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Bon weekend from a cowgirl in France

Cows in a field against a pink sky - a timeless countryside scene


I hope that you and yours are well.

Well I can add cowgirl to my cv after last week’s walk with Ronnie and Reggie the Labrador pups. We (me and my other half Mark) were walking along the chemin de Saint Michel, a narrow winding path that runs through the fields and forests of the 7 Valleys in Pas de Calais.

It was one of those lovely early sunny mornings when the sky looks like it’s getting married and wearing a lacy veil, the sun was sun rising over the top of the hill of Old Gaylord, a farmer of indeterminate age who keeps cows. It was as usual tranquil, no sign of the owls that sometimes follow us, a few croaking pheasants complained about us intruding, a couple of deer stood on the edge of the forest not sure whether to run this way or that, and a hare sat stock still watching to make sure the dogs weren’t coming his way. The hedges are in full bloom, wild roses, wild clematis, delicate pink hawthorn blossoms, wild sage and poppies swaying in a light breeze. On we walked for a mile or so.

‘How lucky I am’ I was thinking to myself ‘to have this on my doorstep, ‘how peaceful, no noise’ when suddenly the dogs bolted off barking furiously. We rounded a bend in the road and there in front of us were ten cows. They’d escaped from Old Man Gaylord’s field and were having a great time wandering about and munching on the wildflowers in the hedgerows. Luckily you can count on one hand how many cars go by in an hour in these parts.

We calmed Ronnie and Reggie who were immensely proud of their ‘discovery.’

‘You’re not leaving me here with this lot while you go and get Gaylord’ I said to Mark. He did that once before when we found Guillaume’s mad goat wandering about, it didn’t take any notice of me trying to round it up while Mark fetched Guillaume, and I was pretty sure 10 cows wouldn’t either. ‘We’ll just have to get them back in ourselves’.

The beautiful big-eyed black and white cows were absolutely fascinated by the dogs, so I walked in front with Reggie and Ronnie, and they followed. Mark walked behind in case a car came. We trotted along in a sedate convoy, though Reggie and Ronnie were confused about being followed. Back past the fields of potatoes and maize, back past the Alley of the Angels (my neighbour Jean-Claude says it’s called that because hundreds of years ago a local girl was said to have seen an angel there), all the way back to Old Man Gaylord’s field. I felt like the Pied Piper of cows.

The gate to the field was open so I led the dogs in and the cows followed, fixated on the objects of their desire. Then I had to run back to the gate with the dogs and get out quick before they followed and came home with us. I know that my neighbours think I’m mad already with all my dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, geese, a dove and a hedgehog, but babysitting this lot – Holy Cow, that would really seal the deal!

Wishing you a lovely weekend from a cowgirl in France, and please enjoy a read of the totally FREE Summer issue of The Good Life France Magazine: magazine.thegoodlifefrance.com

And, I hope you find a ton of inspiration from the top picks in this week’s newsletter.

Bisous from my little corner of France,

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

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