June was the month we went from temperatures of 46 degrees, the hottest we have experienced in our 10 years here, to giant hailstones that destroyed everything in their path, all within a couple of days.

We didn’t reopen our pilgrim gite after Covid, so it is a rare delight when a pilgrim stops by. Beautiful Caroline appeared at my door, not even knowing that we used to be a pilgrim’s rest, asking for a square of chocolate. I was very busy, but I knew straightaway that it was important to spend some time with this special human. We were soon lying spreadeagled on the grass, beneath the humming tilleul tree, breathing with the bees. Caroline stayed for two nights, beautifying our overgrown garden to express her gratitude for our hospitality. She loved coming to yoga with me, and inspired me to plunge into the Adour river after a particularly hot class. Thank you, Caroline, and Bon Chemin.

Just two days after the very hottest day, there passed a storm of biblical proportions. Up on the hill at Lahitte, we watched lightning dancing inside crazy bulbous cloud formations. There was wind, there was rain. And along a narrow corridor of villages, including Vic-en-Bigorre, there was hail.

Hailstones the size and weight of petanque balls rained down upon houses and cars, smashing through roofs, velux windows and windscreens. The following day, everyone who could, led by the pompiers, was out to help protect houses from the continuing rain. We did what we could to help friends who were away, moving precious belongings out of the rain, and covering cars with blankets to protect against falling tiles. Walking around the town, it was astonishing to see so many smashed car windows and broken tiles, and incredible to believe that no one was hurt. We are now considering revising our insurance policies to cover hail damage.







Filed under: Happy Coulson

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