Saturday 4 June 2011: Summer vines
The vines are growing so fast now that they have to be pruned back, by machine in larger vineyards. This is the greenest the land will be throughout the year, although the vine leaves stay a surprisingly bright green all through the summer because of the deep roots which search out water in the rocky soil. It is said that to make good wine the vines must suffer, and in the dry summers here these vines certainly do suffer. They're not suffering much at the moment, though, because we're having a very unusual amount of rain, some of it torrential.
In the distance, beyond the vines, you can see the wild vegetation of this area on the hill, the garrigue, a mix of evergreen oak, pines, rosemary, thyme, broom (with the yellow flower) and wild olive trees.
Tonight is the village St Jean meal with, usually, a huge fire to follow. For some obscure reason in our village we celebrate this day three weeks earlier than the actual date of 24 June. This is a pagan midsummer festival which has taken on a Christian name. Midsummer? A strange idea as I write this in the middle of a thunderstorm! I should turn the modem off in case it's affected by lightning, but I'm relying on the proximity of our house to the church - not a religious belief, but the church tower does have a lightning conductor! We'll have the meal tonight in the salle des fêtes and there'll be no bonfire.
Last year's fire is here