We are having a fantastic summer here in Creuse this year. It started in May and is still going strong. August can sometimes be disappointing, but not this year. Next week will see temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius – I think we’ll be using our pool a lot.

After fifteen years in meteorologically monotonous Ireland, moving here has really made us appreciate the changing seasons again. We get hot summers, cold winters, crisp autumns and warm springs. Summer and winter may be a bit extreme at times, it’s true, but at least they’re doing what they should be. No more warm and wet all year round.

The seasons aren’t even here. Winter starts with a wallop on the 1st of November. It lasts until the beginning April, with the occasional spring-like day in February and March. Then spring happens in a tumble. It’s late starting compared with the UK but it happens much quicker. Bulbs leap out of the ground, buds pop out on the trees. The insects buzz back into life. The swallows swoop back from Africa and take over our barns. By the time it’s May, it’s summer. Trees explode into leaf, the flowers erupt into bloom and the vegetables finally steam into action. And so does the grass, so the lawncutting season begins in earnest. Even with our ever-hungry goat Maisy to help, it’s a continuous job to keep on top of the grass.

But summer is wonderful. You forget just how wonderful in the depths of winter. The long, light evenings are fantastic, you can live in t-shirt, shorts and sandals, and it’s so gloriously warm. We’re all as brown as berries and glowing with health. Long may it last!

Summer ends at the same time as September, and autumn takes over. Like spring, it’s very short, really only lasting for October. The trees change colour and lose their leaves within a few dramatically colourful weeks, and suddenly the landscape is bare again. Just like that! The cranes sweep across the sky, heading for the winter sun, and we’re left with winter. Summer seems a long time ago …