It’s 29 degrees today so I think we definitely say summer is here. The pigs are lying in mud wallows, the llamas are hiding from the sun in the woodshed and the poultry are stretched out in the shade, with their wings extended to cool down.

But I already knew it was summer. today I took the youngest two into infamous Guéret, Creuse’s principle town, for an exciting session of food and clothes shopping (they will keep growing) and the summer sales had started. Which was good and bad. Good in that we’ve saved a few euros and bad in that the place was heaving. The soldes will go on until 31st July, so anyone planning on buying me a pressie for my 50th (shudder) on 1st August will get a bargain. And then of course the shops will fill up with rentrée (return to school) related items until the beginning of term. Both kids had strops at various times – eye roll and big sigh – so shopping was its usual stressful self! But I got a swimming cossie, my first new one since pre-Ruadhri, and at half price. My ancient Maru black one is indestructable. I’ve had it at least twelve years and OK, it now resembles a sack since the active lycra elements in it have long since given up the ghost, but despite spending hundreds of hours in chlorinated water in two countries, it’s still structurally sound. But I’m sick of it. So I now have a fancy Arena racing back cossie in tasteful shades of grey. I even splashed out on new goggles and a hat too.

Here is the enormous instruction leaflet that came with the goggles. The directions on use are given in 21 different languages! Slightly OTT I think. A couple of diagrams would have done the job!

Outside the sports shop, which is next to an organic veggie shop, there were several grannies cooking gently in cars while younger earnest relatives bought healthy greens. Every year there are ads on telly warning you not to leave your pets in cars on hot days. No such worries about elderly relatives evidently. I can never understand this thing about leaving family members of whatever age in the car while you pop in to get some shopping. Why bring them in the first place? Especially when it’s hot.

Another summer sign is Ruadhri’s school trip. That was yesterday. The kids went to – wait for it – Guéret for the day. Very disappointing on teacher’s part and Ruadhri, an enthusiastic, easily pleased sort of kid was decidedly underwhelmed. They did mountain biking (someone fell off so they had to call the urgences which bought that activity to a premature end), walking and picnicking in the Chabrière woods, which is where the wolf park is. Luckily lupines and humans were on opposite sides of the wolf park fencing. They then hit the museum with its two-headed lamb and six-legged pig for a visit and then a glass window making session, but with plastic. Then they came home on the train. That is quite a feat since there are so few trains these days! Anyway, it was a day out of the classroom. But Beauval would have been way better, especially with the pandas now in residence.

The last summer thing is that the veggies and pigs need regular watering, so time to fill the watering cans again …

Enjoy your summer!