Dulce Domum

An hour’s drive away from the mountains is my temporary home, a converted pumphouse which once fed water to the long-gone steam train system, completely rebuilt with proper plumbing and IKEA showers. Villages with names like Le Vans, Joyeuse, and the unforgettable Mejeannes-le-Clap, which looks good on your passport,are all around. Initially, the quiet is unnerving. Cicadas scratch endlessly and the stream at the foot of the hill ripples over a tiny waterfall. But, that’s it. No cars, no music, the nearest human habitation is more than two kilometres away in any direction. Light pollution is minimal; the nearest significant centre of population is about fifteen kilometres south which lights up the sky a little, but the overall impression is ‘I’m an awfully long way from a Starbucks.’ In almost cloudless skies, the Perseids, the annual meteor shower produced by the Earth’s orbit passing through the tail of a comet, were spectacularly visible, long gashes of light from tiny particles travelling at over 70 kilometres a second skimming like stones on a pond and getting brighter and brighter across the sky before vaporising in the atmosphere. I sat outside for an hour and watched the light show.
Might be a nice spot to retire to…

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