So it's the beginning of August and it's knocking on the door of 30 degrees and we have some guests making good use of the pool and sunbeds, what do we do, both to cool off and make ourselves scarce?
I remember a few years ago coming down to breakfast in a small hotel in the Lot, and breakfast was being served inside in the restaurant. We asked if we could take it outside on to the terrace, which was met with a classic "bof" and a shrug, and I explained that for us a holiday meant eating outside and swimming in rivers. Although the UK experience of my adolescence of swimming in the River Dart in South West England, was always far more of a bracing macho one than any experience in the rivers of Southern France!
A mere 5 minutes from the gite in the car, the River Viaur winds its way down the valley below the village of Bar before it joins the River Aveyron some 10km downstream. We can either park and walk a few hundred metres and join the climbers and their families at the Roc de Gorb, or we can take a small hike and enjoy complete peace and isolation.
A little way along the river and a walk down a steep path through the woods, we arrive at the ruin of a mill whose old barrage creates a perfect pond for swimming. Not much of a beach, but enough for the two of us and the dogs.
And as a bonus just below the barrage there is a huge web of water weed with beautiful little white flowers (Water Crowfoot?), which attract the dancing damselflies desperately looking to mate and lay their eggs. You can just about see them in the photo. The presence of damselflies apparently signifies a clean and unpolluted river.
Meanwhile back on the bank, Tess our 12 year old Tibetan Terrier, who has always shied away from the water has decided to stalk the minnows like Grizzly Bear stalking Salmon.
A really beautiful, relaxing afternoon.
Tough choice for our guests; pool or river?