A temperature of 17 degrees, as today, is outrageous at the beginning of January. The damn grass shoots up between the towering pyramids of worm casts and even the dogs slither across them in search of a secure footing to drop a turd. The last bout of wild weather brought down an important dead tree at the chateau. With the electricity poles gone and the cables underground it was used as a perch by every passing bird. Jays would sit and glower at adjacent buzzards and every branch could be festooned with collared doves.
An extra 8 cents was added to the cost of diesel at the pumps at the beginning of the year. Bloody Macron, I was told. I thought he was doing rather well with his poll rating back above 50% but no. Unemployment benefit would be cut off if claimants refused more than three jobs offered to them. I said I thought that sounded not unreasonable, particularly if the government loosens bureaucracy and allows more jobs to be created. I was wrong. If a man is a baker, why should he accept any other job? Thatcherism has still to catch on here.

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