Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Sunday, January 14, 2024
This morning the first cold of 2024 arrived ....approppriatly on the 13th day of January. It was a pretty cold, mostly a light, nearly transparent mist that did not lift until well after lunch time - most un French, it might have stopped many people from going out to lunch, especially if they had to drive anywhere. But even so there was quite a lot of fast traffic going past La Chaise which lies on the top of a hill midway between two market towns - Tocane St Apre and St Astier....both of them in river valleys, Dronne and Isle respectively - they join up later.
One very splendid surprise: I subscribe to the local newspaper whose publishers guaranteed to deliver it by one o clock every day and so far this has been true. It is usually the simple yellow post office van that brings it. An unkindness in me makes me wonder whether the postie does not have to hide somewhere to make the time come true. Occasionally, when I have nothing better to do, I wander up to the road and the post box a few minutes before 13.00 to see if I can see the yellow postal van lurking down the Tocane part of the road. I never have seen anything - but then there is a little hamlet called Chantepoule just down the road, perhaps a friendly resident offers a warm coffee.
Sometimes when I get warning of the van's possible arrival I wander quite aimlessly up the path to the post box and manage to greet the postman, congratulate him on his timely arrival. The usual postman, an elderly man with a Santa Claus beard, goes slightly pink and sometimes we shake hands as I thank him.
However, today's mist did delay the delivery but it was compensated in the most splendid way. Just around 13.30 I heard the rush of an engine coming up from the St Astier side .....a yellow and white van drew up, turned in a circle to face back to St Astier, a young man got out - and put the weekend edition of my newspaper in the box. I could not get there quick enough to shake hands and thank....but I did notice it was not the usual yellow all over post van - it was yellow and white, the colouring of the post office's extra fast and secure delivery service - Colissimo.
How's that for service?
As always mist softens
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
So a few days ago, TDH* Martin - who is now fully responsible for woodland management, not least new planting - but that will be another story ---
Well Martin set off with his trusty chain saw to deal with a copse of three skinny chestnut trees. 'Deal with' is of course a euphism for 'cut down'...He cleared the land around the trees, dead branches, excess fallen leaves and a surprising amount of chestnuts on the ground....anyone would think we did not have wild boar who normally hover up such delicious treats, especially once they have cleared all the acorns...but..passons...
Martin settled himself comfortably on his knees, started his chain aw and cut the recommended V near the base of the tree - making sure it would fall well away from him. He says the tree wobbled, its head waved and it moved from its cut root....only to establish itself firmly into the soggy soil a few inches from its rooting place. Martin swears the tree did not look at him with scorn - but it felt like that...
So Martin re-starts his chain saw, cuts another perfect V at the new base of the young chestnut and waited for it to fall exactly where he - Martin - had planned it should fall. The chestnut shudders, wobbles, the head shakes.....and it planted itself again a few inches further into the soggy soil. If young chestnut trees could grin, Martin swears it would have grinned at him.
Now Martin swears he was not cross with the tree, it was just that he had other trees to attend to, other things to do...So once again he cut the perfect V just above ground level on the chestnut's slender trunk.
This time the tree conceded and fell to the ground as pre-ordained. But this leaves me with nagging problems: should I burn the wood of an animate tree in my indoor fire places, should I sell it to someone else, without telling the story...perhaps as the wood dries its soul will drift into another tree...Not a happy thought.
Later I heard that Stephanie (a girl) had got cross and lassoed the trees, then pulled so they would fall..
*= Tall, dark,handsome