coping with august

sunflowers in the Allier Valley
sunflowers in the Allier Valley

Although it has not been as consistently hot and dry as last summer, we have had several spells of very high temperatures this year. We’re just coming to the end of what will hopefully be the final week of temperatures in the mid to high 30s centigrade. I know I shouldn’t complain about fine weather, but that sort of heat really does make it very difficult to do anything, especially if it involves working with a hot blow torch!

We have developed a number of strategies to deal with the hot weather, the first of which is to visit a church, cathedral or abbey. They are always cool and dark inside, and many contain interesting and/or creepy artefacts. As a bonus, some also have shady cloisters. Bliss.

We’ve been confining our walks to early morning and evening, when it’s cooler, although we sometimes have to wait until quite late before the temperature drops at night. August is also the season for vide-greniers and brocantes (a sort of cross between an antiques fair and a car boot sale), and it’s been interesting strolling around those in the mornings. I confined my purchases to a couple of strings of vintage beads, but given enough money and space, I could have gone mad with vintage record players, mismatched drinking glasses, old pine furniture, and other assorted bric-a-brac.

Heading to the hills is usually a good idea. It’s often a couple of degrees cooler, and there’s a better chance of catching a breeze. Seeking out some water is another useful strategy. We don’t have access to the sea, but there are plenty of rivers and lakes, and the latter often have little beaches which are used for bathing.


Any and all of the above can be, and frequently are, combined with a cold drink under the shade of a parasol. Or an ice cream, maybe. Well, it’s important to stay hydrated during hot weather.

At home, we keep all doors, shutters, and windows firmly closed during the day, and only open up at night. The best place to be on a hot afternoon is the terrace, which is shaded by trees. Sophie likes to lie on the cool stone and snooze, but I prefer a reclining chair and a good book. And a hat, of course.

It’s nearly September now, so hopefully we’ll soon be seeing some lovely warm, mellow autumn days.


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