Britons of a certain age – i.e. old enough to recall Demis Roussos discs and “Fab” lollies – will almost certainly remember the summer of 1976. My own memories of how temperatures in Southampton reached 35.6 °C on the 28th June, the sheer profusion of ladybirds, the drought and how travelling in a car with plastic upholstery was not an especially enjoyable experience. And exactly 43 years after the day, Gallargues-le-Montueux in the department of Gard experienced heat of 45.9C – the highest in French history. According to The Guardian, ‘Warm air is rising across Europe from North Africa, bringing high temperatures right across the continent’. Many schools were closed, and water restrictions were in place.
Fortunately, the Chateau de Bois Giraud is well-ventilated and shady – the ideal place to siesta – and there is always the pool for the more active. The very idea of being in a town or city in such a day is beyond imagination. Obviously, the official guidelines for coping with such temperatures should be adhered to, especially if you have a health condition.
So, forget all about Noel Coward’s observations re. Mad Dogs & Englishmen – I have no intention of venturing forth into the midday sun. My plans for the day chiefly revolve around listening to George Harrison (If I Needed Someone as Here Comes The Sun is far too cliched a choice of song) and of Citroën 2CV vans loaded with Miko ice cream – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bngaj5XqbGc. Actually, said comestibles could arrive via Panhard, Peugeot, Renault or Simca and they would be equally welcome on such a day.
One final memory of 43 years ago; my father skidding his Triumph TR4A to a halt outside of a Little Chef and consuming a Fanta in the manner of John Mills in Ice Cold in Alex. At that time, the very idea of a chateau with a pool in the Loire Valley was the stuff dreams are made of…