Tuesday, April 18, 2017
The world may be changing but Bob and Sophie's daily round is etched in stone.
Pandemonium while harnesses are put on. Then the 'what's keeping you ? ' stare while I look for black bags. Finally, everything in order, we turn right out of the gate and head along the lane. The battery in the Old Farmers Peugeot has gone flat after three months of inactivity. The young garagiste has recharged it and is putting it back in place. The Old Farmer , resplendent in fur trappers hat with ear flaps, striped pyjamas , brown dressing gown and zimmer frame is peering under the bonnet and telling him not to tighten the leads too much.
Sophie is engrossed in tracking down some badger droppings. She fails to notice the horse by the side of the field. When she does, she nearly leaps out of her skin. She moves behind my legs and glares at the equine presence. She also glares at her owner for letting her get into such a dangerous position.
We walk down from the escarpment to the valley floor. Then we walk back up again. We meet a farmer who tells me that we're going to have the mother of all droughts this year. '' Haven't ever seen temperatures this high in April ". He pauses then carries on " You'd better start irrigating your laurel hedge ".
At the cafe on the square a Boxer stares at Sophie in a sort of admiring ' I'd like to get to know you better' way. Angus finishes his coffee and the PONs their bowl of water. We hurry away before Sophie has a chance to let the Boxer know what she thinks of him. Some dog owner 'moments' are best avoided.
Back home Bob and Angus sit on the storm drain and watch the donkeys in the field below. Bob is told, as he is told every morning, that this is ' his country '. Sophie is in the kitchen supervising the preparation of a prawn risotto.
So starts a Tuesday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde. Little things too unimportant to be put in a diary but too important to go completely unrecorded.