From the top of the ridge the mountains glow red in the rising sun. Lots of deer around this morning. A herd of a dozen or so just visible in the walnut groves. Sophie is barely twenty yards from a large male when it sprints off. Sophie wants to give chase. She howls to make it quite clear that if only she was let off her harness she'd have him.
On our way home the mayor stops us. He's handing out the 2014 calendars. A Christmas present from the commune. This years theme ' seasonal scenes in the churchyard '. He disappears a second time into the back of his battered old Renault and emerges holding one of Madame Mayors dried fruit and vegetable arrangements. A cling film wrapped symphony of shrunken cauliflower, courgettes and apples. '' We wanted you to have one of these " he says. ' Oh! We'd so admired them ' ( they were the prizes at last weekends gardening awards ) I reply in what might , just, pass for enthusiasm. For the briefest of moments his face bursts into an all consuming smile of delight. '' I'll tell my wife . She'll be so pleased ". With that he puts on his red tartan pork pie hat and gets back in the car. He has 2014 calendars to deliver.
Above us the Old Farmers Christmas star continues to shine. The wire that links it to the Salle des Fetes electricity supply barely visible in his thick laurel hedge.