After eight or so years here, it seemed wise to obtain a French driving license. I have procrastinated till now because it means involving myself with the French bureaucracy. What triggered the desire was that, a, Brexit is looming, and, b, for another couple of weeks it can be done by post through some centre in Nantes. After that it will require a personal visit to the dragon ladies in the Prefecture in Montauban and that must be avoided at all costs. Their goal is always to spurn you because you are either insufficiently or incorrectly documented for the purpose and that varies depending on the judgement of the particular dragon that confronts you. So I have spent and afternoon gathering the necessary bumf and will dispatch it tomorrow with the faint hope that it will smoothly go through the system.

The laurel hedge that surrounds this property has grown prodigiously – more so than usual – and my spirit quails at the thought of cutting it. In normal years I teeter at the edge of disappearing into the thing in an effort to reach its more remote portions. This year I don’t think I’d make it. So I hope to importune the company that keeps the village greenery in trim and get them to do it. A problem is that I cannot access some of the hedge because it would mean entering the grandson’s property. And last time I asked he refused permission because he was cross with me. I shall try asking again and see if he has mellowed. We have had a very peaceful summer as he has a new job some 30 miles away and has hardly touched his construction site on the other side of the hedge.

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