The heatwave has broken, but

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far for us, with temperatures of 42°C. Our bananas slow-cooked on their hook.

In addition our tram lines, C and D, are closed down for repairs. The company is providing a bus de substitution. There is no more terrifying term in the Bordeaux glossary.

However I had an errand at the bank to run, so I took my courage in both hands and went to court disaster on the bus de sub.

And disaster it proved to be. The bus arrived, stuffed with people and I found a small spot to insinuate myself into. A sturdy lady next to me was burdened like pilgrim. After a while I dared to say to her, Madame, si vous baissez le sac-a-dos ça va libérer de la place. Thankfully she agreed and laid her burden at her feet.

We lurched slowly along through the morning traffic like terracotta skittles ranked in the kiln to fire. At each stop more people insisted their way into the bus until we got about two-thirds of the way to the bank, where the poor doors of the bus, after much fighting with the big and bold of Bordeaux to shut, finally threw in the towel. The bus doors refused to even attempt to close and so the bus refused to move.

After a couple of minutes' wait I decided to descend from the bus and hoof it to the bank, carefully choosing my route through the shadiest streets. I fulfilled my errand and planned a different way home, but ended up taking a much emptier and swifter bus de sub. It's helpful to know where the stops are.

Some friends from the church had told us of this new restaurant. Their report of it was glowing - it's a gastronomic restaurant (this means clever food), and the lunch menu is just about affordable (many restaurants in Bordeaux are way out of our league), "and it's air-conditioned!" they said.

Well that was enough for me. I reflected and decided to book for lunch there on the hottest day of the year so far. The service was classic and excellent, the food was beautiful, delectable and surprising, the price was really reasonable considering what you were getting, but their internet wasn't working (the heat?) so I had to scuttle out and find a bank machine while "leaving Pat hostage" (my little joke). The poor things were going to have a difficult day; we have all been trained now to pay for everything by card.

Pat then had a dentist's appointment at the air-conditioned surgery at 3, and so we got through the day. Our top tip is to do some washing and hang it in the living room to dry.

At 1:30 am I was woken by the beeping of the fan. We have a fan in our bedroom which is specially quiet so you can sleep, and also came with a remote control. This latter is a bad thing, because it means that at night from your bed you can fiddle with the settings to try and get it at just the right speed, every minuscule adjustment accompanied by a loud beep, so you can't sleep after all. Anyway, this is how we discovered that the wind had changed because our apartment was now full of the smell of wood fires. I popped outside on to the balcony to be sure all was well, but yes, this is the woodsmoke from the forest fires to the south and west of us.

Today will be much cooler, but smokier. We're no longer sardines but kippers. We're longing for rain, for a good old thunderstorm.


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