Friday, June 18, 2010

Flaming June

Can't believe this damned weather. Mid June, almost the longest day and it must be the wettest month for ages out here in France. Probably ever. Down south they've had terrible flash floods with cars and people being washed down streets that have suddenly transformed into fast-flowing rivers. Been quite a few deaths apparently. Luckily we haven't had it so bad up here in the Limousin but it's certainly been wet. Had a couple of torrential downpours a few days back. Rained solidly for hours on end. Proper stair-rod stuff. Turned chilly as well. Had to re-light the kitchen stove - in June! But at least we don't get floods up here in the hills. Water gushes off down the valley and drains into that pretty little stream I recently painted. Only it's now a roaring river that's turned brown, burst its banks in places and dragged a whole heap of driftwood off and away.

Er..., when I say we don't get floods up here, it's not strictly true. Every time it seriously rains, our downstairs ends up looking like a lake. Been that way since the workmen installed the hamlet's new water meter system. To do ours, they removed the old internal water meter, drilled a hole through the outside wall and connected us up to the new system via a new external meter. Would have been fine if the connection was above ground level and they'd sealed the hole. But it wasn't. And they didn't. So I guess I'm going to have to go and have a word with the mayor... who doesn't speak English and never really understands my garbled French. Might have to go along with a few photos and diagrams. Ah well, c'est la vie.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


After a week or more of unseasonal drizzle and cloud, the sun finally decided to pop out again last Thursday. Would have taken the opportunity to finish off that 'stream' painting I started a couple of weeks ago but, by late afternoon (when the shadows are exactly right), the clouds had returned. Sunny all day yesterday though so I knocked up a quick Thermos of tea and nipped down the stream. Well, when I say "nipped", I really mean "slogged" - there's a one mile drive followed by a quarter mile march carrying easel over shoulder, painting in one hand and two bags of equipment in t'other. Last time, I took the dogs (have to hold Sprock on lead part of the way - tricky with only two hands, both of which are full), but this time I left them at home. Felt a bit guilty. Anyway, got set up and rattled off a couple of hours' paint sploshing. Stopped just before the valley darkened into shadow. Took a couple of snaps, had a couple of fags and teas, packed up (messy business cleaning a palette), trudged off back to the car, drove home, picked up dogs, drove up Pierrefitte way and had a lovely walk in the evening sun. Eventually got home at about nineish. Great, these long sunny evenings.

A little bit sinister

I'm fascinated by that maroony iris (see previous posting). Especially when it's been raining (happened quite a lot lately). When its petals are heavy with rainwater, it seems to take on a whole new character. Slightly sinister. Perked up a bit now the sun's reappeared. Back to its old chirpy self. Looking a bit battered though.