Bob is up at 5:00. He wanders into the bedroom, pokes a cold wet nose in my ear and then, satisfied I'm awake, walks out into the hall. This has now become an illicit daily routine. It is triply enjoyable for being illicit.
The mayor is out in the flower beds outside the church watering the petunias. He tells me it was the hottest night of the year. Or, he might have said it was the hottest night on record. My attention is distracted by Sophie screaming aloud as she hurtles after a pigeon that's perched provocatively on a flower trough. The mayor also says he's found someone to decorate the church porch. We bought the wallpaper and the paint last year but the first decorator claimed he had the flu and couldn't do the work. 12 months on and we're getting round to a second attempt. Everything in a French village moves at a less frenetic pace than in the Anglo-Saxon world.
The plane trees along the lane are shedding their bark in the heat. Sheets of it lying on the tarmac and the verges. It makes a very satisfying crunching noise as the PONs walk on it.
We took a couple of pedestal fans across to The Old Farmer after his return from the hospital. This morning he stands in his dressing gown holding on to the terrace railings and shouts out '' They were very useful . Do you want them back ? ''. I suggest he keeps them until the heat wave has passed. It seems the old man has had Phlebitis for the last four months. The specialist was horrified to find out that no one had diagnosed it. A district nurse will now come every day and give him an anti-inflammatory injection.
The school is still closed because of the high temperatures. As we pass the French teachers house she's opening her shutters. She cheerfully informs us how wonderful it is to have an unscheduled holiday.
We buy some whole wheat bread from the lady at the market stall then head to the cafe. Bob and Sophie share a bowl of water ( chilled with ice cubes despite it being barely dawn ) and share the end of a baguette.
The newsagent is stocking a new line in birthday cards.
Angus has a coffee and finishes a book ' American Nations ' describing the eleven tribes that make up America. These are not, as you might imagine based on race or ethnicity, but on the moral outlook seeded by the early settlers. Dutch commercialism takes root in the financial capital New Amsterdam, Quaker rejection of hierarchy and authority in Pennsylvania. The author doesn't much like the Scots-Irish in the Appalachia's who are considered to be war like and completely ungovernable.
We leave the cafe at seven just as a large Irish wolf hound called Gerald arrives. We would linger but sometimes there's no point in tempting providence. Diva + brother + large wolfhound called Gerald = one of 'those' moments. Geralds water bowl with ice cubes is put on the table rather than under it.
Here's a question that needs answering :