– we went to a small-ish summer barbecue at friends, the number of nationalities present were about twelve.
– on a balmy early summer’s eve, we sat on our terrace drinking champagne with four friends before wandering down the road to the restaurant for astonishingly good food and, unusually for this restaurant, astonishingly slow service. The restaurant is the only ‘public’ place in the village. There is, in fact, no shop in the commune (equivalent of a UK parish council).
– Big Bro and his wife came to stay for a few days. Given that I’d never hosted Big Bro in my house before and Joe Brown hardly knew either him nor his wife, I was a tad nervous. It was all rather mighty fine despite the changeable weather but excellent planning on my part meant that the wettest afternoon was spent at a private wine tasting followed by a tour of the cellars, headed by the chap who runs the winery who was possibly young enough to be my son. Interestingly, when I asked if he’d noticed a problem with pollination due to reduced number of bees, I was told that vines aren’t affected as they’re wholly wind-pollinated.
– Joe Brown and I did a day-long road trip on a fiercely hot day, as much as possible using the road winding along the Mosel river in the ridiculously fast, air-conditioned car. This was a good call on his part and one of my most favourite days since being here.
– I narrowly missed the birth of a calf in the field at the back of our house. Lots of mooing and broken waters heralded the arrival but after an hour of no further progress I thought I had time to walk down the road to post a letter. By the time I came home, there was a pure white, still slightly steaming calf in the field, complete with wing nut ears. It was up and wobbling around within half an hour. Three days later, the other cow produced a beige calf overnight. They’ve become good chums and often canter round the field together playing chase in the cool of the evenings.
– over dinner one evening, my neighbour announced she would cut her forthcoming holiday short by a couple of days when it became apparent we were both away at the same time and neither of us would be at home for cat-duty, both her and mine. Her husband was clearly horrified by this, particularly as this was partly so she could look after le chat roux who’s Belgian.
– le chat roux, usually only absent for an hour or so, went missing. I would like to say I was quite chilled about this, confident that he would return home, but I was not. Convinced he’d come to harm or was trapped somewhere, I wrung my hands, looked forlornly out of the windows, pitifully called his name as I walked round the small village and knocked on neighbours doors to see if he was perhaps shut in their garage. It was only after I’d compiled a ‘DISPARU!’ notice, in two languages no less, to print and stuff through letterboxes that the little orange git returned home, apparently none the worse for wear.
– I’ve bought shoes; heeled black sandals, strappy red wedges (a first for me) and sling backs, the colour of which can only be described as fuck off pink.
– after a seven month sabbatical, purely on the basis of laziness on my part, I’ve resurrected my French lessons with the lovely French teacher.
– the summer flies have arrived in the small country and seem even more numerous than previously.
– I had an appointment with a gynaecologist (anything to do with down there isn’t dealt with by a general doctor). I have never seen a more Gallic-looking man in my life. His profile must, I’m sure, be stamped on a coin.
– I sewed a cushion cover. Believe me, this is noteworthy, really it is.
– I sat on the terrace with a friend I’ve known for over thirty years drinking far too much champagne late in to the night and the small country showed her just how good their storms can be. A couple of days later, we sat in a sunny cafe in the city square drinking coffee and listening to a string quartet in the bandstand a few feet away playing The Dying Swan. There are many sublime moments in my life and this was up there.
– after a couple of afternoons spent sitting in the garden, barelegged, I have freckled knees. I’d forgotten this happens.
– on a perfectly still, breathtakingly clear night, I stood in the garden and saw three shooting stars within a couple of minutes.
– I saw an exhibition of photos and had a hankering to pick up my camera more often.
And now? Now Joe Brown and I are imminently heading to London to watch a performance by the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House. Afternoon tea is also planned. Rest assured, fuck off pink sling backs will be packed.