To the valley for our morning walk. When we were here last week the farmers wife wandered over to tell us to stick to the road because they've gone back to old fashioned cattle rearing. The cows are being allowed to wander off to find a quiet spot where they can give birth alone. For the first three or four days the mothers divide their time between grazing with the herd and feeding the carefully hidden calf. After that the young one is introduced to the other mothers who surround it and lick it all over. A prelude to being accepted into the herd. The farmers wife says says this 'natural' way of farming breeds happier, healthier cows.
The mayor waves me down as we drive into town for the morning croissants. The farmers wife went into hospital on Thursday for an operation ( it seems she was a three pack a day smoker ) and passed away from complications last night. The well rehearsed routines of village life already springing into action. Neighbouring farmers cleaning out pig pens and bringing in feed. A mass on Wednesday afternoon . " You will be there ? " asks the mayor. A wake in the Salle des Fetes afterwards. The mayor is unsettled. The farmers wife with some strange presentiment had phoned him from the ward before going into surgery to ask if there was a place for her in the cemetery. " There is but you won’t be needing it for twenty years " he replied.
Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse Sophie can be seen leaping in and out of the back of the builders van. She's carefully checking it to see if there are sandwiches on board.
The enduring rhythms of life in deepest, deepest France profonde. Small dramas too unremarkable for a diary but recorded here because they're too important to be totally forgotten.