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July 24, 2012

For the first time in the nearly two years that we’ve lived in Wales I can honestly say… it’s hot outside! Granted, I was in Florida from July through October last year, so if the sun DID peep through the clouds I wasn’t here to enjoy it. And the past several months have seen the wettest draught this area has experienced – ever!

We’ve just returned from a glorious 12 days in France. The weather there cooperated, for the most part. But it shifted into high gear whenever we left our hotel to catch the tour bus that was guiding us around the vineyards of Bordeaux. It poured while we walked to the coach. It poured when we returned to the hotel. But in between, as we rolled past the undulating hills of vines and into each château, the sky was that kind of blue only found in France. Heavenly.

We’d left Bayeux on a somewhat sunny morning and turned south to Bordeaux. We were due into our hotel by four in the afternoon and had six hours of highway driving ahead of us. The top was down on the car, the wind coursed through our hair and we opted for toll roads (payage) because, God forbid, we should be late for our first vineyard tour that included dinner hosted by the vigneron (how do you like my newly acquired French? Vigneron – the wine maker!)

The sun shines on the vines of Bordeaux!

That was one of the surprises about Bordeaux… the wine makers at the premier cru estates aren’t the owners. They tend to the planting, maintaining, harvesting and creation of the high-ticket wines, but they don’t own the land. Insurance companies do. Banks do. Corporations far removed from the history of the chateau’s name that is emblazoned on the label own the properties. With one exception the human owner is non-existent.Chateau Margaux remains in the hands of a human. How comforting, considering that a case of any of these grand cru wines runs into the thousands of dollars. I’ll take the chateau where the vigneron is the owner… I like the taste of human attention and sweat in my glass of wine.

But I digress. Back to the heat. We enjoyed buzzing around France with the top to our little car snuggled safely in the trunk and letting the glorious sun pour over our faces. We turned the soundtrack to “A Good Year” onto high volume and sped along with grins on our faces. It WAS a good year!

Returning to Wales, we returned to rain. A week of it. Every day. The grass was soggy. The hill behind our house got weaker. Slugs happily munched our herbs that were straining for a bit of sun outside. Drains gurgled. And no let-up was in sight. Until this past weekend.

The gulf stream that was pouring so heavily down upon us was taking a detour north, leaving our skies clear. Our friends Katie and Ian, vacationing in Cornwall, would have sun-kissed days. The Olympics MAY open under a clear sky. Bradley Wiggins returned home to the UK from his successful win in the Tour de France under sunny skies.

If it only lasts a few days, a week, or maybe even two, I can say that the sun was shining in Wales. And what a wonderful feeling that is!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. essayel permalink
    July 25, 2012 9:58 am

    Glorious, isn’t it? Today is a little cooler and just as well because GYPT are rehearsing Midsummer Night’s Dream in the castle grounds. They are already in shades from brown to jellybean pink.

    Your holiday sounds fantastic. We have promised ourselves to do something similar – caves for him and chateaus for me – now that he has retired. Meantime I’m enjoying the view of the Ysgwrd Fach from the Keep windows. Best office view ever!

  2. September 19, 2012 6:30 pm

    Great! We have had weeks of torrid weather in Italy interspersed with a couple of fierce hailstorms – tragic for the grapes and olives.

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