We scanned the weather forecast nervously during the 10 days leading up to our annual fête at Teysseroles, the 15th-century chapel we are helping to restore. The last thing we wanted was to have to put up a marquee, as we were obliged to do in 2013 because the weather was so awful. We needn’t have worried. As we approached last Sunday, the day of the fête, it was clear that it would be dry, sunny and warm. The team breathed a collective sigh of relief.
We were able to accommodate more than 200 people in our alfresco dining room under the trees. This year we had to supplement the shade of the trees with tarpaulins fixed high up, since the former owner of the land had retained the right to cut down some of the trees. Unfortunately, he did so a few months ago. But with the aid of some precarious acrobatics, the tarpaulins were put in place and did a lot to alleviate the effects of the strong June sun.
We get better at organising this fête every year, although there are always things we can improve and we’ll review these at our wash-up meeting later on. But it seemed that the punters enjoyed it and we will have raised several thousand euros towards our goal of renovating the chapel.
And watch this space for some news about what the departmental archaeologists found when they did some test digs at the site a couple of weeks ago. Their visit was compulsory before we can go ahead with any further work.
It could have worked out very differently. This June was one of the better ones we have had in 18 years. Even so, it was marked by a period of intense thunderstorms and torrential rain mid-month. That would have been a disaster if it had continued for the fête.
We devised a subjective weather assessment by which we assign 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 June, there were:
Pluses – 23
Zeros – 5
Minuses – 2
The chart shows the proportion of plus days each June for the past 18 years (the line is the trend). June 2015 is in the top third. Previously, we have had some really dismal Junes, with low temperatures and rain.
Because of the thunder storms, the rainfall was higher than the average this June (77 mm against 60.6 mm on average) but it rained on fewer days than normal (8 instead of about 9).
Total rainfall for the year to date is now slightly higher than the average at 465.5 mm.
However, it has been very dry indeed for the past few weeks and July has started with canicule (defined as a heatwave over 35°C). We had several days last week when the temperature was in the upper thirties (around 100°F). This is when the swimming pool comes into its own and we cool down with a dip just before going to bed.
I’ll leave you with these shots of a swallowtail butterfly on our buddleia bush. They rarely stay still for more than a few seconds and so it took numerous goes to get them, while standing in the full sun.
You might also like:
Fête Accomplie: Journée Festive at Teysseroles
How a French Fête is Run
Seguing into Summer
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are you planning on having services in the chapel that you are restoring?
It’s unlikely that there would ever be regular services again. The church is no longer a parish church and, although the cemetery still serves for burials, and will continue to do so, there are plenty of other churches around here that struggle to be filled. So the aim of the project is more for the restoration of a historic monument. The chapel was once a parish church that covered quite a wide area. Our own house counted in its parish, despite the fact that we are at least 1.5 km away. But things have changed…
We had such a lovely time visiting the church with you.
It seems like yesterday but it will be 3 years ago this fall. I hope you will come again and next time there will be more evidence of progress.