Autumn is cold and damp. But as the dawn gets later each morning, my morning do walk gets closer to sunrise each day.  Often the misty walk is quite magical.  The sun shining down a tunnel of trees, softly filtered by the mist with Sienna treading very carefully through the carpet of fallen chestnuts. Through the fence a soft snuffle and Sienna raises her hackles in surprise and a small bark – a cow (a calf really but still twenty times her size) stares at her in the dull bovine way only cows can. Looking out, across that same field I can see a few other calves munching away at the dew laden grass. In the distance through the trees beyond the thinning mist curling around the bushes I see a fog bank sitting behind our little hamlet of Beaulieu. The Tardoire valley, normally with nothing to show its presence, from here is now picked out by a winding line of fog, looking as clouds do when viewed from an aircraft. Walking on, and a few minutes later, coming to the other side of the woods the fog in the valley has vanished and the low dawn sun illuminates the just harvested wheat field, stalks casting long shadows. Sienna blunders her way chasing birds she is destined to never catch and the moment is gone. They’ll be others though, perhaps tomorrow.


So why whoops? Well, the living room shelves and all are progressing, and Friday morning I was up a ladder attaching one of the book shelf units. I hit my head against the ladder when it slipped on the laminate. To my surprise and Delia’s consternation it was bleeding copiously and Delia got very squeamish about cleaning it up and dressing it. Not surprising since when I took it to the doctor it needed 4 stitches and my eye is now blackening “nicely”.

Interestingly, the Maison de Santé was being inaugurated that very day by the French Prime Minister and the Minister of Health. Apparently in a France with particular problems of “medical deserts” this new clinic in Chalus is (for the moment) on of the best in France – or so my doctor told me whilst stitching my head back together.

The PM and Minister had left by the time I got there, but the doctor, having been there for the formalities, had stayed behind a little while so I was lucky to catch him before he vanished on the legendary long French lunch break

Car and canine capers

I guess the highlight of this week is that we have our car back. It’s only been 5 days short of 4 months too!

It’s good to have it back, I actually prefer the right hand drive, I can see right into the roadside ditches.  We haven’t had the invoice yet (they probably have to order in extra paper because it’s so long!). So we still need to deal with the insurance claim. That side of things has been a nightmare – after writing and complaining, things did improve a bit but communication is still minimal, we are not impressed.

Work is progressing on the lounge woodwork. All the base cupboards are installed with a stained surface which closely matches the floor (surprisingly since it was me and my flawed colour vision that made the selection of stain). I have got a long way with the upper bookshelf units too, one complete the others all routed and cut to size. The weather being a bit unpredictable meant I had to clear enough space in the garage to work when I can’t sand and saw outside – as cupboards and shelves get built it all gets a bit cramped.  Delia also has to spray paint outside but I can’t sand at the same time so there’s some complex logistics involved. I’m really quite enjoying  the 3 days a week doing the diy, very different from hacking away at websites and trying not to get annoyed at customers who want to tell me what popped up in the bottom corner of their screen 10 minutes ago instead of pulling down the selection list like I told them… I’m also enjoying listen to music while I work – I’m shuffling my entire ipod and the variety from Bruckner to blues, Dvorak to dance and Einaudi to Eagles is good fun, I can’t concentrate too well with music whilst computing but music with diy seems to work well.

Siena has been enjoying having me lying on the floor for those hard to get at bits of the cupboards. Having me at her level seems to be an invitation to drop her rope on my head to play.

I hope to continue to enjoy the intermittent days of warmth and sunshine. The morning walks with Siena are around dawn which with the mist and all can be magical. Not so much this morning when I encountered four camo-wearing shotgun-carrying hunters and their dogs but that did mean that to avoid them I took a different walk around the lake, Siena walking carefully to avoid the fallen chestnuts and me enjoying the mist drifting across the lake surface.