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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Winter Winds

Winter continues to rear its ugly head; record cold temperatures are appearing all across France and Europe.  Being from Chicago, I am used to cold winters, but winter here is not just about cold temperatures, but the wind.  The wind here is notorious.  It whips at hurricane speeds, rattles windows, and knocks down everything in its path.  As Christophe says, “If it’s not build with the wind in mind, it will just break.”  And he’s right.  I’ve seen fences blown over and clay tiles ripped away from rooftops.  It brings blowing snow from 40 miles away, and is a topic of discussion that bring contempt and frustration.
            But oddly enough, for those who grew up with it, there is an affection for the wind.  In Languedoc, the south east region of France, the wind coming from the North-Northwest is called La Tramontane, which is said to blow in cycles of three; 3 days, 6 days, or 9 days.  The wreckage a storm leaves is consequential, but natives cannot imagine living without this metrological force.
            About ten years ago, a study was done to install windmills on the crest that surrounds the village.  It only seemed logical to harvest this force as a renewable energy source. After numerous failed attempts to correctly measure the wind’s speed, the project was eventually abandoned because the winds were too strong.  The last recorded wind speed was 112 mph, before the machine snapped in two.  But this force has been known for centuries; the village, which was built in the Middle Ages, has neither a door nor a window facing the wind.
The winds are often at their most violent during winter.  So, once again, I’ll hunker down in front of the chimney until it passes and think about those dreary Chicago winters with nostalgia.

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