersed with some lovely food, with the emphasis on fresh fruit picked from the trees and vegetables from a local market. Some ice-cold wine...then, after dusk, a wander off to one of the many village fetes - not fetes in the British sense, but three-day parties in the main square under plane trees strung up with lights, and dancing to a live band.


Last weekend, the party was at Viens. The same band, to our certain knowledge, returns year after year. The line-up has changed since those days in the 1980s when a high point was their rendition of George Michael's "Car'less Whis-perr" ("Gill-ti feet 'ave go' no rhyt-hem") and songs from the perennial French love affair with the Rolling Stones. There are dancing girls too, in extraordinary - and occasionally risque - costumes. The whole village turns out, young and old. The children jig around, while their grandparents swoop around to the tango and passo doble and show they've still got the moves.


19 comments:

Maureen said...

Looks relaxing and also like great fun.

A review of your book appeared in our Washington Post today. Congratulations!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-lantern-by-deborah-lawrenson-a-modern-gothic-tale/2011/07/31/gIQAhiQ8UJ_story.html

Julia Munroe Martin said...

Wow, what a lovely relaxing looking pool! And I love the spot you have for reading, beautiful!

autumnmiss said...

phew, i feel hot just thinking about dancing in warm weather, id have to sit in that lovely cold pool (i dont swim), great photo, love the way the light shimmers on the water.

Spangle said...

I got the chance to cool off in my friend's pool yesterday. This and reading a book in a shady place are my two favourite things about August.A great post.

James Kiester said...

Now that's the life. I must say, I'm envious. :-)

Richard Moisan said...

Ah, les soirées d'été françaises!... C'est tout de même bien, hein, Deborah?...

Lisa Erin said...

I got relaxed just reading your post. ;)

With the summer we have been having, I am very ready for Autumn.

Pet said...

You write so well ... but yes, village fetes in Southern France make one feel la joie de vivre.
Reading your Post is a bit like being there.

litlove said...

The only difficulty with extreme weather is finding the right lifestyle to fit it - and yours sounds perfect! Here in the UK it is grey and cloudy and it definitely feels like autumn is on the way. Enjoy the dog days of your gorgeous summer!

aguja said...

Mmmm. Perfect. I love the 'Book Reading' photograph; cleverly captured.
I will be back commenting at the end of the month.
¡Hasta luego!

Olga said...

I know that it's very hot in Europe right now. It's wonderful to have the opportunity to swim in the pool. In our city, the nights are getting cooler, and we even feel the fragrance of fall.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Love your photos,especially the water patterns......wonderful that they can be viewed full screen,it's almost like being there!

vanessafrance said...

We have been plunging into our blue rectangle, too, in this canicule. Thankfully it's cooler today. There's nonetheless an end of summer feel here: second-homers are drifting back to Paris and la rentrée is on everone's lips. Great photos, Deborah.

Elizabeth Young said...

A swimming pool? You have the most perfect house in the entire world in the most perfect place and now a pool????? I am positively drooling... The wonderful things is you appreciate it and love all the little nooks and crannies and nuances of your home, whereas some people complain at everything, so your home is very loved, and that's enough.

Serena said...

Looks like a great house. Thanks for sharing it with Unabirdged Chick's readers.

Julie Farrar said...

I've been home from France for two weeks and this just makes me miss it more.

A Musing Mother said...

I'm starting to hate you. Just a little bit.:D

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thank you all! Actually, this was a bit of a fantasy post as the start of thus week was spent packing up the house to leave, mostly in temperatures of 90 degrees and up, a most unglamorous proposition, with tempers fraying, I can assure you.

So pleased many of you enjoyed the pool photos - taken after we had spent an hour cleaning algae and vacuuming the bottom. The sparkle was well-earned! Vanessa's post earlier this summer about the trials and tribulations of swimming pools was far more true to life.

This is as good a place as any to point out that this blog, while true as far as it goes, is not the whole gritty reality of having a house in the south of France. It's supposed to reflect the dream of it, as mirrored in The Lantern.

Cheers, all!

Relish said...

Ahhh canicule. Thanks for your post...it's warmed me up a bit, it's bloomin' freezing up North today. Brrrrr.

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