Here we are then, the back end of August, gulp. The summer holidays have flown by and the great Rentrée (back to school) is nudging its way to the forefront of every one's minds. The countryside is resembling a washed out watercolour painting. The fields and ditches are tinder dry, the earth cracked and parched whilst the sunflowers are shrivelled and brittle.
And this year it's been a scorcher. Days on end of undiluted hot sunshine, the village shuttered up against the heat with just the sound of the dead leaves now whispering amongst the cobbles and dust. The sound of my own voice bouncing back at me like a needle stuck in the groove of an old gramophone 'close the windows to keep the heat out' 'most shops close between 12-2' and so on, and so forth. And then, WHAM, its almost all over with only the memories of the happy families that have spent their summer holidays here in the Languedoc.
But it has been a terrific summer nevertheless. The Grand Duchess has been privileged to transport beautiful brides (and bridesmaids) and be followed by a long trail of guests blasting on their horns as the newly weds are taken to the reception. People stop and stare and break into wide smiles and wave gaily. We've taken guests to local Domaines to sample the wines, wound our way through the tiny streets of the Medieval village of Fanjeaux, resting at the highest point to survey the whole valley of the Aude laid out before us.
We've met people from all over the world who are enchanted by the history that seeps through this ancient landscape taking snapshots of a completely different life back home with them.
For me however a 'Staycation' beckons, and who on earth invented that absurd word, some smart politicians PR machine urging people to stay at home to boost the flagging economy ?
I'll give it a go, if I must.