High Summer (2)

Given that summers are so hot and dry down here, water is incredibly important. In fact, it would be very surprising if anyone coming to our part of Provence for a summer holiday did not anticipate spending a considerable amount of time sitting by some beach, lake or swimming pool. So here’s a sequence of water-themed pictures.

The coast at this time is inevitably busy, crowded with people from every corner of Europe. This being the Côte d’Azur, the water is filled with almost every conceivable means of floating, sailing or just getting around, often with as much noise and speed as possible. Tranquility is not a great value. About the only thing we haven’t seen this summer is a submarine.

This heavy use of the coastline has policing implications and at one beach we were somewhat amused to see a police launch tackle a couple of tourist boats moored far too close to the designated swimming areas. But it makes sense. It’s all too easy for boats to overlook the fact that there is someone snorkelling or swimming just in front of them. What would be fascinating to know whether the owners of such misbehaving boats are breathalyzed. Fatal boating, swimming or diving accidents along our coast are almost a daily occurrence in summer. One small but significant element of this must be aging millionaires taking their last breath on their luxury yachts.

They were supposed to moor the other side of the line of big yellow buoys…

Given that this summer has been rather worryingly dry, forest fires have been a major concern. In fact one reason for going to the beach is that the forests are frequently off limits to walkers. The result of this has been fairly frequent but effective use of the water bombers (“Les Canadairs”) stationed along the coast. And when we were at Lac Sainte Croix a few weeks ago we had good if somewhat distant views of a pair spectacularly diving down the lake to take up water.

Finally, we have had a few small storms, which have been extraordinarily welcome, even if you do have to remember to unplug sensitive electronics before the thunder and lightning begins. As we write this in the middle of the month there seems to be a sense that the temperatures are fading and that we’ve had the last of the heatwaves. But it’s universally agreed that we could do with a lot more rain. Please!

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