At the End of the Day

We are having a quite spectacular spell of weather here, as a result of which every plant in the garden is confused. I have roses in full bloom, fruit trees blossoming, and Chilean potato vines sprouting new growth – replete with trademark white and yellow flowers.

This has been one of the oddest years I can remember: a hot Spring, a chilly early Summer, a very mixed Autumn, and then an Indian Summer heading hotfoot for Winter. But in our petit coin here, the main conversation topic is what does it mean for the wine.

Monbazillac is France’s biggest late-harvest sweet wine, and given the dry warm late October we’ve had, I suppose one could be forgiven for thinking this might be a memorable year.

However, as always the growers are cautious: they had cool when they didn’t want it, and rain when they didn’t need it. Alors…qui sait? On verra.

The evenings, meanwhile, are getting increasingly chilly – and that means the invasion of the rodents is already well under way. They’re being culled by my newly imported mousetrap devices, but even so one can still hear them in the middle of the night, scratching around to find ways in now that their old entrances have been blocked off by the renovation.

In literature, mice are most often depicted as brave and resourceful. In reality, they are a pain in the arse requiring constant vigilance by the householder. Mainly, they are food-fixated and inquisitive – so thus easily killed with traps. But their ability to breed exponentially is such that, unless one catches them before randiness occurs, the house is swarming with mouse-packs and splattered with mouse shit in short order.

The good news is that the unusually warm autumn has produced a glut of late fruit – most notably among the apples produced down here. So you can pick up Golden Delicious and Galas for next to nothing at the moment.

The problem for me in all that is my freezers are already overflowing with the earlier crop. But then, it’s a nice problem to have.