>We’re having a wonderfully hot, dry time of it right now. Temps are hovering around the 30 degree mark for much of the time. Yesterday I took J to Nantes airport for her return flight to Gatwick. On the return leg, as I drove through a small local town, the neon display thingy the Frogs love so much, was showing 26 degrees at about 21:00. Not bad for mid-May. I rushed on back home and grabbed a glass of rouge and a garden seat. Then realised that I had still to water most of the garden. So my relaxing, summery evening drink was short-lived but pleasant nonetheless.
It now takes about thirty minutes to water everything, most of which is growing fairly vigorously and well. Save for the lettuces which are now down to two – one good and one, well,…..not nearly so good! Just as well they’re not my favourites, though J does enjoy them so. We have a few (miniscule) flowers beginning to appear on a couple of the Aubergines; a few Peppers have already set; ditto the Chillis (my favourites); and even a small tomato, of a perfectly acceptable girth given how early in the outdoor season it really is.
Our German friend and neighbour in Sweden, Roger, phoned this morning. He has been travelling southern Europe – France, Portugal, Spain etc., – since January. Following a few weeks in his hometown, Chemnitz, recently, he has now returned to his Swedish home in Långvattnet. He arrived back yesterday, following a few days working in Oslo, Norway. He is already grumbling about the quality of Swedish food and its cost; the lack of variety of victuals; the high cost of wine; the rip-off costs of electricity from the truly awful E-on, and the weather!
So, no change there then, I thought. It all just about sums up life in Sweden – a State controlled madness with a frightening lack of basic foods/produce and a blinkered attitude to the single-market, open border commerce, EU, and a refusal to allow its citizens or visitors access to reasonably priced plonk and grub. It has an unacceptable and irrational reluctance to permit access to normal, easily obtainable booze and tucker from other EU/neighbouring countries. Vendors apply small Swedish flags to Svenska produce, and have the absurd menace to then extol its virtues as being ‘Bäst i Varlden’! No need to translate, I’d say. All absolute nonsense, of course. How can they possibly – despite EU subsidies, which they hypocritically grasp with all hands – grow decent fresh veg or fruit when most of the country is under snow and severely temperaturely challenged, for half of every year?
But Swedes are so single-mindedly obsessed with creating an international image of themselves and their country that they have genuinely lost touch with reality. God knows how they cope when travelling abroad and coming face to face with a vast array of good quality, fresh veg and fruit, a range of meats, and booze for sale in ordinary stores!! They must be so shocked!
Anyway, rant over, he also confirmed that temps were about 5 degrees overnight and a bit higher during the day, though there is still snow clinging to the forest tracks and undergrowth. Today it was cloudy and raining, he said. I don’t think he fully appreciated my localised weather, food and wine report! Think he wished he was still in Spain…..
One of the more noticeable aspects of living in this warm region is the evening/night noise. Not agricultural machinery but wildlife – crickets, birds…..and frogs. The frogs make an incredible noise – almost a need for hearing protection, in all probability. And the crickets, are ever chirrupping noisily through the day and well into the night. In Sweden, it’s really the distracting, threatening buzz of the odd wasp or the constant evening menace of the marauding Mozzie that pierces the ears, in every sense of the word!
As dusk fell last night and I retired into the house – reluctantly, perhaps – a lovely moth appeared, banging, crashing and thumping frenziedly at the kitchen window. To my surprise, having expected it to bash itself into oblivion, it was still there this morning when I surfaced at about 09:00: