J’ai Chaud

View of a wheat field near our village with rolls of hay waiting to be used when winter arrives.

Along with America, Provence is now hot. We had a cold May, a cool June, July was warmer with some cool days and, now, August has arrived and brought hot temperatures along with it. I usually don’t mind. Our house is really well insulated and in the mornings we open the sliding glass doors to let in the cool temperatures-it gets into the 60’s at night-turn on a ceiling fan and it is very comfortable until two in the afternoon or so when we close the shutters part way, close the doors and turn on the air conditioning until the sun goes behind a nearby mountain about eight.


Of course there is always something to spoil things. About a week ago we got into our car and the air conditioner was blowing hot air. This being August when most of France is on vacation, we couldn’t get our car into a place to have it looked at for a week. So we used what my son calls “red neck air conditioning” and rolled down the windows. It’s not too bad that way, not miserable, unless the car has been sitting in the sun in a parking lot somewhere, but still. We took the car in finally to a dealership and sat in their unairconditioned waiting room for well over an hour. By then it was almost 100 degrees outside. I could see air conditioning units in various places around the place but they weren’t turning them on. There was a fan that they finally plugged in which helped some and I glugged down a Coke which I haven’t had in years to try and cool down. When I lived in the States I remembered that almost always, when there is a problem with the air conditioner, it is usually the compressor which, in other words, means big bucks to fix. It turned out that this was what was wrong with our car. Did they have the parts needed there? Of course not. Could they find the parts in Aix, Marseilles or even Paris? No. They had to be ordered from the maufacturer in Germany. We were told it was rare to need a compressor which I find hard to believe but, whatever. So now we wait for over a week before we can go back.


At least we can go back home and get in our swimming pool, right? Wrong. We have slowly been loosing tiles and Maurice, in a fit of perfectionism, between company visiting, had to empty the pool so he could reglue to missing tile-the whole surface is covered in these small blue tiles-then regrout and much as he could. His obsession, of course, means work for me as well as I was out there helping with the part where you take a wet sponge and wipe off the excess grout. In the process, I now have scabs on my finger tips. We had to get up at 6 AM two mornings in a row to escape the heat and work six hours or so until the pool felt like an oven. Now he is letting the pool sit for a few days for everything to dry well before refilling it with water.
We are so spoiled with our air conditioned cars and swimming pools. I remember not having it, especially when I think about a trip as a child in an unairconditioned car from New Mexico to Houston, Texas to visit my grandmother. All she had were fans in each room. Our house in our home town must have been very hot too-but I don’t think any place can be as hot as Houston- but I don’t remember it being so.


So I plan to take it easy and stay indoors as much as possible. By the way, when you are hot and want to say so in French always say “J’ai chaud” which means, to me anyway, “I have hot”. Don’t say, “Je suis chaud” which means I am hot in a, well, slutty way. Don’t ask me how I know this.

15 thoughts to “J’ai Chaud”

  1. I think I learnt the difference between “J’ai chaud” and “Je suis chaud(e)” in French class, in the Swedish equivalent of collège. People would say things the wrong way and our French teacher would blush. I learnt that “baiser” is best left a noun the same way, and once someone channelled English and asked for “preservatifs” instead of “conservatifs”.

  2. Hi Linda..good idea to take it easy. 🙂 What a shame about your car and swimming pool, hope your hands recover from grouting!!!!!! Lets hope things get fixed sooner rather than later.

  3. Linda, what a beautiful photo of the wheat field and area near your village. As for getting up at 6am and helping hubby grout/wipe the pool tiles, you are a STAR. Stay cool, Carolyn

  4. New Mexico has been exceedingly hot. My poor garden is parched. Although last night we had a pretty good downpour and they say it will be the same all week….so now along with hot we have muggy.

    I love the photo of the wheat field.

  5. Ah, we are both experiencing mechanical issues. I feel for you, I hate to be without air-conditioning in the car. In the house too, for that matter. The other night we had a storm and it knocked out the power. After a couple of hours in my house, which was becoming hotter by the moment, I gave up and opened the windows so I could sleep. I decided I rather deal with cleaning up rain. Turned out the rain had stopped and there was a marvelous breeze. I slept so well!

    But this morning I nicked the blade on my riding lawn mower. This evening I shall have to play mechanic and, with a bit of luck, replace the darn thing. This should not happen to me, and your air conditioner should not break on you!

    Perhaps sometimes it would be better to be “Je suis chaud” instead of “J’ai chaud” ?

  6. Great photos Linda. Sorry about the car and the pool at the SAME time! Yikes. I was reading down the post and thinking well at least you can hop in the pool. Then I got to the part about the tiles. Hope you get it filled soon.

  7. Great photos. How many remember almost getting to sleep in an unairconditioned house, only to hear the whine of a mosquito; then diving under the covers, no matter how hot??

  8. Isn’t it funny how us ‘older’ ones now wonder how we survived when we were young, what with no air conditioning or central heating you wonder how we mananged. LOL.

    My daughters especially wonder how on earth you could survive without 2 showers a day, hair driers, straighteners, false nails, false-eyelashes, training at gym, tumble driers, automatic washing machines, to name but a few, but we did and all the better for it I say.

  9. hahahhaahaha Linda, Tq for the warning and usage of “Je suis Chaud”. The rolls of hay had always fascinated me. Years ago when I was studying in the UK, I remembered to be so fascinated by these big bundle of round things. I always imagined how fun it is to sit on it and to slide from the top (had never tried to do that tho’). Your photos brought back good memories in the UK. Tq Linda.

  10. Akkk! No AC ! Thats the only thing that makes Fl inhabitable. It was 108 yesterday, which is why my brother, sister in law and myself all stayed inside and napped 🙂

  11. Je suis chaud. Got to remember that one! It is so hot here in Birmingham. HOt and hazy. Hope the pool is finished soon. Love your blog.

  12. Phew! J’ai chaud aussi – no pool but do have a/c working in car and house thank goodness! Hope all will be cooler for you soon – guess August is the wrong month to have anything break in France!

    The fields look beautiful – I love the shore but have to admit in hot weather the country or mountains are more comfortable. If I wasn’t saving up for France I think I’d taken off for the Blue Ridge Mtns. tomorrow!

  13. Everywhere has been hot or so it sounds from the comments you’ve received. Boulder has been the same…until yesterday. The heat wave broke and it was about 70 deg F. Then last night it actually rained a bit. Ironically, we had tickets for an outdoor performance of MacBeth…for the first night of rain in months! But the show went on and nary a drop fell on us as it conveniently finished before show time. Today is cloudy and cool again..what a relief.

    Looking forward to reading what’s been going on with you for the last month. I’ve really missed being in touch.

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  14. Ooooh, poor you. I can feel the heat from here. Oh wait….that’s MY Florida heat I’m feeling. BUT I have my a/c in my studio, house and car.
    Sure hope you cool off there soon! OR at least can use your pool.
    AND I’m praying the Languedoc will be cool for October! I’m longing for COOL air outside.

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