Panier of Plenty

August 2016

Welcome to the visual diary for August, highlighting daily life in and around Céret, in the Pyrénées-Orientales…

As a seasoned local (I live here all year round) I now find myself concurring with others that August is our ‘least favourite’ month of the year. It heats up… everything comes to a crescendo, as crowds pour in and we need strategies for finding parking and quiet coastal havens. Many businesses and services shut – the whole month gets ‘written off’ as ‘les vacances’, and anything practical or ‘administrative’ must wait until September commences. Festivals are in full swing… village fêtes and bals, night markets, concerts and spectacular music events. It is busy and requires advanced thinking to navigate (like going to buy vegetables at 8am on Saturday, when the market opens) and is often noisy in the centre of town until the wee hours – there is such a wealth of entertainment to choose from. It also tends to be so hot that a siesta is essential, and even dinner outdoors on the terrace has to wait until sunset. I am certainly not complaining, but contrasting experiences – life is good, and for many people, it is a month to enjoy having family and friends come to stay and to share in the delights of our sun-filled days. There are always surprises and much to smile about… like a clop, clop, clop in the street…

The view from the window...

The view from the window…

7th August. After enjoying meeting old neighbour’s at my village fête, back up in the mountains of Albère, I walked through the forest and found all the familiar places I used to visit, yet this year, the only water lies in a few isolated pools… the river has run dry!

Back in l'Albère

Back in l’Albère

Ashes fell as fires rages out of control, creating incredible skies and enshrouding the town in eerie golden light…

Sunset during fires

Sunset during fires

Harvesting herbs on the terrace…

Harvesting verveine

Drying verveine

Friday 18th August. A drive to ‘Pays Cathar’ in neighbouring Aude. The château Lapradelle-Puilaurens, bathed in the glow of late afternoon light…

The ramparts

The ramparts

Outside the walls

Outside the walls

The dramatic view

The dramatic view

Main courtyard

The peaceful main courtyard

First records mention the château in 958

First records mention the château in 958

The last glance before the descent

The last glance before the descent

Walking along the canal, the wildflowers are scarce as blackberries ripen, for autumn is knocking at the door…

Swimming in the Tech river

Swimming in the Tech river

A funny sight!

A funny sight!

Signs of autumn

Signs of autumn

Bougainvillea thriving

Bougainvillea thriving

I have been driving upriver — the water is deep and fresh — but this week we explored river access nearby, enjoying seeing orchards and vegetable gardens before having a ‘paddle’ in the Tech.

Outskirts of Céret

Outskirts of Céret

Trees laden with apples

Trees laden with apples

Céret 'plage'

Céret ‘plage’

The Côte Vermeille

The Côte Vermeille, 31st August

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