Summer Heat In France

22 Jul

I think this week sets a new record for the lowest number of photos I have taken since this adventure started.  That means it will be a fairly short post.  It has just been too hot to be galavanting around too much!

The week started in the splendid company of the Hurpin family and friends at the summer holiday farmhouse they hire at Siouville-Hague which is near Cherbourg.  The weather continued to be perfect and even I was convinced to take a swim – what a mistake that turned out to be.  We got chest deep and using my watch I measured the water temperature at between 16.8˚C and 17.2˚C just 250mm below the surface!  I was loosing feeling in my feet so I put the watch on my foot and measured 16.4˚C on the bottom.  We lasted about 15 minutes before retreating to the warmth on the sand.  The speed at which the tide moves over the sand is impressive too.  The tidal range in this area is huge, 6.33m at its maximum between low and high tides.  So it covers and uncovers over 400m of sand every 7 hours or so.

We sang Happy Birthday to Leanne in French at ten minutes after midnight on the 16th before going to bed.  Wednesday was a travel day, we had about five hours on the road to get to Fomperron where we met and spent the night with Gaye and John.  We will be house sitting for them for nearly eight weeks starting at the very end of September.  They have a very nice spot in a small hamlet with lots of vegetable gardens.  It should be lots of fun and allow us flexibility to explore the region.  You will hear all about that later.

On Thursday we met Gaye and John’s English neighbours, a delightful couple, who will be our first call for any problems with things on the property.  We left Fomperron after lunch heading for Le Paradis to meet Nicky and family.  We arrived at 17h00 and it was hot.  Our assignment here is only nine days while they take a holiday at the beach.  Our charges here are 4 dogs, 3 cats, 5 goats (one due to kid this week, triplets expected), 15 chickens, several white mice, 2 snakes (hence the mice, i.e. food!), and an aquarium containing 20+ small tropical fish.  There are also three horses but Nicky’s Dad looks after them.

Nicky and family headed away for their holiday on Saturday afternoon which gave us Thursday night, all of Friday plus Saturday morning to learn the routines and have time for questions.  It was 34˚C on Saturday afternoon and we needed to stock up on groceries so we headed for LeClerc at Ruffec and spent some extra time in their chilled food aisles!  Of course our times out of the house were carefully scheduled so we didn’t miss too much of the TDF coverage on ITV4.

One of the items on the shopping list was some beer to quench the inevitable thirst that one acquires in this heat.  I scanned the beer aisle and found a two-dozen pack of 250ml bottles on special, without bothering to read the label – it was in the beer department.  It turned out to be  shandy with less than 1% alcohol and it tasted like ginger beer.  Actually turned out to be ideal in the heat.  Very lucky escape, I must remember to read the label next time.

On Sunday we went out for another drive around the area but we didn’t last very long, it was too hot.

Looking from the driveway of the house at Siouville-Hague towards the beach 1km away down the lane.

Looking from the driveway of the house at Siouville-Hague towards the beach 1km away down the lane.

A part of the garden we will be looking after in October/November this year near Fomperron.

A part of the garden we will be looking after in October/November this year near Fomperron.

We were told of some villages near our route where there were holly-hocks growing out of every crack in the pavement.  This one was Bagnault but I only got this average photo using the iPhone - it was just too hot to be bothered getting the DSLR out and spending any more than a few moments away from the air-conditioned comfort of the car.

We were told of some villages near our route where there were holly-hocks growing out of every crack in the pavement. This one was Bagnault but I only got this average photo using the iPhone – it was just too hot to be bothered getting the DSLR out and spending any more than a few moments away from the air-conditioned comfort of the car.

This is the Charente River which lends its name to the Département Charente.  The location is Verteuil and the chåteau is the 11th century Chåteau de Verteuil.

This is the Charente River which lends its name to the Département Charente. The location is Verteuil and the chåteau is the 11th century Chåteau de Verteuil.

Sunflowers near Ruffec.  Most of the fields around this area are either sunflowers, wheat or maize.  Wheat is being harvested now while this is the most mature field of sunflowers we have seen.

Sunflowers near Ruffec. Most of the fields around this area are either sunflowers, wheat or maize. Wheat is being harvested now while this is the most mature field of sunflowers we have seen.

A sunflower looking good.

A sunflower looking good.

The village of Nanteuil is signposted from several routes as a 'picturesque village'.  It certainly was and we did stop for an hour for coffee in the shade but it was far too hot to go wandering around.  Hopefully we will get back early one day this week.

The village of Nanteuil is signposted from several routes as a ‘picturesque village’. It certainly was and we did stop for an hour for coffee in the shade but it was far too hot to go wandering around. Hopefully we will get back early one day this week.

That’s it for the week.  Short and sweet.  I hope to have a few more photos for next week but as I hide from the heat inside the house finishing this on Monday afternoon it is 35˚C.  At these sorts of temperatures being out and about is hard work.  Even the pool at Nicky’s parent’s house, two doors away, is 31˚C so hardly worth the effort!

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