But in planning this Post I was going to mention that this is the first Summer since the start of the pandemic that the community fetes have started up again, and the music evenings held by the wine domains - and in Albi there are evening concerts around the city. It is a good feeling that these are being held once again …. and people’s enthusiasm is plain to see:
However, the last couple of weeks have seen regulations preventing restaurants opening their terraces - so, just as sections of the tourism industry are free of COVID constraints, they are having to cope with other forms of limitations on their business. And when temperatures do rise this high, tourists tend to limit sightseeing and travelling around. But it has been interesting to see how ingeneous some of the businesses can be - with arranging shade, changing opening hours and adjusting menus.
Back to the drought and agriculture: while the vineyards may be ‘hanging on’ at the moment, it is a tough call for vegetable and fruit growers. Many of the farms have their own ponds and irrigation systems, but these are starting to dry up and there are signs that even watering is not enough to prevent scorching when temperatures are this high for so many hours of the day; and even if there is some rain, it may be too late for certain crops:
As we have mentioned in other Posts, we are fortunate to have a well that rarely runs dry. The other day our immediate neighbour explained that there is a good water-source running under the ground (he referred to it as ‘a river’!) and each house in the commune has its own well - and ours is particularly deep (when we sank a new pump into it, we had to lower the pump some 20 metres, so we can vouch for that). So, at the moment our well has not run dry and the flow is good:
The big pond still has plenty of water, as it is deep (3 metres) - but of course the level is reducing quite fast now - the frogs are still there, and plenty of ‘pond life’ and in the early morning and evening we see the big carp swishing along the edges, hoovering up vegetation and insects.
Many of our shrubs and large grasses are now really feeling the drought - but they tend to prove remarkably resilient and, unless this carries on for a substantially longer period, they do recover. Some of the shrubs and small trees are, remarkably, managing to produce some lovely flowers:
But it is the wisteria that continues to amaze us - it just takes no notice of the weather conditions and does not get watered …. and yet it has not stopped flowering since May. I have come to the conclusion that there is a ruthless quality about wisteria. In my ignorance (and I have plenty) I had thought of wisteria as ‘delicate’, when it is no such thing - it is merciless, just carrying on growing, its tendrils throttling drought-stricken nearby plants and bushes and if it were not continually pruned would, I am sure, simply envelop the house and then the whole garden. It’s pretty though, which has always been its excuse:
So, who knows what the next month will bring - some rain we hope ….. not great storms and torrential rain, but some good, pervasive rain a few times each week - preferably falling during the night!
We will let less time elapse before the next Blog Post and in the meantime if you are reading this (and even if you are not), we wish you and yours peace and safety.