At last it feels like summer

Provencal village in the late afternoon

The village in the late afternoon

Having left the country, we’re finally enjoying the Indian summer that we hoped we would have at home. Here in the south of France the sky is cloudless, the days are still warm and the vines are heaving with fruit.

Whereas a month ago this sleepy village would have been quietly dull apart from the occasional group of tourists canoeing downriver, it’s now a hive of activity. The campers have gone home; the children have returned to school; and the 2004 harvest has finally begun. Every 10 minutes another trailer load of grapes arrives at the coop

Corporate newspeak

Some of Tesco’s grocery stores have a new slogan on display in their windows. It states Helping you spend less every day.

I wonder if the company’s shareholders think that’s a good idea? Presumably, if Tesco does a good job and follows that objective through to its logical end, it’ll eventually destroy itself. Call me cynical, but I just don’t believe ’em!

Passport update

My daughter’s UK passport arrived yesterday, which was earlier than we expected. So, I can wholeheartedly recommend the UK Passport Service’s online application system.

The entire process took a month and a day from start to finish, including a week to get the application notarized.

That’s a dramatic improvement compared with five years ago, when the process was taking 10 weeks and the government paid compensation for delays and cancellations in travel plans (see BBC News | UK | Passport pile grows higher).