Subject: Nice to Digne train & heat wave and fires in Provence
Hello Angie, I've never taken the Train des Pignes, though I don't live too far. One day... What I've learned from others is that it is very much worth while, scenery, calm, but that perhaps the whole way and back is a bit too much. You can stop at an earlier point and then return. The web site is a good source of information.

This post gives me the opportunity to tell those of you who are interested about the situation in Provence where a prolonged heat wave and devastating forest fires have made life a bit challenging. Since the end of May we have had perhaps 12 drops of rain in southern Provence. With the mistral and malicious intent of pyromaniacs thousands of hectares burned down over a period of two to three weeks. I had rented out my house in La Garde-Freinet and spent a few weeks at a house of friends in Callian (with pool!) when I received a call from a friend near Le Thoronet: Frieda, La Garde-Freinet is on fire!. I tried to contact the renters, neighbors, but all electricity was shut down and cell phone relays didn't work. The roads were all blocked, access denied. The next day I managed to make contact and it turned out that the fire had passed by at 3 miles. On my web site in the rubric Flash! you can see some devastating photos including one my friend took from Le Thoronet facing LGF. No wonder she was concerned. Here, there is no evidence of any fire, but a few miles farther, towards Plan de la Tour, it's another story. The most amazing thing is that most of the houses were undamaged even though the fire destroyed everything up to their doorstep. Thanks to the, mainly voluntary, fire brigades.

The heat wave seems to come to an end. Early this morning I sensed a slight humidity. I dare not call it dew yet, but I did see a few sprigs of green in the grass. The oak trees are turning brown as if it were autumn. We've been promised rain and thunderstorms this weekend, but it doesn't look like anything remotely that for now. Perhaps I should follow a friend's advice and do a rain dance this evening. Any suggestions for appropriate music?

Regards, Frieda Lekkerkerker