Monthly Archive for September, 2018

The end

I’ve been doing this blog for more than eight years – 300,000 words’ worth – and I reckon it’s time I stopped. It began as a way of reminding myself what happened and what struck me as odd or interesting about life in France compared to the UK. But France is now what is normal and something has to be very odd indeed before I notice.

There’s also a serious drawback to this kind of blog and that’s because I live here, which makes it impossible to mention much of what happens because it would cause offence. Perforce the most interesting and bizarre events have to be omitted or heavily censored. If you, dear reader, have been following it for a while and will feel deprived, I apologise. The site is paid for until next year, so it’ll still be here. Perhaps I may even add the occasional piece to it, if I don’t lose any more marbles.


I cracked and cut the hedge, a chore that took the best part of a week. That, and pruning the mulberry which has also had an excellent growing year, are the two gardening jobs I dislike the most. I never know if I can yet claim to be too old to do that sort of thing. I’ve given up on bungee jumping, tumultuous sex orgies and rock climbing, but I still have a vague notion of doing some scuba diving. The hedge clippings are beyond our boundary waiting for the tractor with its mower attachment that munches them up and scatters them across France. I flagged down the grandson and asked if he’d like me to clip his side of the hedge on our mutual border. ‘No. I like it and want to keep it as it is.’ I didn’t argue. For the first time this year he has done a little bit of work on his garage by erecting columns of rebar that look as though he intends to add another six feet to the block wall between us. I suspect he hopes I’ll jump up and down with fury, but the more we are sealed from each other, the happier I become.

The mouse season when the house is filled with sinister scurrying is drawing to a close. All that is left to endure is the smell as the casualties of the widely scattered poison decay. I used to employ traps but I became too squeamish after finding living victims with their faces smashed in. The suffering of others is much easier to tolerate when it’s out of sight.


We were invited to lunch, a barbecue. The table was in the midst of the mating ground of a group of white admiral butterflies. They sat on our heads, on our shoulders and waited for a female to come by with whom to copulate. I am no good at sexing white admirals but nothing seemed to turn up. What did arrive was a large bat and it certainly ticked the boxes. It darted about for ten minutes with all the butterflies hot on its tail. I don’t suspect any of them had their wicked way with it.

I’ve given up smoking once more. I do this quite often but have, so far, not managed to make it stick. The trouble is that I don’t try very hard because I decided that it’s probable that I will die of something and it might as well be tobacco. But I checked the age of my heart. It’s 95 according to the questionnaire. Sod that. If it’s that far gone, I see no point in trying to be healthy.