There’s such a lot to catch up on since we’ve had such severe weather so far this year. The snow put everything in the garden on hold for three weeks and then this rain has kept us inside for another three. It seemed like March had woken up after the snows melted, but then there we were in temperatures colder than November and December with loads of rain – and not that it was unwelcome, but it was so cold, too. That means there’s six weeks of gardening to deal with – and admittedly not much grew in the snow, not the same in the rain and the cold, so I’m off out to try and get the lawnmower started. The little primer button has popped, and since it works on suction, it doesn’t work and therefore the mower is hard to start. Not only that, but the blade is knackered. It’ll do.
I sense a new mower is on the horizon – a bit of a pisser because we’ve only had it two years, and to have a blade that’s almost unrecognisable, as well as a burst primer – and it wasn’t cheap, as little in France is, unless it’s the world around you. I get the sense Sarkozy would tax you for that, if he could. I’m still reeling from my tax bill. Ironically, despite the fact that I earn so little, I still pay the same amount of income tax as someone earning a lot more.
And so the more you can enjoy in this place for free – the friendship, the sunshine (albeit a little later than expected), the vegetables, the hedgerow harvest – and the more you can make do and mend, the better.
The bottom of the garden is still under water – the stream that comes through is back – though it’s sitting water, not moving. It’s only run-off from the road, thankfully, and not from the Tardoire. Whilst I’m hoping all the rain has flushed the pollution away, I wouldn’t want any of the animals going in it. So although the field across from us is not flooded, the area under the troll bridge is a quagmire.
The water comes all the way up to the fourth vine row (I know… that’s a lot of vines) and beyond. I was mowing before and realised it actually goes all the way around the edge of the ‘lawn’. ‘Lawn’ is a loose way of referring to the very abundant dandelion bed. It’s no lawn as I know. Anyway… I’m wondering if our puits have filled up. I’m out to look after. These puits – for those of you who don’t know – is a hole. Well holes and the likes.
Now you have to declare your puits to your mairie – presumably so they can be taxed, I’d guess. Nobody wants you getting free water! They say it’s to do with water cleanliness, as I guess it is, but it’s a good way to ensure you have to buy all your water from the state.
I shall not be drinking this water, just so you know.
The dogs had a little paddle – Tilly loves getting her feet wet – but it wasn’t for Noireau. He still follows me around the garden like a little shadow.
For a rescue cat, he is very content. He will sit on my knee for hours upon end and wouldn’t move. He sleeps between me and Molly right now – sometimes on Molly, and sometimes on me. Tilly’s having issues. Bless her. She also found a bone that Molly had brought back from a walk ages ago. It looks like a cow bone – it’s huge. But she dragged it up to the house – it was seriously how I imagine dragging those stones in Stone Henge might have been – she’s a very tenacious little dog. And now the bone is in her bed and she is growling at anyone who comes near and might want to steal her dirty big dinosaur bone. Nobody does, but that doesn’t matter.
The next jobs on the agenda are to paint the toilet doors – they’re still brown, when the rest of the lean-to is now white and orange – and then to mow the area around the vegetable patch. I need to plant stuff out but I suspect the soil is still too damp. It looks like we’ve got a few colder days next week, and some rain, but nothing like we’ve had.
After that, the never-ending tasks of spring and summer can begin! I needed to cut my path through first, though, otherwise I’d have been wading through grass and heaven only knows what else.
And finally… a passage through the wilderness…