Sunday, June 6, 1999

06/06/99 Sumer icumen an'all

Back for another brief blurb whilst Margo slumbers fitfully in front of NYPD Blues ...

Nearly lost Jeremy last weekend: we went off and up to Montlambert, not too far from here (about 4km back down the road towards Montmelian, and 600m higher up) where the paragliders take off from, for an evening BBQ. There's a sort of little plateau which turns into an 80° slope which falls 200m or so into the forest below, and the kids were playing there with Pierre's motorbike helmet (do not bother asking why) when suddenly Jeremy came scrambling back up to us bawling his head off - they'd been playing at the top of the slope and he'd been given the helmet to bring back up to us and as it was about as heavy as he is he'd dropped it and it had gone all the way down! Lucky he didn't follow it, I suppose.

Apart from that little incident it was a really nice evening, although a bit chilly: 600m makes quite a difference in temperature, and I wasn't really dressed for it.

The 205 is still at the garage waiting for an assessor to drop by and say whether it's worth repairing or not: if I don't hear back this week I'm going to get seriously pissed off. I no longer know how it works in NZ, but in France insurance companies don't have their own assessors: there are little firms of the beasts around the place to which the work is sub-contracted. It's supposed to foster independence and make sure that the assessment is impartial, but in practice I'm not sure that it works like that ... never mind. When I started to get impatient around the middle of last week, having rung the garage every evening to discover that yes, the assessor had dropped by, but no, he hadn't looked at my car, I finally managed to get in touch with the insurance company only to discover that they'd cocked up and assigned the job to a firm that doesn't go anywhere near the garage concerned: I suppose they'd probably have worked out that they'd made a mistake in a month or so, but I don't really want to wait that long.

Especially as just at the moment the 205 would be bloody useful: there's rubbish to take to the tip, concrete and sand to bring here ... and in a short while Renaud is going to need it to start shifting into his new house (the boot of the Clio - the other work car - is fine for people who travel light, like with a couple of average handbags, but not for much else).

Margo's shop is still closed, probably until the end of next week. They have to get rid of all the rubble on the roof and shore up the wall of the apartment that exploded to make sure that the rest of the place doesn't fall down. It's all quite worrying from a busines point of view, as every day they're closed is a day they don't take any money.

Anyway, sumer is icumen, but it's not here yet: we'd planned a lovely BBQ with Renaud & Sophie yesterday, but as it turned out had to eat inside, it'd started to get almost chilly. Then the rain set in, and kept going till midday. Boo hiss! Same sort of weather predicted for the rest of the week, which is no fun at all. The wood strawberries are out on the banks of the stream though, which is nice for all of us. The kids go down and get what they can, then I go down and eat the rest.

And the grass is still growing, although it's slowly getting a bit tamer - or has learnt to keep its head down when I bring the mower down. It's not an English lawn, and probably never will be - more what the French call "gazon rustique" (read "rugby field") - but at least it's well-trimmed enough to make it a pleasure to go down and loll. Most of those who saw it when we bought the place are now suitably impressed, not to say amazed.

Looks as though we're in for a bumper crop of apples and plums this autumn too: the apple tree is literally bowed down under the weight (luckily Wednesday's storm blew a lot of the smaller fruit off, saving us the bother of picking it off by hand) and the three plum trees are well loaded too. This is good: we're in sore need of plum sauce.

Both kids are well: Malyon is eagerly counting the days until her birthday, which she may well celebrate in a 747. Jeremy is definitely getting up her nose, and while she's away we'll definitely have to organise things so that she has a room of her own. Got another 18 months, filed and forgotten. Jeremy is still Jeremy, with that bizarre anatomical adaptation (from the Vickridge side, no doubt) whereby both ears are directly connected by some sort of tube going through the brain without being hooked up to it, meaning that what goes in one ear really does come straight out the other.

Yesterday was St Igor's day, so all those of you who know an Igor and forgot to wish him a Happy Saint's Day may go off and hang their heads in shame.

Trevor & Margo