It's reinvigorating to get out of the city and be bombarded by the signs of changing seasons that seem to slink past us in town. The road from Bordeaux to Castillon-la-Bataille is absolutely beautiful at this time of year. The vines have turned a rich ochre and the air is laced with the smells of autumn — overripe grapes, mushrooms and earth. The sun shines on oblivious to the fact that summer is over; the landscape soaking up the unexpected warmth. We drive through quiet villages on our way to Montcaret and Sarah's house. For the first time I meet someone whose blog I have read and whose daily photos I have looked at and yes, I feel I know her and her family already. The children who know nothing of blogs, like children everywhere also seem to be on familiar terms and quickly get down to the important business of playing and giggling.
I think I need two lives really, one for the town and one for the country. One for dashing across town during Monday lunchtime rush-hour, coming down from the euphoria of a successful first class in one place just in time to start another in a different building with an altogether less receptive group of students and an all but empty stomach. And another life for making quince jelly in a country kitchen with the back door open to the smells of autumn.