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Bon weekend from a bird lover in France

Three cats in an enclosed courtyard

Here in my bit of France the long run of good weather has come to an end. Much as I love wall to wall sunshine, the farmers were getting rather desperate about the lack of rain. Thierry, the farmer who lives up the top of our hill has been going past in his tractor with a big smile on his face even as a river of rain runs alongside him, normally it would bring out a scowl.

It’s been good for me too as it means I don’t mind staying indoors to write – and I’m flat out on the Summer magazine and can’t wait to share it with you (subscribe here – for free!).

As I sat down to write the newsletter, I was interrupted by a thud followed by screeching and squawking from a pair of blackbirds outside the pigsty window where I work. And no, there are no pigs in here, it’s all been cleaned up and turned into a little writing den for me with books covering every inch of wall! Anyway, I stopped writing and went to see what the kerfuffle was all about.

I found a scene of drama and dastardly deeds about to develop as I stepped into our little courtyard. A young blackbird was flapping about clumsily on the floor. Tigger-the-cat-who-will-always-be-a-kitten and Mimi-the-Marmaduke-Moggy were sat on the roof of the pigsty watching entranced, sharpening their claws and flashing their sharp teeth. As yet there was no sign of the rest of the feline gang: Winston, Shadow, Loulou, Ugly Cat, Fat Cat, Terry Thomas, Little Socks and Marie-Antoinette. (Here they are on Instagram).

I called to Mark (my other half) who lured as many cats into the house as he could with treats while I kept watch on the bird but cats being what they are, three of them were hiding. The little bird had crashed into the window of the pig sty and was stunned. We sat watching for ages to make sure no cats came to commit carnage.

Eventually the bird got its breath back and took off, flying low across the courtyard, followed by its parents (we guess) and over the wall and up into the lime tree between my garden and my neighbour Claudette.

We let the yowling cats out of the house and work resumed. There is never a dull moment in the middle of nowhere rural France, though you’ll never read of the dramas anywhere else but here!

Wishing you a bon weekend from a proud blackbird godmother in France,

Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream  and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life and Toujours la France: Living the Dream in Rural France (April 2022) all available as ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online.

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