An apparent downside of growing melons is that rain is channelled down the field between the lines of plastic cloches. And if, as over the last few days, there’s a lot of rain, much of the topsoil is washed down with it. And if the field is on a slope, it all ends up at the bottom and on the road. This morning we were held up by a council tractor that got stuck trying to clear it. The driver misjudged the extent of the tarmac beneath the foot of mud and lost one of its front wheels into the invisible ditch. It took another tractor with a chain to tow it back to dry land.

I’m told that ยข40k is about to be invested in the chateau roof. That will take experts and machinery. Otherwise it looks as though its renovation will be largely DIY by the owner. He has placed a shower in the cellar to which a power line has been jury-rigged from the road. At the moment he has a brother helping him but that is temporary. It should take him no more than a decade or two and I hope that his business, now being run by his wife, does not suffer.

This magnificent alien thing is a lizard orchid. It pops up in odd places each year and each year I have forgotten what it is and have to look it up again.

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