A House in Provence Chapter 7

This was written last summer.


As is usual for Provence, it has been a dry summer. It hasn’t been that hot especially compared to the summer we experienced last year. In fact, it has been rather cool. Every morning we get up to very nice cool weather and by the afternoon it is is very warm, usually in the 80’s. It has been unusually windy according to our neighbors. It seems like every afternoon we get gusty winds, sometimes very strong.
I have only been in our swimming pool one time. I like the water pretty toasty, close to 90 actually. I don’t want it to be a shock when I get in the water. I got in once up to my waist and that is where I stayed. With the wind blowing there was a real evaporative cooling effect and I am just a chicken when it comes to getting too cool. Maurice is really upset that I haven’t joined him every afternoon. I used to be a real pool person, in it all the time, but between sunburn, my hair and the temperature, I have become a pool side person.
So, with the dry summer has come fire danger. One day I spotted smoke quite near to our house and the next day when we drove by the area, there was a black circle about 30 feet in circumference. I never found out the source of the fire. It isn’t unusual to see smoke in the area and we often see helicopters and planes flying over our house on the outlook for fires or on their way to dump water somewhere. I’m hoping we never have to evacuate our house when a fire comes too close.
I spent some days wishing for rain as the grass we planted is really looking sick. I hate grass. I hate watering it, weeding it, and mowing it. It seems to be really high maintenance to me and I hate to see it in areas such as here in Provence where it isn’t suited in my opinion. Anyway, I got over-ruled as it was felt that we needed a little variety from just gravel. At some point down the road most of the grass will get covered with paving stones but we have to wait at least one year for the soil to settle possibly two or three.
Finally, I got what I wished for. I was awakened one night about one in the morning by very heavy rain and hail. I even got up to check the windows as I thought one might get broken. It didn’t last long but the next morning I walked outside and there was a lake outside our house in an area which still hasn’t been filled in due to the August vacation thing, and two really nice rectangular pots I have filled with pink periwinkles were left without one flower. The rain/wind/hail took off every single one. Around the pool several sections of land had sunk quite a bit making me glad that we hadn’t done more than the grass.
Our neighbor had it much worse. I could hear him shoveling up above us in his yard and we went up to help and what a huge mess it was. There is something wrong with the drain above him which is right below our little village and all of the water from the village came down into his yard. His pool was black with mud, things were floating everywhere, mud covered every surface in his yard.. We helped shovel mud for several hours. It will take them days to get it looking even half way decent. Throughout the day neighbors came to help. Their filter was in this little underground plastic unit and was totally filled with mud and water. The dirt here, when it gets wet, becomes like cement so I know if they don’t get it out quickly, it will be filled with hard mud.
I went with trepidation to go and look at my steps expecting the rocks to be everywhere but it held. Only one rock had moved and dirt had been washed away in one place and that was it. I’m very proud of myself.

Street market in Aix