Storms are forecast. Angus decides to replace the missing tiles before the rain pours into the house. He goes up onto the roof. On his way down he misses a rung on the ladder and deposits himself unceremoniously on the lawn. 'The Font' fusses. Angus grumpily goes to bed and says he'll be right as rain in the morning. Come six am he's still seeing stars. The PONs get given a quick walk by 'The Font' and are then settled in the house while their owners go off to the A&E.
On a Friday morning in high summer the emergency room is remarkably quiet. In the corridor there are three old folk on gurneys suffering from heat stroke, two gentlemen in wheelchairs with knife wounds, a man who's broken both his legs and Angus who is seeing stars. There is also someone in a side room who is having a bad 'trip' but we don't see him. In one of his noisier moments a busy nurse tells us not to worry - ' He's taken some bad molly '. We nod in unison but remain none the wiser.
An opthamologist spends from nine until eleven checking for retinal scarring. After the better part of six hours a bruised but otherwise intact Angus is released with an all clear. '' Perhaps you should think twice before clambering up ladders at your age " says an attractive but stern young lady registrar in a heavily starched white uniform. Angus wonders at what age ladder climbing becomes inadvisable. He keeps this thought to himself. The grand charge for field vision tests, scans, eye pressure readings, a thorough medical and a lecture on ladders - 42 Euros.
Not an experience I'd wish to repeat but my memories of it will be of kindness, efficiency, humour, grace and patience. This is perhaps the real and unreported world immersed in humanity. The doctors, nurses and receptionists all shake hands with us, which is a very French touch.
Back at home the PONs are in solicitous mood.
Angus has to give Bob the bad news that we won't be going to the rugby match tonight. The eye drops the opthamologists has used have turned my blue eyes black. 'The Font' is of the opinion that anyone seeing me like that would scream and run for the exit. Angus is secretly pleased. How anyone could play, or watch, rugby in this heat and humidity is a mystery.