The commune declared a secheresse, a natural catastrophe due to shrinkage of the soil and thus causing cracks in houses. Under instruction I have examined the numerous small fissures that seem to be part and parcel of almost every house round about and will point them out in a few weeks when the expert comes to assess all the damage. The house was built prior to 1750 and has done well to have no more than one iron staple holding one corner together. However I have been told that repair money may be forthcoming.
I went to seek advice on the subject at the mairie and, while there, asked whether I should update my name on the voter’s list, as I am now French. The clerk laughed. ‘French? With an accent like yours?’ I was rather hurt, as I had thought I was doing quite well.
This may have been the last real summer day and we lunched in front of the abbey in Moissac – a thousand years of repairs and patchwork and that stunning entrance. Even at this time of year, it’s still a splendid place for people watching. You can’t have a comparable experience in the UK.

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