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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Weathering the Weather

Well, just two days after I extolled the virtues of weather in France this time of year versus the litany of snow-bearing tempests that have been littering the States, a hurricane blew in Saturday night from the western coast of Spain, heading across to Germany. It left a sufficient wake of destruction due to collapsing sea walls, some of which date back to Napoleon's era, to merit declaring a state of national emergency. The storm, Xynthia, is responsible for a staggering 59 deaths at last count, 49 of those in France.

Being two hours inland here in the Indre, on the border of the Indre-et-Loire, my inconveniences extended merely to a few roof tiles being shattered (and I'm not even sure they were mine; they just landed in front of my garage), my patio umbrella keeling over, and a loss of electricity. The latter rippled into loss of heat, cooking facilities, phone and internet, most of which were fully restored within 36 hours. What remains out of commission is the central heating. My oil company couldn't fix it and suggested I call a plumber. A bilingual neighbor, Edward, on the far side of the village, offered to help although his electric and phones are, at this writing, still out of service. So, unbeknownst to me, he drove over to Mézières to physically catch the plumber at lunch and arranged for a Thursday afternoon repair. People here really are a treasure.

In the meantime, my emergency paraffin/kerosene heater keeps the living area warm as long as the rest of the house is closed off. So Tilly and I will continue to sleep on the sofa, not a huge change for her since she sleeps there half the day anyway. All in all, I'm very fortunate, considering the number of people whose homes were destroyed or are still under water. Just last September, I spent three lovely days on the charming Ile de Re off the coastal town of La Rochelle, a very swank vacation destination. I read yesterday that La Rochelle's main district remains under more than six feet of water.

With that in mind, I'm reminded of Jonathan Swift, who once said, "May you live all the days of your life." I'm off to go do some of that now.

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