17 June 2010

Rain, Rain and More Rain

We play silly little games in our house. The first one starts around 6.30am when the kids’ shower goes on. I keep absolutely still and my eyes shut, for if I move or even flicker my eyelids my missus will know, I’ll be nudged and I’ll have to get up and drive the kids down to the school bus stop. On the other hand, if I’m successful at playing ‘possum’ then J will get up and do the school run.
But, if I’ve been unlucky enough to have done the school run and I crawl back into bed, there’s another nudge and the usual mumbling of ‘cup of tea – cup of tea.’ Even if I play ‘dead’ a second time, J will know that I don’t go back to sleep that quickly and will continue to demand a cup of tea until I get up again.

Usually, my view is that it’s better for me to get up and do these things as J is not the sharpest tool in the toolbox in the mornings. Take Wednesday – I did the school run but managed to get back into bed before she could utter the demand for a ‘cup of tea – cup of tea.’ Sometime later, I was astonished to find a cup of tea at my bedside. I reached out and blindly tried to find the handle of the cup. Nope – turn the cup around a bit more. Handle ? Nope. I opened my eyes and yes it was a tea cup, the familiar but a bit poncy Port Merion design. I turned the cup around 360 degrees – handle ? Nope. She’d only gone and served my tea in the sugar bowl which is exactly the same size as a cup but without a handle!
But then I switched on the news. We’d had heavy, actually, very heavy rain for the last 36 hours – probably about 4 inches according to the levels in the pools but the news was saying that the next Department to the west, The Var (see map), had had something like 14 inches of rain in 24 hours. There had been heavy flooding and 11 people had died, swept away by flash floods.
The weather this year has been appalling. OK, we had a mildish winter with only 2 days of hard frost and only 1 day of snow – but what snow – about 8 inches in a few hours. But the summer so far has been cool and wet. Strangely, it was on Monday that I decided that since we’d had no rain for over a week I’d better water the plants which is a sure sign that it will rain within the next 24 hours, forecast or no forecast of rain.
And sure enough it did rain. And it rained and rained, morning, noon and night. But luckily as we’re on the side of a mountain we don’t see too many signs of the water. It runs down the roads and paths, eventually working its way down into the River Loup a couple of miles away.
The VAR however is a different matter. Quite flat near the coast, it has extremes of weather all year round. Very windy in the winter and extremely hot in the summer, it obviously also gets lots of rain all year round, as yesterday’s floods testify.
I sometimes jokingly say to the kids that we’re lucky we’re over 350 metres higher than the coast and that years from now we might not need a pool as the coastline will be at the bottom of the garden, all due to global warming. They laugh, but it might not be so far fetched – the weather here has definitely changed quite significantly in the 10 years I’ve been here with extremes of hot and cold and rain. Unfortunately for those in the Var, we had one of those extremes yesterday.

PS - and as I post this blog on Thursday morning, torrential rain is falling again.

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