Dear France…

THe viewTaking the dog for a walk just before leaving on the 12-hour drive to you was never going to be a good idea. My thinking – in hindsight totally flawed – was that the hound and I could do with a bit of a leg stretch. What I actually achieved was the unmistakable aroma in closed quarters of a wet and muddy Labrador with a penchant for farting. Lovely.

On arrival, dazed and sleep deprived, I thought it logical to have a small snooze in the midday sun without SPF cream. I don’t need to go any further. You know what happened. I am now sporting glowing burnished ‘stockings’ on my legs and lower thighs. Parts of my upper body match it with a red photonegative T-shirt design. It’s a unique but not altogether pleasant look.

(I should mention briefly the dog-shitting scenario in my sister-in-law’s bedroom, even before we’d even managed to unpack the vehicle. And discovering the pair of decomposing rats in the kitchen wood burner.)

I then committed the double cardinal sins of calling home and checking my emails – both within minutes of each other. One provided me with an angst-ridden conversation with child number one that will cost me hundreds, possibly thousands. The email – again involving said offspring – only has implications of several hundred. Oh, that’s OK then.

Several days into the holiday and we’re still wondering when the sunshine will return. It’s been in monastic retreat since fashioning my legs.

Still, we can’t complain. The house and location are idyllic. Up here on the hillside we’re hidden in beautiful sight; delicious green wild meadows, trees and flowers tantalising the landscape as far as the eyes and imagination can see.

We welcome visits from a buzzard, toying with the warm air currents, riding below creamy clouds sliding across the sky. And almost like clockwork a cuckoo sounds its pleasure of life.

Relax…

More wine anyone?

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