I cracked and cut the hedge, a chore that took the best part of a week. That, and pruning the mulberry which has also had an excellent growing year, are the two gardening jobs I dislike the most. I never know if I can yet claim to be too old to do that sort of thing. I’ve given up on bungee jumping, tumultuous sex orgies and rock climbing, but I still have a vague notion of doing some scuba diving. The hedge clippings are beyond our boundary waiting for the tractor with its mower attachment that munches them up and scatters them across France. I flagged down the grandson and asked if he’d like me to clip his side of the hedge on our mutual border. ‘No. I like it and want to keep it as it is.’ I didn’t argue. For the first time this year he has done a little bit of work on his garage by erecting columns of rebar that look as though he intends to add another six feet to the block wall between us. I suspect he hopes I’ll jump up and down with fury, but the more we are sealed from each other, the happier I become.

The mouse season when the house is filled with sinister scurrying is drawing to a close. All that is left to endure is the smell as the casualties of the widely scattered poison decay. I used to employ traps but I became too squeamish after finding living victims with their faces smashed in. The suffering of others is much easier to tolerate when it’s out of sight.

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