I woke up early this morning and listened to the doves cooing outside my window – they are there every morning and quite noisy at times. The cuckoo that lives in the garden across the road went on and on and I could hear other birds, little wrens, blue tits screeching a warning sound and sparrows tweeting and other birds that I can’t tell without looking.
Pierre went past in his tractor, dragging a trailer with a chain that grated on the road surface all the way up to the fields just outside the village and Monsieur J across the road left for his allotment, tooting his horn as he went (you can read about him and Madame J in the path of true love is not always smooth!)
Monsieur M who lives round the corner has dogs – lots of them. Last count he had 25 dogs. He apparently takes in stray dogs and I worry that I am going to end up like that eventually – there are so many lost dogs here. Anyway, they all started howling and barking – probably saw a cat across the road or something…
I finally gave in and got up.
The sky is covered in a fine mist but behind it is a beautiful deep blue and the mist is rapidly clearing, and as I sit talking to you the blue patches are getting bigger. The air is warm and the smell of lilac and wisteria is strong. The wisteria is late in my garden but growing over the woodshed just outside my office window it is a gorgeous deep purple this year. The chickens in the garden have been building dirt baths everywhere in anticipation of a hot and sunny day. They are very lazy when the weather is good and Kendo Nagasaki the cockerel dozes nearly all day and comes to life early in the evening when he chases the girls round the pen.
Fred and Flo the geese are hiding under the trees at the bottom of the garden trying to get a bit of shade, occasionally they’ll jump in their little pool, flap about a lot and then go back to the trees.
Dickey and Rapunzel the ducks are under the chicken coop in a giant dirt bath dug out by the chickens last year and which they have commandeered. Despite the fact that we made them a lovely duck house they prefer to sleep in the chicken crater all year round and Rapunzel lays eggs in the chicken coop with the chickens. While she’s in the coop Dickey sits anxiously at the bottom of the ladder awaiting her return and not letting the chickens in. Dickey and Rapunzel have become very close since we lost Belle the other duck and I think we may have to get some more lady ducks to give poor Rapunzel a break.
Loulou, Enry Cooper, Winston and Ginger Roger the cats are playing in the garden – they chase each other round the chicken pens, up and down the trees, through the grass. The grass in places is waist high, we’ve had a horrible spring, officially the coldest and wettest in 25 years. This has had a knock on effect in the garden which is somewhat jungle-like in places, the hedges have grown higher than I’ve ever seen them. The cats like to play early in the morning while it still quite cool – after that they will find somewhere to snooze and watch the goings on – probably from the wood pile or on the table in the gazebo. Ginger Roger usually sleeps on a chair in the kitchen – he’s deaf and is easily scared and feels safer in the house even on a scorching hot day.
Frank Bruno, Ella Fitzgerald and Churchill the dogs have had an early walk. Churchill is a small dog with thin fur and he loves the heat. He sunbathes all day – arms and legs spread out. Bruno and Ella are much bigger with thick fur coats and they seek shade when it’s hot. Bruno in particular suffers so we fill an old metal tub with water and when it all gets too much he flicks water over himself.
Today is going to be another beautiful day…