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Posts Tagged ‘sunflowers’

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A slow drive back from Castres and it feels like summer used to feel–a season fully committed.

Flaming June, going on July, bursting out all over!

The sunflowers are showing thick and healthy on the ground this year.

Green and medium build at the moment but growing fast. I spotted one in flower but shy–just peeping out in the clump.

Rain and sun in equal measures have made them strong.

They’ll be a picture in a couple of weeks just as the Tour de France moves south–days to go before “the off “.

It’s always great to see the TV shots of the pelaton, a multicolored snake strung out along a stretch of road–half hidden behind a field of yellow tops, enjoying their moment of fame.

Garlic gath’rers pass,

 Leaving the scent in the air;

 It’s that time again.

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Men stripped to the waist (as if that’s going to help)–why not wait until the sun retreats? It makes no sense to labour thus in a sweltering 30 degrees.

The workers’ cars compete for shade under the fully-leafed walnut trees, already ladened with green fruit.

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(I shall be ready in early October and on the prowl–but hunting walnuts rather than hares and rabbits.)

The youngsters, Ben and Midnight, lie full length in the shade beneath the fig in the courtyard–their black coats soaking up the heat–just too much effort to move indoors.

Young Midnight jumped from a first floor window into the driveway this morning–startled by a sudden human presence. He hesitated a nano second, Meredith says, then decided there was no alternative and leapt.

Cats can do such leaps, she says, and land on their feet uninjured–and I have to believe it. Nine lives and all that–but just writing about it gives me vertigo.

But there he is under the fig–no worse for wear, more bothered by heat than heights!

I need him in the kitchen. Just spied a tiny mouse sheltering from the heat. He spotted me at the same moment and disappeared into the fireplace.

Not a safe place for mice here! Stay put, Mr. Mouse–there’ll be a quiet time later when you can  move on safely.

Cats generally don’t fly in the dark–though one shouldn’t second guess a cat called Midnight!

* “back in the days”

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Something or someone (hard to believe)–is beheading our sunflowers!

There are–or were–four of them self-seeded in the mint bed at the back outside the kitchen.

They made a pretty picture–yellow on green.

Our bees have been enjoying them too–not so far to fly, more like working from home.

Sharing the bed with mint and sage and a couple of tomato plants–also self-seeded.

Three are GONE–the entire flower face cut off, leaving almost no trace on the ground.

It happened overnight.

One plant is left. Will it survive the night?

Could  it be a cow? Can’t be a dog? Is it a werewolf!?

Certainly a Midnight Rambler.

Who or what is the Mystery Muncher of St Martin?

(Meredith S Holmes proposes to put powder on the wall tiles tonight!)

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Sunflowers are emerging from their tightly bunched heads and their colour yellow announces July.

Wimbledon winds up and the Tour de France  sets out, heading south towards the Tarn, our department.

‘Old Black Socks’ is no longer in the hunt.

Lance Armstrong retired after last year’s tour, this time it could be definitive….

You spotted him by his un-chic black socks and heavy pedalling, and “the focus’.

Doped or not doped [nothing proven]–he was good to watch.

They flashed through Lautrec last year– too fast to catch a glimpse of “Black socks”– buried in the pack [le peloton].

The atmosphere is festive and the anticipation intense–and it’s all over in a trice.

Meredith, miraculously,  caught the yellow jersey’d leader Andy Schleck in the centre of a frame.

They’re coming this way again on the July 13th.

Will the work on the road that bypasses Lautrec be finished? Touch and go!

They pass through the Tarn most years, heading for the Alps or the Pyrenees.

Part of charm of “le Tour” is its easy accessibilty for the public.

We milled around at “le départ” one year in Albi–rubbing shoulders with these world class athletes, about to head off for another 150 kilometres of torture in the pulverizing heat.

On the mountain climbs you fear for the riders’ safety, as the crowd closes in and the passage narrows alarmingly.

Keep back!

“Get out of the way,” I find myself shouting at the TV!

The French regard the Tour as the third greatest sporting event on the planet–after the Olympics and the soccer World Cup–and unlike them, it’s annual.

(Americans have no problem naming their national baseball final–the World Series!)

Certainly as a feat of endurance the Tour is probably without equal.

You’d have to admit that Armstrong, finally hanging up his socks at the age of 38 last year, had–excuse the pun–feet of endurance.

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The television coverage of the Tour is a miracle of coordination. From on high–with helicopters–at ground level on motorbikes, the movement is constant–but at the pace of the riders. Many French people watch it as a way of getting to know their country.

Our friend Deming–an American–says she once took a holiday in a village she’d liked the look of as the Tour passed through!

Look forward to a bird’s eye view of Lautrec on the 13th!

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