Ode to Autumn – with a Fiery Twist

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’   John Keats

Autumn has arrived in the south of France – I know this because the bedroom window had condensation on it this morning.

I love autumn, it’s my favourite month.  I love the way that you can have really sunny, warm days but in the evenings it gets a bit nippy and you can feel cosy indoors, maybe with a log fire.   The best of both worlds.  I have rediscovered the joys of autumn since moving here because the contrast between the seasons is still well defined – as I seem to remember them being when I was a child although, of course, that could just be nostalgia. I was inspired to take my camera with me this morning when I went out with the dogs to see if I could capture that autumnal ‘frisson’.


'Season of mists'

'Season of mists'






'and mellow fruitfulness'

'and mellow fruitfulness'

It’s been very dry here – we’ve hardly had any rain for ages – and the trees are only just starting to turn colour.  However, it’s lovely and crisp in the mornings and the dogs prefer it to the heat of the summer.

German Shepherd Camouflage

German Shepherd Camouflage


Anyway, not satisfied with the autumnal ‘frisson’, my normally ultra sensible husband decided to add a bit more excitement to the day by having a small bonfire and then forgetting about it!  Our garden is huge but most of it is on a 45o angle and, alerted by a panicked neighbour who could see the smoke from her house, we went out to find that sparks had ignited lots of little pockets of tinder dry grass and, even worse, little pockets of tinder dry grass on our neighbours’  land.   Somebody called les pompiers (bless them) and they came and helped us extinguish the smouldering heaps of grass.  Not an easy job, halfway up a small foothill of the Pyrennees.  I will give them lots of extra euros this Christmas when they come round with their calendars.  (I’ll make up for it by giving less to the postman as he is a miserable sod!)

 Anyway, great fun was had by all the spectators who seemed to appear from nowhere considering we only have about 3 near neighbours.  They came in their cars and gave advice on how to put out the fire, without actually doing anything to help, whilst my husband (feeling extremely stupid and guilty, obviously, because I told him he was), and our two daughters who don’t normally move from in front of a computer screen, scaled the hill with water and tried to beat out the smouldering piles with shovels.  My daughters are still recovering, not from smoke inhalation but from exposure to the outside air during the hours of daylight.  

The dogs enjoyed themselves with all the uniformed visitors and long lengths of pipe which looked like they might be fun to play with.

Anyway, we won’t be needing the brushcutter for a little while yet.


Les Pompiers

Les Pompiers

Now, it’s not that I’m ungrateful or anything, and I know they do a wonderful job but this is what passes for posing for a fireman’s calendar in this neck of the woods.  I appreciate that it may well be different in Paris (see comment below)


Also, do you think it’s a coincidence that they came round with their calendars for sale tonight, less than a week after the ‘incident’ in our garden?  I’m sure it’s normally a lot closer to Christmas.

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  1. #1 by ann on October 18, 2009 - 18:34

    Ah, dear Les Pompiers, what a nice bloke and very hunky too if I remember rightly. I used to live not a million miles away from the biggest Fireman’s Place (lack of sleep and too many years in a foreign country mean I have completely fortgotten the word in english) in Paris. Inside this Fireman’s Place – big walls, red engines, bells – there lived beautiful sculpted young males all with a lovely french accent. On hot days they could be seen posing for calendars in their big boots.
    Why can’t the postman look like Les?

  2. #2 by anna on October 19, 2009 - 17:16

    Ooo yes, I do remember last year we had a fine selection of fire men in the kitchen, bringing calendars. We had only been here -in France- for a relatively short time, which can excuse our stupidity, but we accepted the calendar and never gave them any money (we honestly did not know and it was around dinner time… picture crazy kids running around the house…)

    *thankfully I can blame the husband for not realizing, as I was chasing kids* x

  3. #3 by tialys on October 19, 2009 - 21:21

    Well, you two are a lot luckier with your firemen than I am. I’m afraid none of mine were calendar material – or at least they haven’t been for some years now.

  4. #4 by Maia on November 11, 2009 - 19:35

    Oh, the colors, the light, the mists in the low spots…so familiar to me from days of my childhood.

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