Well it might not seem like it from the weather forecast for the next week or so but autumn is definitely in the air. How do we know?
- The supermarkets are suddenly empty of beefy Belgians staggering under crates of beer and bewildered Brits lost in the cheese section and cursing the exchange rate.
- The collection of grapes – the vendage – is underway either by machines or human labour.
- There are traffic jams at the start and end of the school day. Things have been made worse this year by heightened security around the schools.
- The beautiful flocks of bee-eaters whose habit of assembling loudly over the house at 6 am could get somewhat irritating have changed their pattern and are clearly ready to head southwards .
- The hunting has started. So far, we think, only for woodpigeons. But if you want a classic example of French bureaucracy take a look at the document on official rules for hunting for our department: preferably on the very largest of screens. How anybody is supposed to police it is beyond comprehension. So for instance the hunting season for the Stock Dove Columa oenas ends on 20 February while that of the Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus ends on 10 February although a footnote tells us that you can hunt it for another week if you shoot from a fixed hide.
A key feature in most villages and towns at this time of year is a Fête des Associations. This is where all the clubs and societies come together with stalls and try to get new members for the coming winter. We turned up to ours at Taradeau and were delighted to see a number of people who we knew (and who knew us). One of the best stalls was to do with the project we have been involved in – cleaning up the Gallo-Roman settlement (the Oppidum) – and it was interesting to see what we achieved last year and what we hope to achieve this year. We may try to take up with the walking group and Alison is also considering helping out for an hour or so a week at the local school.
There were some interesting conversations a number of which went along the following lines:
“What is Brexit?”
“The Prime Minister says that Brexit is Brexit.”
“What does that mean?”
“No one knows. It’s like…. a mushroom is a mushroom.”
“So is there a plan?” (There is a lingering suspicion amongst the French that the British always have some sort of cunning and probably unethical plan.)
“Who knows the secret?”
“Aah.” Pause. “Would you like French nationality?”
In other news, Chris has been labouring away on his essays for Anglican readership. So far it’s going extremely well but at the cost of some very hard work. The pile of books is an entirely unposed photograph.
Also, the first volume in his Lamb Among the Stars trilogy (now only available in electronic format) is being promoted at the princely sum of 75p ($0.99) all this month on Amazon. Try it and then buy the other two books!
Last weekend we had a church weekend away which was both pleasant and stimulating. This is now our third one and it’s gratifying to see the numbers have increased each year.
In family news, we are delighted to announce the birth of Phoebe Elizabeth to Mark and Alice, our first granddaughter.