After a wobble or two the chateau seems properly sold. A dozen or so locals were invited over to sit by the front door and enjoy fizzy drink and food barbied in a mighty fireplace inside. The evening was warm; the company on good form and kept on its toes by large and stupid tiger mosquitoes lumbering over from the decayed swimming pool to be swatted. The expert had to be called out several times to remove the colonies of honeybees that had set up house there. The priority is to make the roof watertight.

The arrival of summer seems on hold for three or four days. It’s inconvenient to have donned shorts and then having to dig out the trousers and sweaters that had been put away till November.

We took a visitor to Condom last week. He asked the population. I thought of the cathedral, the smart civic works and monuments and guessed 25,000. Wiki says 7,000 odd, half the size of Cowdenbeath. It’s the same for anywhere round here. If asked I grossly overestimate the numbers who live in such places.

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