And so the daily routine for the next few weeks begins. Feeding the cats and dogs twice a day. The horses, pig and doves once a day and the fish in the tank and in the pond every few days or so. In between times Sarah feeds me and the flies feed on me. Where I have scratched and bled I look as though I have had a fight with a thorn bush … and the thorn bush won!
Most days the cats disappear and then reappear as if by magic to eat. The dogs are always around. Puppy joins me during the feeding of Oliver the pig, but Big Dog can’t manage the steps. In fact I don’t think he can manage very much at all. The key skills on his resume are snoring like a jet engine, panting like an iron lung and getting in the way. Like lying across the bottom of the kitchen door so that you can’t open it. Big Dog is like a small roundabout. A “Pop-Up” roundabout. He is good natured though and as you struggle to drag him away from being an obstacle he makes no attempt to move and just wags his tail. One of our goals is to get his snoring down to a level so we can hear the television.
Puppy chases joggers up and down the lane. Hikers get the same treatment. It is a daily occurrence. The house is in a very narrow lane, almost a track. Either end of the laneway the road opens up again so at the point of the house it is a bit like a chicane where traffic slows down to maneuver carefully past the dogs. To the locals of course it is just part of the thoroughfare and they race along. Particularly the guy on his Quad Bike.
Its cool so I light the fire. Doesn’t that sound easy? Unfortunately a log burner doesn’t have a switch and you have to chop wood to put in it. What seemed like several hours later and hundreds of matches, eventually the fire starts to burn. Not roaring but burning, probably to about the same heat as my fingers feel.
Big Dog snores all through Vera so we turn the sound up.
Tired now and having seen this episode of Vera recently we go to bed. We turn off the lights except the floor switch for the lamp in the middle of the room doesn’t work. Not today anyway. It did work yesterday. For some reason it just isn’t working no matter how many different ways we press the button. I try, Sarah tries. The electric cord leads under the sofa. An odd place for a power point in the middle of the room. I move the sofa to investigate. A hole is drilled through the tiled floor and the cord disappears into it. Bloody hell. The light stays on!
I can’t settle. I don’t know why.
I feed the dogs their biscuits. Big Dog eats everything because Puppy won’t eat. Eventually I try him on meat and that does the trick. Sarah is gradually tidying and cleaning to bring everything up to her usual “can eat off the floor” standard.
I have got into the morning habit of opening all the windows to air the rooms. In our bedroom I open the window. The net that is a defence mechanism for small wildlife is rotting at the bottom and ants go about their daily work. At the bottom of the right frame as a I pull the window towards me (they open inwards) something is hanging. It is the half skeletal remains of a lizard that obviously got jammed many months ago. Nice. I haven’t advised Sarah yet.
Jo is getting ready for her trip to the UK. Ian will be here soon.
We ask how Orange on the entertainment system works so that we can watch something decent on the TV like a film made in colour after 1963. Jo picks up the remote and plays with it for 2 minutes. She doesn’t seem to know or be overly concerned for that matter. Perhaps Gervais can help. But we don’t bother him. He isn’t the host. Instead we watch re-runs of Frost, Heartbeat and other selections of fine British television from the past. Just as well we aren’t paying … but perhaps we are in some abstract way!
Where is the mailbox key? Hanging up in the car port. Should have guessed.
Ian arrives and off they go to Bergerac airport.
I prepare the horse feed under Sarah’s supervision … she took shorthand notes in her head .. to get the mix right. She returns to the house as I don’t want her slipping in the mud. I’m still concerned about protecting her hip. On my return from the paddock I arouse stig of the dump, Oliver. He grunts and groans like the Kraken awaking from decades of sleep. There is a lot of rustling and agitation. I ignore it and cast my eyes over the junk in the barn from crash helmets to old prints, lamp posts to tools. I see a dusty old book. Its blue. Hardcover, face down so I can’t read the title. It looks abandoned and lifeless. Out of interest I pick it up and turn it over. Nothing. I read the spine. “Cider With Rosie” by Laurie Lee … my mind spins back to school … back to summer as a child … the country … the innocence … the pure joy of this book that has remained in my heart all of these years. And of course it is only fitting that I find a copy in the deep french countryside of France as I stand in my wellies, with a fact pig grunting somewhere, doves flying around me, horses neighing in the distance, the constant buzz of bees and the fragrance of the country air. I stand silent, still, thinking of those halcyon days gone by and the long english summers as a boy. Yes, “Cider With Life”!
Back in our makeshift office I still can’t print so I download the HP SmartApp to my ipad and mobile. I can print from there. Bizzare, but thank you God.
Sarah returns from Leclerc supermarket via the gym clutching a selection of firelighters. Perhaps this evening I’ll get the fire going before bedtime. In fact I do with their help and over the coming days perfect the art of finding suitable dry kindling to create the perfect conditions so that I don’t have to use this cheating method again.
Sarah also has some fly spray and other weapons. One of the most active highlights throughout the day is warring with the flies and other unwelcome small winged objects. We now have 2 displays of flies hanging from a sticky tape streamer as a warning to others. But I don’t think they get it and return in numbers to attack the next day. I found a flyswat and between us we have managed to cull the population. We swish and swat for too large a part of the day. The exercise is good, but while I am working at my laptop they buzz and encircle my head. Unfortunately I have swatted my head too much and I think my face has the netted imprint of the swat on it. I am punch drunk from swatting myself and I think my right arm is an inch longer.
Until next time 🌏