Unwanted Visitors and SW France Weather May 2015

This year's resplendent irises
This year’s resplendent irises

I stepped off the plane at Toulouse on Wednesday evening into a different season. During a brief business visit to London, it was chilly and blustery. Back in SW France, summer had suddenly arrived with temperatures well into the thirties centigrade. Now the lawn has stopped growing, we have to water the plants and the electric blanket is definitely de trop. Qu’il dure!

The unwanted visitors? Not human ones, although we have had a few of those in our time here. These are the insect variety, which proliferate in this warm weather.

I have already been bitten silly by mosquitoes, despite slathering insect repellent all over. They always find the bits I missed. Battalions of ants are invading the house. Big fat flies drone around like cargo planes. And the greenfly are having a field day on my roses. But I’m prepared to put up with them in return for good weather.

Weather in May

Our subjective weather assessment assigns each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In May, there were:

Pluses – 11
Zeros – 17
Minuses – 3

The chart shows the percentage of plus days each May for the past 17 years (the line is the trend).

Proportion of pluses in May over 17 years
Proportion of pluses in May over 17 years

The figures show May to have been the third worst over that period. This was a bit surprising, since we didn’t have the impression that it was that bad. However, although bright and very dry, there was a chilly wind quite a lot of the time. This meant that we didn’t think many days deserved a plus, so the large number of zeros skews the result.

The garden was at its best in May. Because we had a mild winter and a fair amount of rain early on, everything burgeoned and the colours were magnificent. Now, they are already fading and the spring green is not so bright.


In May we had less than two-thirds of the normal rainfall: 53 mm compared to the average of 85 mm. It rained on eight days as opposed to the normal 11.

Rainfall 2015 to date
Rainfall 2015 to date

During the first five months of the year, we would normally expect 400 mm of rain. This year so far we have had 388.5 mm, reflecting the lack of rain in May.

Forthcoming fête

Chapelle de Teysseroles
Chapelle de Teysseroles

Our annual fête at la Chapelle de Teysseroles, the 15th-century chapel we are helping to restore, will take place on Sunday 28th June this year. As ever, we are praying for good weather. Normally, we get it, except for the notorious occasion two years ago when it rained and we had to erect a marquee. So was very interested to see what the weather dicton (saying) had to say for that day:

A la Saint-Fabien, bon foin jaunit bien. On St. Fabien’s Day, ripens well the hay. [A little poetic licence in my translation].

I take this to be a good omen. Look out for more info about the fête soon.

You might also like:

Le Temps des Cerises
Watery Walk – La Vallée de la Bonnette
Gardens and SW France Weather May 2014

Delicate iris bloom
Delicate iris bloom

Copyright © 2015 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved



  1. Me too! I arrived back from a month away in a cold windy and wet England to find my herb garden on the balcony destroyed and park in front of the house parched brown. The storm we enjoyed yesterday afternoon was certainly ENJOYED 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s amazing how quickly everything dries up. A week ago our lawn was green. Now parts of it are brown. And the storm passed us by with only a few rumbles and spots of rain. But the forecast is for it to continue unsettled with thunder, so I expect we shall have some rain.


  2. Your post rings bells with in the insect department. I am entering my period of seasonal lament against the absence of screens on our windows. Flies, skeeters….this year seems to be the year of the spider as we have cobwebs everywhere. It’s lovely to enjoy the weather and garden at this time of year but the bugs – ack!


  3. What a great project, your chappelle restoration! Is this something you’ve learned how to do under the guidance of someone who is experienced at historical building restoration? How wonderful to be able to participate in something like that.

    We have few spare little in the way of stone historical buildings here, but in order to touch what we have, we’d have to be eminently credentialed, interviewed and background-searched according to some arbitrary human resource department, locked into a contractual agreement with a sueable corporation, and stuck under a patron who prescribed every move of the finger0)).


    • The chapel is a historic monument and, French bureaucracy being what it is, there are all sorts of rules and regulations surrounding its restoration. The volunteers are only allowed to do certain things and not touch the structure at all. We have planning permission but the work will have to be carried out under the guidance of a specialist architect with specialist builders, all that under the overall supervision of Batiments de France, who oversee historic monuments. And before the work can start properly the archaeologists have to do some test probes. So it’s a long and very regulated process. So when I said ‘helping to restore’, that was probably a bit misleading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry, Vanessa, I didn’t mean to put you on the spot! I was hoping that there was someplace left on the planet where there weren’t such stringent rules and people could just help. Was reading a post on Chartres Cathedral and how people came from all over France to help and wondering if that could ever happen these days. That sounds like a wonderful thing to be involved in and no, I don’t think it was misleading at all. I’ll look forward to hearing about the progress.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No, don’t worry, I didn’t experience your comment like that. We’d really like to proceed much faster but are hidebound by the bureaucracy. Having said that, it’s important that we don’t unwittingly destroy important artifacts or archaeological remains, so I can live with the rules. And there is a lot that our association of volunteers can do: we keep the cemetery tidy, rebuild the wall around it, organise a fête every June to raise money. There’s never a dull moment! And I’ll certainly keep posting on progress.

          Liked by 1 person

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