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