Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Saignant or Well Cooked

I said I would explain a little about the micro climate that provides Montpellier with circa 300 days of sunshine per year, yes I know how sickening is that when currently in the UK there is flooding and wide scale rain showers. Last weekend there was cloud coverage all over France apart from Montpellier why?? Not really sure and in all honesty I don't think anyone else really knows the real reason. It may have something to do with the fact that to the north lies the foothills of the Massive Central, what we call the Cevennes. This provides a protective 1500m mountain curtain which locks in the clear Mediterranean blue skies. Most of the southern coastline of France has a similar characteristic which is thin band of land coming from the sea and climbing steeply around the Cote d'Azure to the Alps/Dolomites and as you work your way west the band of land becomes wider and the mountains are replaced by Massive of the Cevennes leading into the Pyrenees towards the Spanish border.

Last year was a real struggle in the summer, well I suppose it started around march time really and lasted though until the end of September. Le canicule or heat-wave that seemed to go on and on and on. Numerous people died in all over France and Europe and day to day activities here are most definitely more challenging in 45º temperatures. It's common to have more than 40º so people just struggle through but having been coming here for over 12 years the climate certainly seems to have become hotter combined with a certain dryness which really cuts the throat when you're doing anything that requires physical exertion.

I've become used to perspiration or should I rephrase that and say the glow factor. If I turn to say hi to someone as I'm walking along I know I will glow some more. Air con in your car is a necessity and comes as standard in most new cars - it's certainly more tolerable being in a car than meandering along by foot. If you drive with the car window down and your elbow out of the car window be warned... The sun is relentless and the burn is agonising but of course you don't realise it at the time because the wind cools the skin and the result only becomes apparent when you stop!!

I think this year we may install air-conditioning in our house due to the fact that sleeping is far from easy with super high temperatures. But that's on my jobs to do list so I will keep you posted on that one. I mention it because it certainly better to have it than to be without it. Lack of sleep most definitely screws everyone's working day or just doing what you want to do.

I'm not a big fan of the summer here due to the heat and the numbers of tourists. On the flip side - outside of the peak season it certainly is a great place to be. I've never surfed barefoot in the UK on Christmas day or kite-surfed in January in 20 degrees looking at the snow on the peaks of the Cevenne to the north. I like my steak saignant - which is less than medium but more than rare and in these temperatures the juices of the meat certainly help with hydration.

PS - I've just been wondering to myself, is anyone reading this blog? If so let me know what you think.