22 September 2008

I Live With A Spider

Just about now, i.e. towards the end of September, our weather changes. We still get warm days, sometimes even hot days but they are now interspersed with rainy days and some of them are even cold! Living on the side of a mountain, some 400 metres above sea level means that we have a micro-climate and often whilst we are suffering rain or mist, we can see the resorts of Nice, Antibes and Cannes in glorious sunshine. Of course, it also means that sometimes when they are having rain they can see Les Courmettes, which is the last vestiges of the Alps, in brilliant sunshine. The main climatic problem though is that all the hot, moist air from the Med just hits the top of the mountain, rises, cools and buckets down on us like it has done since Saturday night. Unfortunately, we left the windows of the cars open and now we have soaking wet carpets in them which will smell for months – c’est la vie! 

The main activity however at this time of year is the annual battle between myself and J over the various things in the house which keep us, sorry her, warm. I refuse to put the electric blanket on before the clocks go back which is a little tradition I have (the blanket comes off when the clocks go forward etc) and I have to try and hide the ultra-thick duvets which J would have on the bed if she could find them. The curtains start to get drawn at night and there are repeated requests to light a fire. Only a week ago she was sunbathing beside the pool and seven days later there are heartfelt pleas to light the fire. It’s not as if it has gone really cold, it’s the subliminal message that if it is raining it must be cold so let’s do it. 

The problem is that once I light the fire, there is a great temptation to light it every night even if it is not cold enough. True, it makes the lounge and hall look very welcoming but I remember last September when we lit it for the first time. Within about 20 minutes we were trying to put it out because the house was getting too warm, the spiders, who love heat, had come out of their little hidy holes and were basking their multiple legs in front of the fire and Shadow was rolling about toasting his tummy. It was just the rain outside which convinced us we were cold.  

The other thing is that I hate being the first house in the area to light the fire. I just feel that all the Frenchies point to the smoke coming out of our chimney and say to their wives, ‘Oh look at zeee Eeeenglish down there. They have leet their fire already. What softies (or whatever the equivalent French term is) they are’. 

And so the battle will go on for another few weeks yet with J surreptitiously switching on the central heating and me equally surreptitiously taking out the fuses although today I made the first concession by getting a summer duvet out of storage for the bed. I have however, also prepared the grate and ash tray for the day when I cannot stand any more nagging (sorry advice) and the fire will be lit much to the delight of J and her friends the poor, wee, cold spiders.

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