Preparations for autumn

Just over the year’s hump and it feels like autumn. Okay, it was 36°C yesterday and virtually everything is still in the garden, but it feels like the end of summer is not far away. Whenever I’m picking plums, it’s like you can feel the year closing in on you. Time to sort out the woodpile, fill the freezer and prepare for whatever the winter gives.

Hopefully, it won’t be as long and as gloomy and wet as last winter. I might as well have been living in Manchester.

Tonight, we have storm warnings again… I’ve had a plum tree collapse during the week, breaking a couple of boughs off other trees, and one of my lovely aspens is leaning dangerously. Hopefully, tonight’s storms won’t be as violent as they were last week. It kind of fills me with a sense of dread, seeing how much damage was done and how many things were destroyed.

Yesterday, I was out in the garden from 7am for a bit of stealth gardening. It’s pointless trying to go past 10am on days where temperatures in the sun hit the mid forties and fifties celsius. It was still too hot at 9pm to take the dogs for a walk, so they had an early morning blast this morning.

It seemed a good idea to take a bit of time off to go to the lakes at Haute Charente yesterday. It really was like a mini-break. 20 minutes up the road and it’s far enough from home to feel like a real break. Plus, they have a beachside bar, which always makes it feel a lot less like home.



The beach was not quite as crowded as you might expect, given the temperatures. Mostly, it seemed to be Dutch and English holidaymakers rather than residents. I guess many residents just take to the pool on a day like that. Mind you, most of the tourists were turning up at 3pm as we were leaving. I had to get to a lesson for 4pm and it seemed like a good time to go. There’s only so much sun I can take in a day! Shame I can’t ration it out!


I need to revisit my time off policy. It’s getting like it was when I worked in schools. You do one fun thing and some people are all “Haven’t you got work to do?”. Guess which clients I won’t be doing more work for! That’s the nice thing about working for myself. I can pick nice clients who understand I work crazily for them as well as other people, and understand that most of the time I’m trying to earn a crust, not out sitting at the beach. I think though that it is time to book some proper time off. I can’t see it happening before October holidays, but I think I am going to have two weeks without any work. No writing. No marking. No teaching. I was kind of looking forward to being able to do some Pinterest Challenges and make some crafty stuff this holiday, and that hasn’t happened yet. I’m praying there is no exam catastrophe like last year and there is no November marking or re-sit marking.

Today, the storm warning is interfering with my Montbron night market plans. I’ve been to the night market for the last three years (can you believe I’ve been here full time for three years now?!) and of those three years, twice it has been blisteringly hot and once it poured down. As you can imagine, the year it poured down really affected the turnout. Let’s hope it’s not the same tonight! It’s a great place to get Christmas gifts, since so many of the gifts in the shops are either ridiculously expensive or pointless or mass-produced. I might have a year where I buy all my gifts from brocantes and car boot sales. I saw a He-Man mask that my brother was made for. He’d love that mask… Whilst there are lots of mass-produced Chinese junk stalls at Montbron, there are a good few artisan stalls with unique and interesting gifts.

Anyway, here’s hoping the rain holds off so I can enjoy another little mini-break!


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