Ah, summer. Sunny and warm with really long evenings. Marvellous time of year. Especially when the air is heavy with the wonderful aroma of freshly cut hay and the sound of distant tractors. Local farmers have been out 'til all hours cutting the tall, golden grasses, then stacking the bales in barns. Or wrapping them in shiny plastic and leaving them piled in fields ready for winter.
Went up the 'lightning tree' area for a dogwalk with Georgie when she was here a week ago. Farmer and his lads were cutting their fields on the hottest day of the year. Then loading the bales on an old trailer and chugging them off down to their barns. Watched from the top of the hill. Gave us a cheery wave. All very 'Cider With Rosie'.
Went up there again on Saturday evening, on my own (Georgie's returned to the UK), but with the dogs. All very peaceful. The tractors have done their stuff, the grass is cut and two rows of shiny, black bales now await winter; one in the top field and the other under trees down below. Did the same walk we'd done a week previously. Noticed the wild flowers that Georgie had pointed out. Bees and butterflys still as busy as ever. Then sneezed. Didn't feel like hay fever, felt more like a cold. Probably the one Georgie had when she came over. Brilliant. High summer and I catch a cold. After living out here for six years I suppose my resistance ain't what it used to be.
Woke up Sunday with all the symptoms of a proper cold, despite the gloriously sunny weather. No problem, just take it easy and spend the day in front of the telly watching MotoGP from Mugello, Tour de France, men's final from Wimbledon, then maybe get dressed for a leisurely early evening's dogwalk before a medicinal scotch in the evening sun, a quick spag bol and an early night.
Phone rang at about 11am. Thought it was Georgie so I answered. Isabelle. Come round and join us for lunch, loads of people coming. Er..., I'm watching MotoGP (amazing how some women just don't understand that bikes can sometimes be far more important than lunch). Well, come round when it's over (bless her, she said this thinking it'd be over by about 1.30 - it actually finished at around 3, well into their lunchtime extravaganza). In all the nervous excitement of explaining my need to watch MotoGP, I'd completely forgotten to mention the fact that I was at death's door with a vicious cold. And had I mentioned that fact, she probably wouldn't have believed me - it being high summer and all.
At about 1.30, Isabelle's son Hadrien turned up. I opened the window (first floor), dressed in my dressing gown. He asked when I was coming round. Told him the bikes wouldn't finish 'til about 3. Told me to come round after for a late afternoon aperitif. Said okay and went back to my MotoGP. Watched the bikes, then le Tour and Wimbledon. Reluctantly got dressed, walked the dogs, fed 'em and wandered down to Isabelle's. No-one there. Returned home, had sunny evening scotch on the front lawn, prepared spag bol, watched Top Gear and a couple of other progs then went to bed.
Am now probably in the doghouse with Isabelle. Suppose I'll have to go round there and apologise for no-show with excuse of bad cold. Didn't want to give it to all your guests. I shall now practice that line in French. It'll probably come out as 'I not want to give you, your mother, your friends and all the other warthogs, a dose of the clap' (as she raises an eyebrow and tries to work out what her lunatic neighbour is on about). Ooh, life does get complicated at times.
Anyway, on a brighter side, some snaps from Saturday's dogwalk, if only to remind me of high summer when I'm freezing in the depths of winter...
4 weeks ago