It might be 30C, but it really feels like autumn out there. I have jumpers, I have new notebooks and pencils, and a cosy recipe for lamb mice.
This week, I bought a jumper, a pack of orange pencils, notebooks and candles that smell of figs. I think you know what I’m saying. It may be 30C outside, but my heart has turned to autumn. The plane trees that stand tall between our house and the church have a low rustle to them. The pavement between our gate and the street is filled with brown leaves. Along the lagoon, the seafood shacks I love are changing their opening hours from lunch and dinner to lunch only, and soon some of them will close until spring. The port is still full of visitors, queuing up for boat rides through the oyster tables and eating ice creams, but there is a sense of an ending, the last precious days.
In the supermarket, the stationery aisle is well stocked and has taken over some of the space previously claimed by gardening. Fewer pots and bags of compost, more Clairfontaine notebooks with their gridded paper which ensures French people’s handwriting takes on that uniform, distinctive look, familiar from restaurant chalkboards the world over. In the aisles, mothers – it is almost always mothers – fill their trolleys with the remarkable amount of stationery it’s deemed essential in this country in order to educate a child. La liste de fournitures scolaires is long and detailed, not just backpacks, but the right kind of backpacks, not just pens, but the right kind of pens. (This site is fascinating – you put in your department, your town, your school, the age of your child, and get a list of everything your child needs, from glue to ink pens).