By the middle of September all our visitors had gone and we settled into what turned out to be our own little summer holiday.
The glorious weather just went on and on and on, well into October. The days were warm although there were the tell-tale signs that autumn was just around the corner. For us, coming from a cooler part of the UK, where the weather gets cool and wet in September and doesn’t cheer up until May at the earliest, this seemed to be like an endless summer.
We dusted off the Harleys and took days out for road trips. The weather was perfect, warm enough to enjoy the ride along the beautiful, almost deserted roads, yet not hot enough to feel overheated. I had almost forgotten how much I loved riding my motorcycle and in fact could hardly remember the last time I rode it. We made up for lost time in September.
The only disappointment was to see the garden suffering so badly. With the last of the rainwater in our cube we brought the pots back to life and restored flowers and colour to the garden – but there was nothing we could do for the grass. It was however a small price to pay for having our extended summer. We were having a wonderful time, exactly how we hoped life would be when we first moved in four years ago.
Most evenings we would take a stroll to the nearest hamlet, where the two goats rushed to greet us, ready for their treat of leftover baguette. Hugo was fascinated by them.
We ate outdoors every day, always at lunchtime, but it was the evenings that were really special. We would eat under the shelter, light the candles, and sit for a couple of hours, until well after dark. Once the bats had finished their aerial display we would listen to the crickets, the owls, the foxes and the deer calling. Magical times.
By the beginning of October the hunting season was in full swing. We would hear the guns going off from early morning and had to think more carefully about where we took Hugo for a walk, to make sure we didn’t come across hunters in the forest.
We returned to our old haunts more often, the walk around the château being one of our favourites, with the added bonus of picking up walnuts from the ground along the way.
Pumpkins began to appear as decorations on windowsills in the village. Autumn was definitely here in name but for us it was still summer.
In late October work began again in the fields, the tractors making clouds of dust as they worked the earth, baked dry by months without rain. This seemed to us a sure sign that rain was expected and the endless summer would, inevitably come to an end.
They worked until long after sunset.
With the shortening of the days in October we began to feel the weight of our return to the UK looming. With a combination of sadness and joy we made the most of every minute, eating and working outdoors in the still beautiful weather. I was dreading our return to the land of bad weather, bad manners, bad traffic, noise and litter. Leaving behind the clean grass verges, the easy driving and the peace and quiet. Once the job of tidying up the garden for winter was started, putting away the chairs and tables, we realised that we had spent so much time just enjoying being in our lovely house in this beautiful part of France, that we had almost run out of time to finish the work.
So we hatched a plan………..