First light. It's warmer this morning - no ice on the dog bowl by the front door - but there's a brisk breeze. Angus, Bob, the mayor, the man with the Yorkie, the Yorkie, the man with the day-glo yellow jacket and the village odd job man are standing on the village green. We're looking up at the crucifix in the churchyard and waiting for an expert to come and quote for repairs. Angus really doesn't want to be here but the mayor has requested his presence. 'The Font' thinks this might be because I can bring some experience to the situation. Angus wonders aloud what experience might prepare him to deal with a three ton swaying Jesus. This question is met with silence.
The statue has already been 'sorted out' by a friend of the man with the Yorkie but the repairs didn't work. The concrete infill between the brick wall and the wooden down post failed to set properly. Fresh action is now required. The expert arrives, ten minutes late, in a brand new Peugeot 4x4 with racy wheel trims and more LED lights than you would think a car could have. He wears a red velvet hat with a black band. This together with his camouflage trousers and leather jacket gives him a slightly menacing 'mafioso capo' air. '' Someone made a dogs dinner of this '' he informs us somewhat nontechnically from the top of his step ladder. The sway has increased. A health and safety official from the region has opined that if it gets much worse it might present a hazard to passing pilgrims. Two options present themselves. 1) Have a decent builder repair it and pay the going rate or 2) rope it off to stop it collapsing and killing someone.
The builder stays for 45 minutes. He jots things down in a note book and goes. '' I'll send on a quote . It won't be cheap " he says in a funerial tone of voice suitable when bidding for remedial work on swaying statues. The village 'technical' committee disperse. After the builder goes Sophie is allowed out onto the village green. She skips and screams with delight.
Bob is walked down the hill to the old Roman road. From here the steeple of the church just visible on the skyline.
When we get home Sophie is impatiently waiting for us .
So starts a quiet Sunday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde.
Ben. A nice name for a dog :