Early autumn in the Ardèche

Isn’t that the most glorious scene? Rainy damp weather over the mountains.

The endless heat and oppressive crispiness in the garden ended last week with a day of hot northern winds and menacing clouds in the sky. At last.

And from those clouds we didn’t even get a biblical hail or damage. Just that incredible soaking rain. 60mm over two days.

I cleaned the rain gauge in anticipation for this shot.

And from afar everything looks like it has heaved a great sigh and soaked.

Not enough of course. But it helps.

This shot shows you what it feels like to have autumn in August.

Those oaks all over the mountain are just giving up on the year.

One tree that is thriving (hand watering all summer) is the crab apple down on the first terrace. And it is appreciated by me from the house – looking down on the bright red apples. But also admired early this morning by a very large deer.

I spotted it leaning in to the juicy fruit and I can tell you, from nought to sixty, pjs and slippers flapping as I raced outside to scare it off.

I have a double barrier. Ostensibly against the boar. But now I have to add a third set of wire to stop the taller of the deer leaning in and having a munch.

The liquidambar and other crab apple have sailed through.

Dare I show you the state of my shrubs in the soft fruit orchard?

Ugh. And that was two weeks back. I’m sure I have a more graphic one.

Pause for rummaging and peering at teensy tiny pictures on the screen.

No. I offer this instead. One of the many Ardèche single lane bridges.

It doesn’t foster good neighbourly relations as you cannot see if the driver on the other side has set off before you commit.

I waited here quite a while on my way back from the GP.

Now most of you probably have a commute of all of five minutes to pop to the docs. Mine is a 50 minute drive away. But I had the most wonderful early morning drive up the Eyrieux Valley without any traffic and just revelling in the tunnels of huge trees all the way.

Well worth the schlepp.