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Snow capped Pyrénées on the road from Trie-sur-Baïse to Libaros, 8 May 2012.

Hot, hot, hot today. Summer has made another appearance this year – finally! We’ve gone from a chilly 50’s°F /10’s°C and very rainy April to a sizzling 85°F/30’s°C during this 1st week of May. It’s an understatement to say how much a relief it feels to be able to shed layers of clothing, strip off to shorts, tank tops and bare feet. I love being able to walk barefoot in freshly cut, cool grass. Utter bliss.

A warm and sunny late February and March had us all fooled that summer had arrived early after one of the most bitter, coldest winters in over a 100 years of record-keeping. Mother-Nature then teased us with 5 weeks of semi-tropical weather. Yet, she proved very cruel by delivering one of the wettest April’s in history. That month also broke the weather record books.

Steve loves everything about rain. He loves the sound of rain dropping, the smell, the moisture, the coolness. So English, don’t ya think? Whereas I’m more like a cat or a lizard. I love the sun and hot, hot, hot, dry heat. Maybe that’s why I’ve always felt so at home in southern Arizona. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if we should have bought a 2nd home there, instead of SW France. But that, my friends is another story to muse about for another time.

Mystery flowers blooming along the gate.

For now, no complaints. The sun is shining hot and brightly here in the Hautes-Pyrénées this week. Heaven! Flowers have suddenly popped into full bloom, the grass is growing skyscraper high and the garden sounds like a tropical bird sanctuary. Our local landscape looks like a painting brushed with neon colours. All contrasted with a backdrop of snow-capped Pyrénées. The full impact of this picture is impossible to describe or even capture with a photo, especially with just my iPhone camera. (There’s a big hint to Santa! 😉

With such glorious weather, you’d think my hubby and I would go on a hike, picnic, or even skinny-dipping in a spring-fed lake. But no, this past UK May bank holiday, Steve and I took advantage of the day off to sort out our French car registration. A couple of months ago we bought a used left-hand drive Grand Cherokee Jeep in the UK. It already had French registration plates (a big plus in its favour) and the price was easily 1/3 cheaper than what we’d have to pay in France.  The hard part was getting the car fully legal in France, even with a Carte Grise (certificat d’immatriculation). However, with the help of our friend, Dominique, we successfully navigated French bureaucracy. The final bits of paperwork involved obtaining French car insurance and obtaining new car plates.

Steve proudly showing off our new FR plates

To that end, we toured the Gers in search of Société Générale. It proved a long drive. But as the day was brilliantly sunny and warm, it was like a sight-seeing adventure. At long last, our insurance agent was found in the remotest of French villages. It was situated in a surprising “Frank Lloyd Wright” like modern building. Talk about a day of contrasts.

But, ultimately we successfully obtained new plates, French car insurance and a fantastic arm tan! What more can you ask from a day?