It doesn’t seem many weeks ago we were writing about hail, frost and being beset by sundry pestilence. Part of the awesomeness of Burgundy is her capacity to surprise. We guess that’s one of her brilliant beauties. Yet if ever clichés proved to be truisms the dual mantra of ‘all good things come to those who wait’ and ‘patience is a virtue’ definitely apply to this summer.
For summer has most definitely been a ‘late, late show’ or ‘chaud’ (if you’ll indulge the pun) for it most certainly is hot here now in France. It’s most definitely hot in the cities – although this being August (or Août in the lingua franca) every egalitarian Frenchman and woman is at the coast on a crowded beach somewhere. Burgundy is a long way from the sea but it’s equally hot in our ‘coup de la foret’. The wine still flows but so does the ice-cold beer!
These are lazy days on the canals. Even the waters don’t seem to want to part as the prow of Le Papillion noses ever gently forward. The locks open almost begrudgingly in the mid-afternoon heat. The trees droop downwards, the towpaths reflect the heat, birds fly high chasing insects that have been lifted skywards on thermals.
Summer on the Burgundy Canal is all about mornings and evenings. At one end of the day the morning heat haze quickly burning off in the sun. At the other a glass of champagne as the sun-sets and the ‘chauve souris’ (bats) come out to swoop low over the river feasting on the insects – one thing’s for sure, it’s tough being an insect in Burgundy!
We love to see the bats at work – it makes life much more pleasant for humans. Chauve souris is a funny sort of name as literally it means ‘bald mouse’, but this is their time of year to stock up on their body mass ready for the coming hibernation through winter. Summer is no lazy time for them.
All in all life is wonderful. We look at the forecast and hope that summer will linger longer. Currently we’re also looking at the vineyards wondering just what sort of crop our friends the vintners will have to bring home for the vendange following the vicissitudes of spring. Our fingers are crossed as, whist we may live intimately with the water, we are very close to the land.
Some people run away to the circus. We ran away to a circle of life that wrapped us up and captured our imagination. We may not have lions and performing seals but we wouldn’t exchange the ‘batrobatics’ for anything in the world.