It’s officially over. It makes me sad, even though summer 2014 was not a normal Provence summer. Thanks to climate change, we had thunderstorms and cool, cloudy days. Too much wind and rain. The latter had a plus. July and August days are usually hot and sunny with almost no rain. This year we saved both money and time on watering all our flowers and trees. Still, I would have preferred a real summer.
Gone are those long summer nights when we could dine on the balcony by daylight up until 10 p.m. Soon many restaurants will close or drastically shorten their opening times. I am still swimming, but that too will come to an end before long. Tomatoes — those tasty gems I buy from farmers at the markets, will soon disappear and we will left with those tasteless Dutch hothouse tomatoes at supermarkets. Fall and winter are for cosying up with the cats by the fireplace — not as exciting as summer, but not so bad.
In spite of the less-than-perfect weather, we enjoyed some fun times and outings during summer 2014. The following photos are souvenirs of those good times.
Again I tried for the perfect lavender shot. Now that I have had photo lessons from friend and fab photographer George, there’s hope for improvement next year.
We joined fellow Americans for a Fourth of July party sponsored by Democrats Abroad in Avignon.
Then we joined the French for a Bastille Day fete in neighboring Vacheres. The July 14th sardinade (grilled sardines) is an annual event with plenty of wine, music and song – in addition to those petite fish.
On the cultural side, we joined a group from our town for a bus excursion to an outdoor piano concert in La Roque d’Antheron, also an annual event — preceded by a picnic in the park.
And, we went to Avignon for a day at the Festival d’Avignon which features almost 1,000 theatrical performances. The festivities in the streets are more than jolly.
And north to Sisteron for an outdoor concert under the Citadele.
I longed for the mountains, so we drove to a winter ski town that draws hikers and mountain bikers in summer. We rode a chair lift to the heights for an easy trek. Alas, riding a chair lift in summer minus snow and skis is not easy. Getting off I did not jump aside fast enough and was whacked in the back with the chair and knocked to the ground. Painful. We canceled the hike, but enjoyed beautiful scenery on the way home.
Another community meal – paella in our town, Reillanne. We love these events, good food and socializing.
Again this summer we tried our luck at a Vide Grenier (Empty Attic). It’s a flea market, but our hopes of making money on our no-longer-used possessions were dashed. We could not even give things away. There were still treasures in the box labeled “Gratuit” (Free) after the last customers had gone home.
Cannes on the Riviera was our destination for an event sponsored by the American Club of the Riviera – mind-boggling fireworks shot from boats in the harbor. We spent the night in Cannes and enjoyed a visit to the off shore island, Sainte Marquerite, the following day. Gorgeous. On the way home, a quick dip in the Med at Theoule-sur-Mer
Friends Mollie and David put summer to bed with a fabulous garden party.
Summertime is also for enjoying our pool and yard and flowers — and the SPPS (State Park Picnic Shelter). See previous post “Pergola — Or State Park Picnic Shelter?” Aug. 22, 2013. It’s looking better, thanks to the decorative elements painstakingly installed by Bob, and Ben’s suggestion that we we lighten the posts and beams. That made a huge difference. Thank you, Ben. You saved it– and our marriage.
Don’t miss the next post featuring our summer renters. We meet fun and interesting people who rent the guest apartment at Les Rosiers for vacation. And then… a post on Incredible Iceland. If you are not a Tales and Travel follower, sign up now at top right so you don’t miss future tales.
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Summer may be over, but grilling is not. One of my favorites which is always a hit with guests is grilled lamb. See column at top right for recipe.