The guests have all gone home, the rooms are cleaned for winter, the cooling fans await their winter home in the loft, but the pool's still swimmable. Yesterday was our first day without guests for five months and I felt truly ill after a rather-too-long lie-in.
However, today has been magical. I woke at 6.19 am, just as I have all summer - one minute before the alarm, although it is now turned off. I felt fit as a fiddle and zipped off to the market in Clermont l'Herault. My basket crammed with plants, 20 Christmas cauliflower, 2 basil, 15 oak leaf lettuce, 3 celery, along with finely cut jambon sec, a paillasse loaf, tiny coffee meringues, yellow courgettes, five different types of tomatoes, leeks, french beans, pork loin and the crowning glory - huge cep mushrooms from the hills in Lozere, I was home again by 10am.
I'd be very happy to spend this winter gardening, so this afternoon found me planting all that I'd bought this morning. The potager has been easy to prepare this autumn, thanks to a fantastic attachment made by Wolf tools. It hoes and breaks up the soil to a fine tilth like nothing I've ever used before. God knows what it'd be like in wetter, heavier soils, but here, in the dry, fast draining bauxite of our vineyard it is brilliant.
The potager is so packed with winter vegetables that I've started filling up the extra space with Australian everlasting flowers. I have no idea how they'll do, but we'll see.