On our morning walk we meet the German billionaire cycling along the lane followed by Brunhilda, the chateau dog. Bob is greatly taken with Brunhilda. Sophie isn't. She lets out a throaty 40 a day type growl. We make polite small talk and hurry along before Sophie reveals the '' this is my village'' side to her character.
In the afternoon there's much activity at the church. The body of the farmers wife is being moved from the communal vault to the family burial plot. The ground had baked solid in the July summer heat and the grave diggers weren't able to do their job. A mechanical digger was called upon but it was too wide to get through the churchyard gate. The mayor informs me, matter of factly, that '' the transfer had to wait for cooler weather ". Some statements don't need to be pursued. A new gravestone has appeared . In the centre is a picture of the farmer and his wife on their wedding day. They're cutting the cake and smiling broadly. Underneath is an inscription " Fauvette. Si tu voles autour de cette tombe chante lui ta plus douce chanson ". This is a very French touch.
There is a pause in proceedings while two ponies are shooed out of the graveyard by the mayor waving his red tartan pork pie hat. The ponies wander into the dip in the ground where the old moat used to be and munch away contentedly. The farmer reads aloud the letter his wife wrote to him from her hospital bed '' You were my lover, husband, friend ". He weeps. The villagers throw flowers in the grave. The mayor says a few inaudible words. The lady with the purple hat sings Ave Maria. Then its off to the Salle des Fetes for a vin d'honneur. Madame Bay has made vol au vents. The young mothers are still using the beer tent as a creche so the funeral party and the under fives co-mingle in a chaotic but charming ' life goes on ' way.
Bob spends his day with Furry Fox. There are no builders today to throw it for him. Loic the bifocaled gardener will be here tomorrow to blow leaves into piles.