Tuesday 30th October
It has been very sunny, but cold, here. In fact last night the temperature, though a quite respectable 15 or 16 in mid afternoon, fell away spectacularly as night fell. I woke at seven and by eight was out with the dogs. I thought I had spotted a bit of frost on the garage roof, but wasn’t certain. The air was cold, crisp, very still and clear. And down by the river the water meadows were covered with white frost and the river was sending up gentle clouds of steamy water vapour that swirled around in the warm sunlight. It was like a Christmas card sparkling in the gentle morning sunshine.
It was a magical combination, and one seemingly rarer and rarer in England where it never seems to stop raining for long enough for one to witness anything as spectacular as this.
Then as the morning warmed up it turned into another lovely sunny, if not quite warm day. It was market day in Duras, high on the hill, and we wandered among the early morning stalls selling wine and produce and cakes and flowers. As it was still cold we both bought warm hats and then had coffee in a traditional little French bar, full of local farmers and Frenchmen in berets and a woman teaching her young daughter to read, and one or two market traders coming in blowing their hands with the cold. And we felt a real part of the scene, most of the summer tourists long gone, we felt almost French. We came out as the sun was burning off the last of the frost on the fields spread out like a patchwork quilt below us. The day, clear as a bell and bright and sunny, beckoned.