Yesterday evening it rained. Real rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, for at least an hour.
The storm came a day earlier than predicted – I was sitting beside the pool with friends, Josie and Tony (who of course had brought supper with them!) watching the advancing black cloud from the north.
It had been an exceptionally hot and stifling day. My taxi driver remarked at 10am that it was already 32 degrees and by the return trip from Montpellier three hours later, it was hovering around 40 degrees.
This is maybe not the hottest summer on record (I seem to remember some days like this in 2003) but surely it must break records as the longest: three months with little more than an hour’s rain in total and day after day of temperatures hitting mid or higher thirties. We haven’t reached August yet but the ground is a scorched brown and trees are taking on a tired look. My silver birches are virtually leafless, hazelnut and cherry trees predictably wilting, and the oleanders have shed all their flowers. And because it is now much hotter at night, the house is no longer recovering its freshness overnight. So – after my obligatory siesta after going to Montpellier, the best place to be is in or beside the water.
This morning there is a lovely freshness to the air (which has a faint smell of damp hay). But not a cloud in the sky, though Meteo France is still insisting we will have storms this afternoon, before returning to non-stop sun.