Well that's it. I must have recovered from the season. I woke at 7am, raring to get on with the day. At the moment I'm doing all the garden maintenance. So far it's taken two whole afternoons to work my way along half the front of the house. The bignonia and jasmine had reached the roof and were threatening to start infiltrating the tiles. And so, after two trailer loads to the village dump we have completed 1% of the work.
I am aided by my 79 year old mother. Yesterday she went to our doctor for the first time since she moved to Roujan in August. She was running out of medication. I feared we may have a bit of a fight on our hands since she isn't yet registered with the french health system - we're awaiting papers from the UK. However, we had so much evidence, including an e-mailed list from her UK GP that it all went swimmingly. The french quack took her blood pressure and declared it excellent, so my sous-gardener is skipping round like a teenager.
At the moment we have bright blue skies, a gentle breeze and cooler nights. However last week it rained solidly for two whole days. I was thrilled. Not only was it good for the winter vegetables in our potager, our wood-gathering timing was excellent. Each year we use around 8 cubic metres of wood in the fire downstairs in the big kitchen and the wood-burner in our apartment. Our normal log-man said he couldn't deliver until the end of October when I tried to order during last August - by which time it would all have been wet - defeating the object of buying seasoned wood.
A swift schlep through leboncoin.fr led me to a couple of lads who are clearing the dead chestnut and oak from a forest above Pezenes les Mines, anbout a twenty minute drive from us in Roujan. They can't deliver (no lorry could get up the twisting, narrow road into the forest), so Ali and I made repeated trips with our trusty trailer. Now we have a huge pile of luscious logs. We had just stacked the last one and hauled the giant tarpaulin over the top when the first drops of rain fell. I couldn't have been happier. It was much less expensive and far better quality than the stuff we used to have so I'm tickled pink.
Coupled with that, the drive from Le Couvent to Pezenes les Mines is just wonderful. Leaving the flat lands, passing north through Gabian, you climb through hilly chestnut forests behind Faugeres. The views are breathtaking, and as it's chestnut time and the roadsides are strewn with sweet chestnuts one has to stop to collect a bagful. We'd cook them on a roaring fire if only the sun wasn't still making that unthinkable.
I've been slow to get back to blogging after the summer season partly through tiredness but mostly because my two computers have had an attack of fragility. The cat sleeps on my laptop, so, unsurprisingly, it now only works if I put a vice on the left corner. That's not convenient. It's going to cause a riot taking my laptop through customs when we travel too. My main computer had an attack of the vapours too, freezing at will. Its will, not mine. So, fearful of having my computer die before transferring everything we splashed out on a new one.
My gorgeous new iMac has a two terabyte drive and 8 gig of memory so I'm very, very happy. I'm also in love with Mac Migration Assistant which just transferred everything while I got on with the gardening. How cool is that? So now I can wipe the old one and reinstall is afresh ready for our lovely guests to use next summer. I'm sure it will work fine when it has less to do. Like all of us.
OK, onwards and upwards. Now where did I leave my secateurs?