Posted by: kathandroger | June 27, 2011

Le canicule, le madison et l’ail

‘Phew, wot a scorcher, as the famous Sun headline said all those years ago! It certainly has been today – 37 degrees in the shade and even hotter for other parts of the country. This is officially called a ‘canicule’ – a heatwave. But here there are special measures to be followed in ‘caniculaire’ conditions, so everyone closes their shutters and retreats inside. We were working upstairs in the barn, which was pretty steamy, but nothing compared to the temperatures in which our masons were working. I was actually surprised they came today and really did feel sorry for them as going outside felt like walking into a furnace. Here they are manfully getting on with the steps outside Gite B..

Actually it has been very warm for several days now, which was particularly welcome on Saturday evening as it was our village ‘fete de la Saint Jean’. About 240 of us sat down for a picnic followed by a lantern-lit walk around the village after dark and the customary fire. I did ask one or two locals what we were celebrating and no-one seemed to be really sure, though it was something to do with celebrating the harvest and bringing good luck. Oh well, we never really did need too much of an excuse for a bit of a knees up! Here we are just about to set off for our walk around the troglodyte caves…

It is a ‘bring your own food and wine do’ and it never ceases to amaze us just what lengths the French go to to prepare for a picnic. And they are always very keen for us to sample their wares – reckon they think they must save the poor English from their dreadful food! There was a bit of dancing to be done too – as always. One of the most common dances at these sorts of do’s is ‘le madison’, a sort of line dance that everyone knows how to do. Lucky we go to dancing lessons! Here we are joining in the fun..

Being the summer months we now have a stream of cheap labour from Blighty to help us out. It would be a shame not to put them to work, even in the canicule! So here they are, happy in their work,  dealing with this years garlic crop!

…and a fine job they did too!

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