Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blowing in the wind

It's been rather windy here, lately, sometimes with good weather, sometimes bad.
The winds are very significant down here... We live outside of Toulouse (bottom middle as far as the map of France goes). We are equidistant from the Med and the Atlantic, and from the Pyrenees mountains - very nice. The Massif Central mountains are a bit to our north. Unfortunately this places us in one of France's wind tunnels. The prevailing wind is my black arrow, and it's fine - nice, soft, slightly damp Atlantic wind. It blows nearly all the time, to a greater or lesser extent, and brings most of our weather, which is why we often get similar weather to the UK (we even got the tail end of that London hurricane a few years ago!)
Geogography lesson boring you yet? It wouldn't bore you if you had to live with the red arrow. This is when the wind turns round, and is said to drive people maaaaadd! Yes, there are lots of stories like this, but it's a dry, disturbing wind from the Mediterranean and it messes everything up. We've had a lot of it in the last few days: it's known as the Vent d'Autan, which apparantly means 'Wind of the High Sea'. Great Uncle Joshua got blown off his perch twice before I moved him - all the windows in the house are geared up to cope with winds blowing the opposite way.
It got so dramatic that my French teacher and I had a long chat about French winds today, with a good look in the dictionary to acertain the origins of the words. The pink arrow shows the one you know about - the Mistral, which comes from the old Provencal for 'Master Wind'. It drives people mad too! The blue one is the 'Tramontagne', or something - memory going hazy here...
Well, now you know more about wind in France than you need to know - unless you move here, because if you do, it will become very significant to you! I always know which way the wind is blowing now I live here, and we look out nervously for the Vent d'Autan.
Whichever way your wind is blowing, do put your name on the guest list for my garden party! The invitation's to your left.

17 comments:

Lululiz said...

I don't think we have to worry too much where we are in Burgundy. Having said that, we had a mini tornado there a couple of years ago, quite localised, but it caused an incredible amount of damage. So many beautiful massive old trees were uprooted all over the place. We all spent days with our chain saws clearing roads and paths. We live at the top of a hill and we usually get a lovely light breeze coming up the valley during the day and down to the valley in the evenings. Perfect during the summer. But when we do get storms, oh boy, we get it big time!

juanitatortilla said...

Oh yes! The German-speaking Switzerland call this wind phenomena Foehn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foehn_wind , said to give people migraines and sometimes being about mad behaviour. It sounds amusing, for someone -like myself- to have heard about it for the first time.

And since we're on the topic of weather, believe it or not, Fluffy was behaving strange earlier today -- hiding under the sofa, for no apparent reason. And then, guess what, it just hailed this evening. Now that the storm has past, the cat's back to his normal self.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks for the lesson. When we get strong winds here, it is usually because of severe weather.
Glenda

Marie Reed said...

I call the hubster 'The Weather Man'.. he always has an update and will very much appreciate this post too!

Alexandra said...

Floss, thank you for your kind comments on my Blog. I'm enjoying this so much already. I can sympathise with you re the windy weather, when we returned from overseas 3 years ago and settled in this little village, I had no idea how windy it was. I thought it was just me, until recently when 3 hydro windmills were erected in nearby!

Floss said...

Well, Juanita's linky-link is great, and I followed it up a bit more, and think that my final, blue arrow is going the wrong way (I told you my memory of that part of the lesson was a bit hazy!) It's a north wind and called the 'Tramontane'. Lots of exciting meterology on Wikki if you're interested...

The Whispering Poppies said...

HOORAY! I'm so happy I can get back on to comment! =) I'd LOVE to hang my wash out to dry, but we're experiencing a seasonal problem with winter moth at the moment (they are in the caterpillar stage, and they are everywhere, swinging from the trees on tiny strings).

Sarah said...

Oh yes the wind!! I know all about that. We used to live in a city nick named 'Windy Wellington'. Sometimes you couldn't walk into the wind it was so strong. Don't miss it at all.

Thank you for the geography lesson. I never know exactly where each blogger is from so it was really lovely to see. I think tomorrow, I will find a map and do the same for us over here. I had a holiday in the South of France many years ago. In the Cannes area, not windy from memory either. Lovely eating places and shops! I also remember being sick into a rubbish bin!! Gross.

lou said...

We have got no wind here today, just rain and more rain! :0(
I love your finds in your other post; I would love to go treasure hunting with you.
Love Lou xxx

abeachcottage@typepad.com said...

love the Mistral, funny my godmother who is down near you was only talking about it the other day, she said there has been a lot of rain lately and it is ruining her gardening

I enjoyed this post, I love france, I am really hoping to come at Christmas on our way home to england to stay with her and eat lots of her home cooking!

I am staying here for a mooch around

Sarah

Melanie said...

Lovely fabrics! xxxxx

Melanie said...

Hi Floss, thank you soooo much, I can not wait to receive my goodies, I will drop you a line when I post yours, thanks again Floss.xxxxxx

Marie Reed said...

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind ... the answer is blowing in the wind! Now you have me singing Bob Dylan Flossie! I think it was his birthday yesterday too:) I'm not really a huge snail eater either... unless they are made out of chocolate!

This Vintage Life... said...

Thanks, I'll look forward to reading it. It's a new one on me! I've sent you an extra book...I know it's hard for you to get them
Deb x

Olga said...

Good evening, Floss :)! Somehow I didn't realize you live so close to the border with Spain. I bet in spite of all the winds you still enjoy some good weather there. ( I mean having cherries in May and all :P)

Thank you for your comment, I will definitely find a way to use and reuse all the beautiful stuff I won (and hopefully post about it) :P I'm getting more and more impatient to get it each day, but knowing how 'fast' the post here is it will take another couple of days for sure.. About Agatha Christie... Definitely 'The Murder on the Orient Express is a classic, one of the first ones I read! You know, by coincidence, I was thinking about this book just recently because I was posting about Orient Express not long ago, if you want to have a look: http://whereareyouolga.blogspot.com/2009/05/orient-express.html, plus here is a great video filmed on the train, so maybe if you are reading the book right now it will tickle your imagination: http://whereareyouolga.blogspot.com/2009/05/number-5.html I'm sorry for 'advertising' the posts - I just couldn't resist sharing this with you!

Lavender hearts said...

Hehe, it seems chat about the weather is not just limited to the Brits! I would much rather discuss winds that drive you mad than 'horrible weather isn't it? the weather man says it's going to rain today!'. :-)

cathleen said...

I, very much, enjoyed this post, Floss. I adore reading maps...geography fascinates me. Also, who can resist laundry softly blowing in a lovely spring breeze?