Autumn, l’automne, has got off to a cracking start in Creuse. Rors and I had a quick skinny dip in the pool on the 21st. The temperature was a bracing 20 degrees, but I managed 30 lengths before my fingers turned a worrying shade of post-mortem white!
Chris and I continue our hedgerow-pillaging bike rides. We’re adding apples and pears to the ever growing mountain of walnuts now. I’m going to start photographing all the different varieties of apple we come across and try and identify them. We must be gathering at least a dozen different sorts, possibly more. Some of them are absolutely delicious, and all of them are old. No one plants fruit trees along the roadside any more.
I’ve found a few French autumn sayings, but be warned, they’re rather grisly on the whole. Clearly autumn in the past was a worrying time, with winter round the corner and the threat of illness lurking.
1. Autumne en fleurs, hiver plein de rigeur. An autumn with lots of flowers means a tough winter ahead.
This one’s not too bad, but it’s a bad omen for this year since it’s very flowery at the moment. Our roses are having a third flush, as is the wisteria and clematis, and people’s gardens are full of blooms. Our wild fields are a sea of pink and yellow at the moment. We’d better chop more wood …
2. Chaleur de l’automne pique fort – Et cause à bien des gens la mort. Autumn warmth can be oppressive and certainly causes deaths.
We’ve got temperatures of up to 27 degrees forecast for next week. Oh dear.
3. Fièvre qui vient pendant l’automne – Est bien longue ou la mort donne. Fevers that come in autumn either last a long term or kill you.
Oh dear again. We’ve all got colds at the moment …
4. L’ hirondelle en septembre abandonne – Le ciel refroidi de l’automne. When the swallow flies away in September, autumn will be very cold.
Our swallows have already gone. Some visiting ones stopped by the other day, but they’ve gone too now. So – we’re going to freeze.
5. L’ hiver mange le printemps, l’été, l’automne. Winter eats spring, summer and autumn.
I suppose this means that during winter you eat all the supplies you’ve laid down during the rest of the year. We never seem to get through all our pumpkin though …
6. Septembre se nomme, – Le mai de l’automne. September is called May of autumn.
This is a nice one – for a change – and very true for this year. We’re back in teeshirts and sandals.
So all the signs are for a chilly, sneezy winter. But let’s be positive. It’s not here yet. Time to enjoy the nice autumn weather first, while we still can.