Just after dawn in the Vendée, and even the sunflowers are starting to look hot. For me, this is the only time to photograph them. Soon the sky becomes too hot, and the colour is washed out of the landscape as the countryside starts to sizzle under a sun that keeps getting hotter all day. Our traditional Vendéen cottage is positioned on a North South axis, which means the courtyard is on the North side allowing the house to provide shade for us, but leaving the pool in full sun. The main room is illuminated by the sun from the South, but as the room is constructed with exposed stone walls and a tiled floor, it becomes an oasis of cool. When the sun comes out to play our house comes into its own. Today’s menu is under construction in my mind as I write, but I see cool green salads, maybe a classic prawn cocktail in a tall chilled glass and a traditional egg mayonnaise topped with crossed anchovy fillets. Peaches and melon have a place in the plan of things as does chilled rosé wine. As things stand, God is in his heaven and all’s well in our tiny corner of the world.