CricketCricket facingSeeking shade yesterday afternoon, a cleverly camouflaged cricket clung to the sitting room curtain draped over a table.  Becoming curious, it turned to face the camera.

Based on Victor Hugo’s great novel, Bille August’s film of Les Miserables is a  splendid 1998 version of the tale probably best known for the long-running musical production.  But then no screened story starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, and Claire Danes could be a flop.  Neeson is his usual brooding, colossal self; Rush a suitably sinister, cynical, Javert; Thurman a convincing Fantine; and Danes a delectable Cosette.  It was good to see Peter Vaughan in a cameo role when I enjoyed watching it yesterday evening.

This morning I walked to within sight of the Dutchman’s house in Ste Innocence, turned, and retraced my steps in order not to be late for the usual excellent Le Code Bar lunch.  I sought a mobile phone signal since I haven’t received one for more than a day.  High on a hill not far from Pertus, I found one and was able to call Jackie to let her know I was still alive.  It was far in the distance on the road that runs through this hamlet that I was drawn by a rich golden glow lit up by the sunshine.Rudbeckia  As I neared it I realised it was a hedge of blooming rudbeckia. Canna lilyA garden on the outskirts of Sigoules sported some fine Canna lilies.

We began with a noodle and cheese soup so well flavoured with garlic that, had it been pictured in the Dandy and Beano comics of my childhood, would have had wavy lines radiating above it.  Although not quite cow pie, the enormous steak and chips that was the main course would probably have satisfied Desperate Dan.  I was honour bound to finish the chips, otherwise it would have been such a disappointment to Max, but it was touch and go.

As I walked down rue St Jacques from the bar, a strong caustic smell beset my nostrils.  Cellar street entryApproaching No 6 I saw that the cellar street door was open.  The Renov Conseil 24 team had, wearing masks, entered the cellar and applied liberal quatities of Javel, a powerful cleanser, to the contents.  I was masked up and Saufiene, once we had both bent double to get in, gave me a tour.  Apart from these nether regions not having been opened for about eighteen months, the pump renewed after the flood does not appear to be working.

Trapdoor reinforcementBecause the street entry has to remain at least half open for airing, in order to prevent unauthorised ingress Benoit applied enough heavy bags to the trapdoor to ensure that no-one, except perhaps Liam Neeson in yesterday’s role as Jean Valjean, or maybe Ron Crabbe, to raise it from beneath.  Ron Crabbe was Dad’s young removal colleague and friend of fifty years ago, of phenomenal strength, whose renowned feat was to crawl under a piano and lift it unaided.  Dad and I could shift one between us, not always, as reported on 29th August last year, with total success, but Ron’s prize turn was off the scale.


Saufiene, Clement, and Thierry arrived on time this morning and waited for delivery of the new doors and windows, overseeing their delivery and stacking in the hall and garden.  As they were leaving they noticed that the deliverymen had left a huge wooden palette blocking the pavement.  Saufiene undertook to have it removed in the afternoon.

Le Code Bar at lunchtime was full to bursting, as must have been most of their customers.  A tasty vegetable bean and noodle soup was followed by a beautifully presented ham and egg salad.  A succulent steak with a mound of crisp, bronzed, chips was the main course.  Dessert was the delicate chocolate mousse on a soft biscuit base served with creme anglaise.

After this I needed a rest before walking the Pomport road and donkey’s field loop. Lake landscape, Sigoules The profusion of cowslips, dandelions, buttercups, daisies, and other wild flowers I cannot name; the may and cherry blossom; and the willow tree by the lake must have been deceived by the reportedly recent warmer spell into thinking it was no longer winter, for it was again very cold.  Cattle lying down in the field by Chateau Cluzeau gave a warning of the rain that set in before I returned to rue Saint Jacques.

The donkey was lurking behind a tree at the top of the hill.  Donkey honkingWe were enjoying a friendly chat until he set up a deafening honking and tried to fell the tree.  With this on one side and the horrific snarling and barking of the four evil-looking dogs baring their salivating fangs and hurling themselves at their wire fence enclosure on the other side of the narrow stony footpath, the hubbub was quite terrifying.  Any fear was no doubt exacerbated by having, last night, watched Liam Neeson’s six companions in ‘The Grey’, translated by the French as ‘Territory of the Wolves’, one by one, being torn to pieces in the frozen Alaskan wilderness.  Neeson himself was magnificently capable and brooding as usual.  He didn’t survive either, but that was left to our imagination as he prepared himself for a fight to the death with the leader of the pack.