The husband (OH) was in London this week and I stayed behind. I quite like being on my own in France – I don’t have to make copious cups of tea or fetch tools, paint or bricks in my role as gofer to OH’s Guv and I can watch crap TV without being moaned at.
It wasn’t always like this though.
In the early days of having a house in France, if the OH went off for work I hated being on my own here. I live in a very small village – population 146. I have no immediate neighbours; it is very quiet and at night very dark. We only got street lamps (three of them!) last year. The house is old and creaks a lot.
The first time the OH went away on a course for a week, I told my family I was a little worried about being on my own for so long – what would I do if there was a power cut? How would I cope if the gas ran out (we don’t have mains gas, we use gas bottles for the oven)? What if a stranger’s car broke down outside and they knocked on the door in the middle of the night and asked to use the phone/loo/spare bedroom/me?!
I had Ella and Churchill the dogs but they are worse than useless, Ella is terrified of strangers and Churchill loves everyone and would lick an intruder to death.
Anyway, the first day went fine, it was sunny, I was busy, got loads done without the usual interruptions. In the evening I settled down to watch TV; I had pre-recorded programmes that were guaranteed not to be scarey, no murders, no blood/gore, no thrillers, no supernatural stuff. I have a very vivid imagination and I knew I could wind myself up to a crescendo. The OH rang, I assured him everything was fine.
About quarter to one in the morning I decided to try to sleep even though I knew I’d probably be laying awake listening to noises for a while… the phone rang.
I picked it up thinking it was the OH checking that I’d gone to bed and I heard a chilling voice say “I know you’re on your own… I know where you are…” and it definitely wasn’t the OH. You know when you get that complete panic feeling, you can feel your heart beating wildly, the blood rushes through your ears, your hands get clammy. “Who is this?” I asked in a quavering voice “I’m coming to get you…” said the raspy voice and then continued much in this vein. I was utterly terrified, who the hell could it be, who would do this?
Suddenly it dawned on me. “Dad” I said “Is that you?”
“Ha – you got me” said my Dad. No, I think he got me. If life is like a box of chocolates – my Dad was definitely a nutty one!