What A Difference A week Makes…

3 Sep

Last week I closed with a comment on the weather.  Wow!, what a change.  We have had overnight temperatures below 20˚C, daytime highs below 30˚C, wind and overcast.  Right now (Saturday afternoon, 6pm) it is raining lightly, about 16˚C, thunder is rolling and the overnight low is forecast to be 11˚C.  Ouch!  I suppose it is very hot in summer and in the winter it can be very cold so getting from one to the other has to happen at speed because the time is fixed, if you follow me.  Brrr… still I was not expecting such an abrupt lurch into autumn yet.

We haven’t done too much this week.  We are going to be away for near three weeks so we have been getting everything here up to date.  We even spent some time clearing logs from the chute by the dam this week.  There has been a big pile up there since we arrived – I assume it was the result of the flood last October.  Anyway we got in there with the chainsaw and in a macro version of the old game of ‘Pick Up Sticks’ we carefully removed logs.  I usually cut them into manageable weights before carrying them to the side for later removal to higher ground.  It was a perfect time to do this job because the water flowing through the chute was only ankle deep and the weather was warm.  We were both very tired after three hours though – some of those logs were very heavy.

The river is very low at the moment. We spent some time in the river with the chainsaw this week clearing the chute beside the barrage (dam). Made a lot of progress. Now just need to get all the logs moved from where we stacked them on the side up to high ground before the level rises and washes it all in again.

Here is what it looked like before we started.

And another view.

On Thursday it was raining lightly and for some reason we decided to go to Draguignan which was quite funny really.  The last time we went there just to look around was in May and it was raining on that day too!  Still, even armed with the iPhone only I managed to get a few pictures.

A streetscape in Draguignan taken with the iPhone. As you can see it is raining. The last time we came to Draguignan in late May it was also raining. One day we will arrange to get there on a fine day with the DSLR and get some good shots. The old part of town does look quite nice and almost surprisingly has some rather upmarket fashion boutiques and related stores.

The American War Cemetary at Draguignan. “On 12.5 acres at the foot of a hill clad with the characteristic cypresses, olive trees, and oleanders of southern France, rest 860 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the liberation of southern France in August 1944.”

On Friday we had planned to go to the beach but when we got up there were 50~60kph winds and the weather sites said it was the same on the coast.  So we invented plan B and went to Mont Faron which is a rocky peak behind Toulon.  Of course being near Ikea didn’t hurt the plan’s chance of selection either!

It was windy! The weather reports said 50 to 60 KPH. It felt like it.

The road up Mt Faron is one-way and even then it is not a generous lane.  The  drop to the right is steep and uninterrupted for hundreds of metres.  Even so, there were 3 hardy road warriors pedalling their way to the top.  Once up there the views were great and the wind was very strong.  I might even need to revisit my rather negative earlier comments on Toulon – it looked stunning from the top of the mountain.

View from the top of Mont Faron over the harbour city of Toulon.

Approach to ‘Sanctuaire de Notre Dame du Faron’.

Only built in 1959, it is nestled back into the landscape like a cave.

After strolling around some of the trails and a coffee overlooking the Toulon harbour we set off downwards to find Ikea.  First purchase was lunch.  They have a great cafeteria with good food and bargain prices.  Thus fortified we explored the store.  Saw lots of very neat stuff, some of it looked just the thing for our beach house when we get around to refreshing that some day.  Its just a pity we don’t have Ikea in NZ yet.

This cross was on the next promontory from the main viewing are at the end of a 15 minute easy walk. Again, very windy but great views over the harbour.

The clouds in the distance looked very ominous. It was down beyond Draguignan and east of Le Thoronet. The following day’s weather forecast is for rain and thunder storms and I think they might be right.

By the time we remembered that we were meant to be going grocery shopping back in Le Luc on our way home it was already after 4pm.  How time flies.  By the time we got home we were still full from the late lunch so it was a glass of wine for dinner.  Easy.

I am not sure when I will get the next blog published.  We collected Mark & Sarah from the train at Les Arcs this afternoon.  They are spending three nights with us on the first stop of their holiday before heading to Amsterdam.  On Wednesday we are heading to Nimes then the Luberon then to Corsica for a week.  We won’t be back ‘home’ till 18th September which is two blogs away!  I’ll see what I can do on the road but no promises.  OK?


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