Friday, 10 September
In times as out of joint as ours, why wouldn't summer wait until September to appear? Certainly August here in the Perche showed scant sign of the season, being cool, often windy or rainy and not everything I cracked it up to be in terms of a quiet respite from the renovation works at our house. In fact, we probably only had about four days of peace. Workers kept showing up (we do not complain!).
But this first week of September and la rentrée for holiday makers and school children, the sun came out resolutely, the wind died down and the temperature rose to 30°C/86°F. The day after the first réunion de chantier, when the architects and artisans expressed confidence that the house will be done by the end of October, there was no one. Not a single worker, thus leading us to wonder how, exactly, they planned to make good on their claim. No matter what they say or who shows up, as a battle-scarred remodeller, I'm predicting a Christmas finale. If I'm wrong, hallelujah.
Anyway, it really did feel like summer. Mornings I sat working on my chaise longue, looking out the window through the gauzy light at the fields and forest, the only sounds a lazy chirp outside or David’s feet upstairs as he poured himself another cup of coffee in our temporary kitchen-dining room. It was pure bliss.
Friends from afar came to visit. Virginie for a couple of nights and Jacqueline for lunch, both linked - though unconnected with one another - to our Berlin life, a past chapter that friendships weave into our present. For the first time all year, we lingered outside after dinner, lit the candles as the sky darkened, watched the stars twinkle. With no intermeddling streetlights, it is a celestial feast.
The lull didn’t last. Patrice and Vincent W came to prepare the organic-in-the-making soil for the winter alfalfa and clover, natural nitrate boosters that will help the farmland get fully certified as bio in two more years.
In another sign of autumn, the days are shrinking. I wake to a dark horizon, the sun only appearing as I set out on my walk with Tasha. A walk that has slowed considerably since the blackberries started ripening. For a long stretch, there is a wall of bushes and I can't help myself stopping and tugging at every plump possibility. Tasha, I have discovered, is a berry fan too.
Pool workers began trickling back to put on the finishing touches. They also turned on the heat, meaning that David has tested the waters too and declared our cathédrale à la natation worth every centime.
Yesterday the diggers, whom we haven't seen in many months, returned.
They will be getting back to the garden (David can relax). Much already overturned earth, covered with weeds and wild flowers during the rainy summer, will be re-churned and displaced these next days; it may soon be a mess again but only temporarily. It's time for the creative part of the destruction to take full shape.
It was a short but very sweet summer. And autumn looks promising.