It’s not particularly cold. Winter seems to be quite ok to cope with – even without many clothes. It is the wet season though so things are quite..well…wet as explained with the mud incident. It rains and stops, then starts and rains and stops so it’s possible to do things in between – a long walk, some shopping, a cycle ride…life pretty much carries on.
As you know – we are privileged to live on the edge of a beautiful lake which is the home of a pygmy malachite kingfisher or two, some graceful mallard ducks and, as we discovered yesterday, a family of either European otters or coypus… we haven’t been properly introduced as yet so can’t quite form an opinion. Well it rained, then stopped etc and the lake burst it’s banks and crept towards the front door. That was a few days ago and my dearly beloved marched with great purpose to the outlet feed pipe which drains the one lake into another lake and so on down the line and all through France – which, incidentally, consists of an amazing number of streams, ponds, rivers, lakes, canals and marshes, to see what was what. The leaves and branches that he removed were proving to act as a giant plug and the noise I heard from the watery doorstep sounded like someone was emptying a huge bath. Gurgling, sucking, swirling and viola – we noticed the family of beavers or coypus in the lower lake the next day….we don’t really want to think about how that happened, hopefully they took the sedate route through the bushes and reeds and not helter skelter through the meter wide outlet pipe. Anyway, just as the water had successfully retreated to a safe distance…it rained again…last night….and this time the water marched quite brazenly right up to the front door. In fact only about 8 cm’s was preventing it from just coming into the house without an invitation or a by your leave! Another pilgrimage to the outlet pipe and another smart removal of all things debris and after a few hours, we could finally get to the grass without enjoying a mid-calf wade first….for the dogs…that was a just past tummy wade which they thoroughly enjoyed..especially the tidal wave they made as they launched onto the step and bolted into the house, tails wagging, skidding wildly.
In all this, the washing refused to dry. These were the sheets etc off the bed and as we’re still waiting for ours, we only have one set so it was off to the main house to put them in the tumble dryer. Then we went out and life happened which led to a sudden “Oh my goodness the washing” while I was sitting drawing and husband dear was making dinner. On looking outside..I realised I had missed any possible light and would have to venture out in the dark. Now bear in mind we are in the sticks. There are no street lights, no nearby farms and our little outside light illuminates about a two meter circle outside the front door. The chef offered to come with me but seeing he was so busy kindly cooking I waved his offer away with a relaxed hand. Armed with the key to the storeroom and no torch as we don’t possess one yet, I set off. A second from the front door and I was plunged into pitch black. Cool..I can do this. There were no stars and the moon was covered in a grey haze of fast moving cloud. I slithered my way onto the tar/gravel road, tall hedges on one side, open field, stark oak trees and undergrowth on the other. Crunch, crunch crunch…my footsteps sounded so loud and then the realization hit me, they sounded just like the bad guy in Midsomer Murders or Miss Marple or Murder She Wrote as he crept up behind someone to hit them on the head with a rock or silver candlestick. No..these are MY footsteps..all is ok….crunch, crunch, crunch…stop it!!! Ok all I have to do is get the entrance between the stables of the main house and the movement sensor light should come on…should…why wasn’t it coming on….COME ON! And then it did and as it did, a duck lurking in the reeds near me flapped wildly in fright.
It squawked, I shrieked and my sweatpants nearly became wetpants. Regaining composure and feeling like a complete idiot, I completed my mission..except in reverse. Coming out of a very bright storeroom and into the dark meant I stumbled around with eyes like saucers in my head trying to adjust but as I crossed the open area to get back to the road I paused to look around. Not a sound, just me in this peaceful land dotted with stone cottages and farm buildings. I was a very small person in a very big world under a huge expanse of sky. It was hard to explain. It felt as though I had been filled with silence and cloaked in a fragrant peace. I felt beautiful. In this floaty state of mind, I squelched back guided by the glow of our cottage. As I rounded the corner a solid object seemed to pop out of a hole in the middle of nowhere (which happened to be the husband coming out of the front door to see if I was ok) and once again the peaceful evening was broken by a girly shriek, What an idiot.
It poured through the night and I woke to the sound of it pattering on the roof and windows…and something crawling on my arm. I sleepily shook it off thinking it was the blanket. Still there, another shake. Now it was on my shoulder..this blanket is REALLY annoying. Another shake. Husband groggily asks what I’m doing and turns on the light. Squint, I tell him and attempt to open my eyes to look. Nothing. He looks a bit more carefully by moving around a few bits of bedclothes. A HUGE black spider about 4 cm round comes jauntily out of the duvet cover. You are kidding me! Another girly shriek and my hero gently puts it in a towel and throws it outside. No wonder there’s a TV documentary called “Wild France”. So even though it didn’t prove to be the end of the world..my “last day” would have been an eventful one!
A la prochaine