The plane trees that line the roads and provide much needed shade at the height of the summer are shedding their leaves. Usually they drop their foliage in September so it as matter of much concern when it occurs this early. Madame Bay, being a walking repository of country knowledge, says that this is a bad sign and that the last time this happened was when she was staying with her grandmother in May 1940. In these parts a date replete with unspoken significance. We take this nugget of country insight with a pinch of salt as Madame Bay would have been barely four at the time.
Having said that the weather of late has been wildly changeable. After a blistering morning it clouded over in mid -afternoon and the temperatures fell to the high teens. A perfect time to go out with Wilf in the car for a walk along the river banks. We had barely gone three miles when the road through one of the local villages was completely blocked by a seathing mass of humanity. The local gendarme informed us that it was the ancient feast of St.Noe - the villages patron saint. It seems the feast day is celebrated by chopping down a tree and a processing with it around the village.
Two American couples on a driving tour of France were standing under the village gate seeking protection from the heaving crowd of clog wearing revellers in front of them. The couple from Dubuque had the look of folks who were wondering if there was an earlier flight out . The etched on 'Sure I'm enjoying myself ' grin did little to conceal the worry that another bucket of wine and the increasingly latin public dispalys of affection might spiral out of control into lusty bacchanalia.
On with the televison last night to catch the eleven o'clock news. Instead we found ourselves watching transfixed at the Eurovision Song Contest .The perfect smile inducing end to an eventful day was caused by the appearance of the Icelandic performer -an admittedly younger, but nonetheless a dead ringer, both in looks and dress sense, for our much loved Madame B.
Today Wilf and yours truly shall be outside testing the new paint colour on one of the shutters.