La vie est belle

Today’s sunny Much Love Monday is brought to you by Guadeloupe singer Matt Houston with his appropriately all-over-the-radio song La Vie Est Belle. 

Profitons-en pendant qu’on est là!

The weekend brought huge storms across the region, knocking over caravans, bringing down trees and rattling roofs. I blithely trotted out into the garden on Saturday morning to look for damage, found only a couple of branches lying randomly 20 metres from trees and didn’t really see anything too serious – a fir will need a big branch helping cut off it, and the Indian Bean has lost a branch – but I think I came out of it okay.

Not so, other people. My dad’s village was without electricity for nearly 40 hours. Mme V had several huge oaks topple, fences break and cars almost get crushed. The only people who could profit from that were the very busy tree surgeons who were out in force across the region. A neighbour of my dad’s was awoken – rudely she thought – by chainsaws at half six on Saturday – only to realise that the farmer was dismantling a tree lying across the road. Lucky for me, I was okay here.

I was very sad that a very grand willow at Pont D’Agris had split and toppled. It is looking very forlorn and I’m not sure it’s in any way salvagable. It’s very sad because it’s an old and beautiful tree and I loved seeing it. I’m such a hippy tree hugger. I’m almost as sad as if it had been a person.

We had been planning to go to see the Buzzcocks in Cognac on Friday – a friend and her family went – but the storms were already starting. The Charente Libre posted pictures of the stage the day after, and it looked a bit like the aftermath of punk at its height, not punk at its tail-end.

The newspaper twitter account had all kinds of photos of trees in cars, trees in swimming pools, trees on caravans. I don’t think there were any fatalities, but there were definitely roofs destroyed; I guess this Monday I have Much Love for the fact that there was no one hurt and that the storm has passed.

I was blithely oblivious, Saturday morning, to the fact that a couple of my friends had trees that had come down and caused quite a lot of damage. I could have gone all day without realising how much devastation had been caused at Mme V’s had she not called here just before I left for work. She had no power and hardly anything left on her mobile phone. Later, the mobile tower went as well and she was left without a signal. The insurance company were ready for calls and the lady on the other end was obviously well ready to receive calls, knowing exactly what to put. With four dogs and three puppies, fences down and trees on the verge of falling, I can’t imagine how crazy Saturday morning must have been for her. Luckily, I had power and managed to get a call out for various friends to get their arses round there with various power tools. One guy got a petrol chainsaw out of it, so he was very pleased. Much Love for emergency-ready friends who step up at a moment’s notice. That’s something that you just can’t understand until you really need it. There was a real sense of community here yesterday of everyone around just mucking in to clear trees out of other people’s gardens. I thank the lord I know at least five people with tractors.

I, of course, am prepper-ready, because I’m kind of scared there might be some kind of earth-shattering event. What do they say? We’re only three meals away from looting and rioting? It’s a bit of an obsession. It has its uses. I could probably feed a few people without needing to use anything other than the barbecue or boiled water. I’m used to the gas going, though, so I have four or five meals-worth of stuff that can be rehydrated with just boiled water. Call me a fool, but having a generator is always useful. Today, I will be mostly checking that everything is fully functional. I’m a few steps away from bug-out bags and prepping to get out of here if zombies attack, but Much Love for my obsessive prepping.

The crazy weather this year has left lots of farmers in difficulty. Some had lost crops in the floods. Then lost them again in the cold or hail. And then this. The town of Cognac are asking for it to be declared a natural catastrophe as much damage has been done to the vines. Some farmers I know have now lost their sunflower and corn crops as well. You can see swirls of destruction in the fields. The TGV and TER trains were cancelled out of Bordeaux. Several campsites were evacuated. Still today, there are 25,000 houses without electricity. Hopefully, they will be reconnected and sorted out today.

I’m finishing off my deliveries today and tomorrow, so I’m hoping for cooler temperatures since it was 32°C last week and far too hot. Likewise last July, it was 36°C on my route. Typically English, I complain about cold and wet weather, and then when it is too hot for me as well. Still, hot as it was I have Much Love for my new beautiful route to Brantome and the surrounds. I just need some more guests so I have a reason to have a day out there.

Anyway, hopefully wherever you are, your Monday is a little less crazy than this weekend has been here!

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2 thoughts on “La vie est belle

  1. The weather is certainly less predictable than it used to be. There were also some devastating storms south of us, west of Toronto. There were lots of trees uprooted and power failures. I know what you mean when you say you are “prepper-ready”. We are too here as we are off the grid and heating with wood (with more than a year supply). However, we depend on propane to run the generator when there is not enough sunshine and for the gas stove in summer (in winter we use mostly a wood cooker). Fortunately, the propane tank is big enough to need only one delivery a year. Still, all this would not make much difference if we had real troubles, but you feel conceited when the power goes out (you quickly come back to earth in November when you have to be ever so careful about not using too much electricity since the solar panels produce hardly any).

    1. A lot of my inspiration for living off the grid comes from your side of the Atlantic… I’m not quite so self-sufficient, but it is nice to know that I could cope if I had to spend a few days without electricity!

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