This has been rather an unpleasant week. If I rewind to Sunday night and Monday morning (and look at the pictures I took then), I can hardly believe that everything looks so idyllic.
For once I had some help in the garden on Sunday – the Bon Viveur was keen to do some strimming and I was happily weeding and planting. Nice work, given all the lovely rain we’ve had and how beautifully things are growing.
While weeding, I noticed that a bull had entered my neighbour’s small orchard: I chased him off. I hope you are not unfortunate enough to know how much damage cattle can do in the garden?
While we were sitting having a glass of wine on the Vine Terrace he appeared in the garden itself – now 9pm and the BV is in his dressing gown (having got thoroughly dirty doing the strimming, clothes spinning in the washing machine). What a spectacle – two mad people rushing about and shouting, throwing stones – and all over a garden that doesn’t boast (at the moment) a single cabbage.
Eventually we were successful. But my experience of last year taught me that if he had developed the ‘habit’, he would be back. (Last year it was 9 every morning, 6 in the evenings).
I am married to a mini-hero. Faster than you can say ‘shoo’, he was all over the place, turning the garden into Fort Knox.
Using ladders …
old posts from the garden shed …
(My little catalpa sleeps under a dustbin at night and reappears every morning about 8am.)
and garden chairs …
I felt safe!
Unfortunately that was probably the happiest moment in the week.
The following morning at 5.30 am, while on his way back to work, the BV’s car broke down about 3 kilometres from the house. We thought we were lucky! So close. Unfortunately our kind garage people were shut that day and I did not ring the insurance recovery service (would you, that close to home?)
I woke up on Tuesday morning to a phone call from the police in nearby Jussey, to say that they had found the car, driver’s window broken, car radio stolen – worse, two of my husband’s precious wheels, of which he was so fond, had been removed. I will never understand how even a perfectly nice man like my husband can actually fall in love with the wheels of a car.
It is now two days later. I am exhausted with being passed around between gendarmeries in two départements and gabbling away in French non-stop with insurance companies, etc. It also seems as if we may not be able to afford to repair the original breakdown problem.
But I have learned two important facts about the French gendarmerie:
- They do not automatically make a report in this situation – apparently it is a legal requirement, but I presume if they just ‘don’t bother’ it helps to keep their crime figures low. (They’d rather get the département next door to handle it.) How can this be?
- Being a gendarme is not an easy job. Apparently they are not allowed to publicly complain about their own situation. They are paid by central government. My friend who sat patiently and waited for me in her car while I was lodging my complaint in Jussey told me that a couple of years ago the gendarmes in Bourbonne-les-Bains went completely without pay for several months. Nobody in the wider population was aware until the wives actually went out on the street and protested.
Can you believe it?
Not many pretty pictures this time, but I hope to do an update on my cut flower garden (still not ravaged by the bull) as well as a report on the roses in the next few days.