The warm weather, interspersed with heavy showers of rain, has made the grass greener, and the remaining flowers lift their heads and decide not to allow themselves to die quite yet. Everything looks all shiny and washed: the new roofs on the house and barns shine, the car (which is never washed down) does not look quite so mucky, and the fields are bright with the colour of new growth. Of the spear heads of grass upwardly pointing. Of the plethora of mushrooms making pretty white blobs amongst the green.
And gosh! How the mushrooms have flourished this year. Loads of different types: little button ones, bigger flat headed ones, and others.
Inspired by this possible bounty, Forager Hubs picked a dishful and presented them to me, saying that perhaps we could have them with our bacon and eggs.
But no. There was no way I was going to put those on a plate of food. I had read that mushrooms account for more deaths in France than anything else, so definitely no! I suppose I could have taken them to the local chemist for analysis, to see if they were poison or not, but that would have been another job to add to the already long list, so perhaps next year......but not this year.
Those picked mushrooms now languish on the compost heap.
A phone call arrived yesterday. In brief it went: "Carole here. Don't suppose you would like to help us out only our choir leader is going back to the UK forever and I don't want to lead the choir because I want to sing and since you play the piano so sensitively I wondered if you could take over the choir because we have two concerts between now and Christmas and we have invited two other choirs to sing with us and do you think you could do this for us it is for our Cancer charity so it is for a good cause."
".....but don't think you have to do this. I wouldn't want to feel that you obligated or anything.....
Oh alright! So I said yes!
And so why do I do these things. I have never in my life led a choir, even a small choir of about seventeen. Oh I can read music, and I can sing, and I can play the piano, but I am still not experienced in leading a choir. Ho hum. Will have a go.
And indeed I did. Because I have now been to a choir rehearsal. Sat on the sidelines. Didn't interfere. But did manage to make a few tactful suggestions. Everyone said that they hoped I would come again. So I will. Only thing is that it is a mixed choir, of English, French and Dutch, the communal language being French. Not to worry. I shall have a go.
In the supermarket, though, a man approached me this morning.
"Hello, Vera isn't it? How are those pigs of yours, and are you selling any lambs yet?"
Strooth, but so many people seem to know of us while we don't seem to know who they are.
"And I hear that you are leading Carole's choir. Will be at the concert so we shall see you there then."
Ummmmmm. That put pressure on me. Didn't like the thought of word getting around that I was going to lead the choir. Would have preferred to remain anonymous!
An event last night: Hubs /Flock Master to the sheep was doing his usual night time 'gathering in' of the sheep. One missing. Got the rest up the side path and into the Sheep Paddock. Went in search of the missing one. She was in the small woodland in which the sheep take shelter from the sun and / or the rain. She was flat on her back with legs all akimbo and tummy and undercarriage fully exposed, and a large pile of poo at her rear end. His heart did a flip. Not another loss. Not another sheep to be incinerated. Having already lost two to natural causes over the last couple of months, to lose another one would really put a dent in our confidence about raising a flock of sheep.
He scrambled up the steep bank, which is to the rear of the little woodland, to have a closer look at her. It was not good. Her head was flopped over to one side. Her tongue was lolloping out of her mouth. She was definitely not in this world, he thought. So he did a shake on her tummy, just to make sure.
Crikey but up she sprang with a leap, and off she galloped, as spooked as hell. Further into the woodland she went. It was getting dark. She was amongst the brambles. Leave her for the night, that is what he had to do.
For the rest evening and all of the night it rested in our minds that we would be making another bonfire in the morning.
But no. We didn't have to. Because she woke us up in the morning with her shouts of annoyance at not being with the rest of her flock. At full voice she did yell. Maximum volume. Loud. She didn't stop until the rest of the sheep were back in the field. And only after Hubs / P******d off Shepherder had had to scamble his way through the bramble patch to shoo her out onto the main field.
So no bonfire, which was a relief. As I say, we are still not very confident about animal management but are gaining much experience along the way. But..........so why was she so 'out of it' last night? Why was she so 'stoned'?
The answer lies in those pretty white blobs sprinkled over the bright green grass. We think she partook of some mushrooms. That they made her drugged up. Put her into another world. Blissfully, said Hubs judging by the relaxed flat on her back with legs and head all akimbo state of her.
Now must close. Choir music to look at. Mangel roots to lift for the pigs. Remembrance Service in Castelnau to attend to. Sheep Arbre to be poo-cleaned. Dinner to cook. Eggs to go-find. Mushrooms to be foraged for............