As you may have noticed, Munson goes everywhere with me except on those occasions where I’ve got an extended visit to a place he can’t enter, such as the local prefecture, or to an evening concert. That works quite well but can be awkward during the warmer months, as I might need to drop in at a supermarket while we’re out for a swim or an exploration of the area.
I can’t leave him in the car on days like that, and there is a great shortage of shaded areas outside markets throughout the region. While the layout of the old village squares with their surrounding cloistured arcades acknowledges the need for a refuge from the heat of summer, modern French commercial construction favours “white-box” buildings with bland exterior shells and no awnings. As most supermarkets are on town perimeters and there is practically no public transport, these shops-in-a-box are surrounded by vast parking lots, which are practically devoid of shade. Dog or no dog, your car will have a scorching interior after a shopping trip.
You can see the lengths to which people go to obtain shade, which includes parking along access roads with adjacent trees (making them very difficult to negotiate), in garden beds and across emergency access no-parking zones. All road signs and parking-bay markers basically go out the window as soon as the temperature climbs over 30 C. One car-park resembles a cow-pasture with clumps of vehicles wrapped around the handful of trees dotted around the tarmac.
My usual solution is to go to the one north-facing market in the area which has a small band of shade near its entrance. Munson sits near the doorway watching carefully for my re-appearance at one of the cashiers. Meanwhile he greets comers and goers, and appreciates the blasts of cold air whenever the doors slide open.