This burnt out tractor and baling machine is in a field on the road between Le Grand-Pressigny and Le Petit-Pressigny and has probably been there for some time. I don't know yet what caused the tractor to burn out but I dare say the thing itself produced quite a bit of heat. Frightening for the person driving it I expect.
The heatwave began this time last week, Friday 7th being the hottest day at 39°C, give or take. On the 8th there were a few storm clouds gathering as I took Hugo on one of our favourite walks around the château early in the morning. Even by 8am the temperature was in the mid 20's.
It was 30°C in our bedroom for several nights, despite having our little portable aircon machine going. That makes it hard to sleep and we gradually became more and more exhausted (and crabby) as the days wore on. It wears you down, that kind of heat, if you're not used to it. As the days went by we felt we were in a different kind of lockdown, unable to go anywhere or do anything due to the debilitating heat and were confined to the cool ground floor rooms of our house. Even hanging out some washing was a hugely exhausting task, especially as within minutes it was dry and I was taking it back in again.
One day on our early morning walk I took pictures of various green things ripening around the village. They're a sure sign that the summer is nearing its end, which is sad for us as we only just got here.
I wonder if you can put a name to all of them. The last one is easy.
This grey thing is our late friend Barrie's old car. It was quite new when he died in 2015 but it has barely moved since then. For a while it stood in the tiny driveway next to his front door which was no doubt a nuisance for his neighbours. Having to manoeuvre around a car that's permanently in the way must be annoying. After about four years it appeared in the street just above his house, having been somehow moved out of the way. After another year it now sits, flat tyre and a few scrapes, further up the road and more out of the way.
Every time I look at it as it reminds me of Barrie and what a lovely person he was. I feel sad that he's no longer with us yet happy to have known him. Also baffled why a virtually new car should be simply left unwanted for such a long time.
There is news on the sheltered housing front for my dad.
I was getting nowhere because the council housing dept would not visit him (or presumably any other applicants) to do the assessments necessary to get the process started. The young man at Social Services told me they were waiting for the go ahead from "higher up". So I decided to take the bull by the horns and contact those "higher up" to find out if anything could be done. I wrote to my MP, thinking he would be the person to ask, having his finger on the pulse of government and all that. It took a few letters and a few false starts but hey presto - a phone call was received and the assessment was done this week. Hallelujah!!
My brother sat in on it, all three of them on my dad's rickety dining chairs in the back yard, next to the rubbish bins. It was outside for Covid safety and next to the bins because that's where it was in the shade. We still have no idea if he will be offered a flat at all or when but they are going to view an empty one next week, just so he can see what they are like should he be lucky enough to get one. What a palaver. Still, at least it's a start and there are empty flats available. More than usual apparently.
As for us, well, we are now faced with having to spend two weeks in quarantine when we go back to the UK. So if my dad is offered a flat in the near future and I go back to organise his move, it will take me three weeks instead of the one I anticipated. Two of which will be spent doing nothing while I quarantine.
Then, as the foreign office official advice has once more been changed to "essential travel only" to France it seems unlikely that I will be able to return to France once he's safely installed with the few possessions he wants to take with him. Unless, that is, fetching back your cat and dog (and husband, but I will gloss over that) qualifies as essential travel.
2020 was such a nice, round, promising number but we will not forget it or ever want to revisit it. What a bloody awful year this has been.