The lakes are quiet now. The weekend after the Assumption is the last big day of the summer. Now, midweek, the streets of the village echo under your feet, the roads are empty and at the bathing spots on the lakes there is almost no one. I saw maybe hald a dozen fishermen, mostly Rumanians, who seem to have an obsession with water, and three middle-aged ladies at one of the safer spots, idly dangling their feet in the water and wondering whether to swim. I expect they did eventually. In high summer that place is full, literally full, you couldn't get another towel on the ground or another table set up, and the water itself sometimes looks like the scene of a minor naval battle. The fish- large carp-like things a foot or so long- spend the daylight hours upstream, but now there were a dozen of them moving back and forth. No fishing just there.
At the other places a few stragglers sit and watch the water, and swim and play in the shallows. Families who couldn't get away until now, or who've been somewhere else where it rained, or are making the most of the opportunity, or who prefer it at this time of year, why not? Always families now, the young come from mid-July to mid-August, at fiesta time and when the weather is at its best. They don't have to argue dates with their boss or decide when to shut up the shop without losing too much money.
The summer isn't over, not at all. It's still 32º+ every afternoon, but there is cloud at times and storms in the evening. In high summer it never rains and you hardly see a cloud. people like certainty. And now that August is ending the feel here is that the work season begins again. Even people who don't work notice the difference, and those who rely on others to lift their spirits and provide their entertainment are aware that they've run out of choices.
The lakes haven't changed, though. The water is as high as ever and the sun still shines on them as it did. The places where the people don't go- because you can't get there by car, or there's nowhere to sit on the bank- look just as they did two weeks ago, and the beautiful places have not lost there beauty. They never do, not even in winter, until the water table in the mountains drops and they start to dry out. It'll be another year or two, but if it rains in the hills this winter the cycle will be longer still.
Mrs Hickory will soon be joining me on the bike, when the sun is not so hot, and we'll visit the lakes together, and swim at the places the tourists have left because they think it's too cold. Expect more photos.
Sadly, Danny Finkelstein gets it wrong
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