Sunday, 9 September 2018

First summer


The temperature is still summer-warm but there are signs that autumn is keen to make an appearance. The heat is more gentle and there is a softness in the air. Morning dog walks are cooler, one morning last week we woke to 6 degrees. Some of the leaves are turning yellow and the fruit of the wild apples are tumbling to the ground. The shutters of the French holiday homes are now firmly shut as families shuffle back to Paris and points north.

Our first summer in Corrèze has been wonderful, if not a juggling act. A social life we had certainly not expected for our few months here (it even included our first French wedding), an amazing amount of events to attend and still trying to hang on to our restoration schedule.


After the bitter cold winter it was lovely to see the countryside come to life. Mortimer loved his walks, wild flowers blossomed and the village flower seems to be the hydrangea. We fell in love with the gentle Limousin cows and discovering the beautiful scenery.


Music plays an important part of Corrèze life. The 'Nuits de Nacre' festival in Tulle was a revelation and we are certainly going to return for that one next year. We were enchanted by Duo Lyria, a harp and flute duo who gave a concert in our church. Chapitre V energised us with their ethno-rock vibe, played in our medieval square. All of these were free and well attended by residents and visitors alike.


As expected food played an important part in the summer and we only managed to scratch the surface of the food festivals: strawberries, raspberries and myrtilles. There was the bread fête and a honey fête. We missed the celebration of bleu d'Auvergne cheese but have the mushroom one to look forward to. Our village had regular evening 'marché du pays' in the church square. Tables and chairs laid out so you could eat what you had just purchased and spend an evening with friends. Local markets doubled in size and if I have choose just one food memory of the summer it will be the drippingly good peaches, we quickly realised they could only be eaten with a paper napkin to hand.


Saturday night aperos went on to late in the night, the swifts giving way to the bats, but still an early start on Sunday to search out bargains at a vide-grenier. We made new friends as French summer visitors reclaimed ancestral homes, many intrigued by the new English couple who have chosen to make Corrèze town their home. In the telling of their histories our understanding of French has improved, we still have a long way to go but the patience of people has been much appreciated.

Is there one image that sums up our first summer here? Yes, Mortimer standing in the cool river Corrèze at the end of each day, eyes closed, letting the water flow over his hot paws.




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