We’re past the equinox, so it’s downhill all the way till the longest day in December. But we’re still having some wonderful weather – tee-shirts and shorts again. What a climate! However, we’re all too aware what’s in store so we’ve been busily building up our wood supply. Chris is attacking the fallen trees with his chainsaw and the rest of us are carrying logs to the trailer. Then we empty the trailer outside the barn and Chris, and occasionally Benjy, wields the maul and splits the logs. We’re leaving them to dry in the sunshine, while it lasts, and then the wood will be stacked up in one of the stables. We already have quite a good pile there, but we need a lot more.

The autumn has brought the flu with it. It was inevitable I guess once the kids went back to school to cough over each other! Benjy has been off all this week with it, and Caiti’s texts mention yet another friend going home every day. There are plans to close down schools when a certain level of absenteeism is reached and students will have to watch prerecorded TV programmes to stop them having too much fun until normal service is resumed. The vaccination programme beings tomorrow, starting with people at the most risk and health professionals. Next come all over 65s and very young children, then all other kids, and lastly everyone else. Chris and I are at the bottom of the heap!

panoramic towerAutumn has also brought our friends Pat and Roger to their holiday home in France. Yesterday we took them to Toulx Ste Croix and the Pierres Jaumatres, two of our favourite spots. The panoramic tower at Toulx is brilliant. We couldn’t quite see the Puy de Dome this time, but it was still a wonderful view. And we finished off by jumping up and down next to the seismic station at the bottom of it. We just can’t help ourselves I’m afraid!

And the hunting season has started again. The first Sunday began with volleys of shots and the howls of hunting dogs, but it’s quickly quietened down. We’re still seeing plenty of deer on our land, thank goodness. Much as Chris loves venison, we prefer them alive to dead. I’ve also heard owls again, after a long break. Last night I heard three, wonderful. The swallows have gone now, and it won’t belong before the cranes sweep overhead as they head somewhere nice and sunny for winter. Summer is well and truly gone …