It's turned cold. Not wickedly cold but naughtily cold. The thin ice that coats the grass in the mornings is warmed by an indifferent sun and gone by ten. There's something about the feel of frost on their paw pads that electrifies the PONs and awakes a deep DNA echo of chilly mornings herding sheep in Bydgoscz. Sophie rolls on her back - another milestone.
Here in the village the change in the weather coincides with a flu epidemic. The radio reports that thirteen old folk died from an outbreak in a nursing home in Lyons. You have to wonder why the old folks couldn't have been given flu jabs. Madame Bay, alone in her family, has avoided going down with the bug. She was an early recipient of an injection from the young doctor in the local surgery. '' He has such a lovely smile and strong hands '' she informs us as if these attributes alone would dispel germs. What the doctor must think when faced with a robustly healthy octogenarian wearing a faux Kohinoor diamond in her chintz turban goes unrecorded. While her family is laid up Madame Bay is overseeing 'the girls' in Sandrines, her daughters hair salon. 'The girls' in this instance are two '' perm and a gossip " ladies in their forties. We think it best not to ask how this managerial role is going.
While Bob and Sophie sleep we go into Toulouse. One of the least known but most delightful of towns.
In the market a Golden Retriever finds being next to the meat counter while his master chats to a friend is cruel and unusual torture.
The bakers are still making Gallettes de Rois. A table of freshly baked ones faces us. The French like to make Christmas last until the end of January.
We opt for an Opera. The taste and texture the same as they served in La Coupole forty odd years ago. Even 'The Font' is tempted into a second, small, sliver.