Saturday 1st August

Just fell of my bike! I skidded on some gravel and couldn’t unclick my feet from my pedals fast enough. Hit the ground with a CLRUMP of 50-something year old bones on hard tarmac and grazed my arm, leg, hip and pride all in one go! Limped home with my tail between my legs and am sitting in front of my computer feeling sorry for myself and wondering how to squeeze out even a minimum sympathy vote from family members who appear to be either still in bed, (Lulu) out working, (Olivier) or licking their bottoms (Bisou).
Never mind! The weather is beautiful, warm and sunny, cloudless blue sky, with a gentle breeze preventing the sun from becoming oppressive, the kind of day that you want to bottle, and drink later with friends. So much to be gleeful about. The grapes are ripening on the vines, now emerald green, the figs will soon be turning from velvet green to dark purple, the Canigou rises up in the background, a focal point of beauty and fascination for all who gaze on it, and the colours of the Albères mountains sparkle in a kaleidoscope of colour as another beautiful day in the PO gets underway.<br>

Monday 17th August

How do you tell your hairy daughter that her beloved grandpa has prematurely vanished? She has been lying in front of his door all morning waiting for him to come out so she can jump up at him, great morning fun, as he always wears white shorts or trousers and gets into quite a flap!

“Get down Bisou. Kate, can’t you do something about this dog? Stop licking my leg! Kate, will you stop this dog licking my leg. Bisou, down! Kate, will you stop this dog rubbing up against me, he’s a menace!”
“SHE, Dad, and it’s only because she loves her Grandpa”
“ I am NOT her grandpa, it’s a dog!’

….. and so it goes on and can continue for up to 15 minutes much to my Dad’s exasperation and Bisou’s great glee. What a game!
Anyway, as previously mentioned, he has prematurely departed due to the heat, and is at this moment sitting in Leeds hoping for rain, sleet and snow and thanking Ryanair for delivering him from evil, or at least for delivering him from temperatures of 37° in the shade.

I have to admit, it IS hot, but we are very lucky as we have aircon and a pool, the combination of which means that we never really get too hot and just enjoy the beautiful weather. Dad, however, gets stir crazy if he doesn’t go out for his morning walk or his afternoon cup of tea (so hard to find a good one round here. Bloody French. It’s about time they learnt to make a decent cuppa with a scone or a toasted teacake) but although he tried to do both every day, he was defeated by the heat, and finally decided that the best place to be in the circumstances was Leeds!
We had some fun the first few days of his stay though, before the temperature became too much for him. Friends came round for lunch and after several games of headerball with Bisou, during which she burst every one, it was unanimously decided that the burst footballs could be this years new fashion accessory, the ‘bumbly bee’ look, and we had some great fun with our new hats. (Not me though. I am far too sensible for such fripperies. Please note my absence from silly photos). Bisou of course, thought that the half balls on people’s heads were a new and enticing target and probably needed bursting too, so any luckless head popping up near the side of the pool got a poke of the snout!
The next day, Dad asked if he could use one of the swimming hats to shelter his bald patch when he went for a swim. “What a good idea to have a selection of caps for guests to use” he said “but you should probably have bought some bigger sizes. Most of them won’t fit your average adult head.” No Dad, that’s because they are burst bit of plastic from beach balls, not really meant for wearing! you couldn’t make it up!
We had a perfect day yesterday. Despite my total lack of any artistic talent whatsoever, I finally took out my paints from several years ago and started painting flowers again. I have an obsession for sunflowers and bright colours and I try so hard – but they never quite resemble anything even vaguely recognisable. How I love it though! It’s such fun and even though the end result is never quite as intended (“Oooh well done. It’s very… er…. colourful” coo my dear friends who don’t want to hurt me) I enjoy it so much, which is surely what it is all about!

I even got Olivier to have a go yesterday – his is the little house with a lady in front on a rug. Not sure that he has any more talent than I have….. but we had a great giggle, several cold beers to ease the pain of the end effect, and lots of dips in the pool to soothe the furrowed artist brows!
Lucien, in the meantime, slept through all the giggling after a hard day at the beach. Life is so demanding here!

The cows are back in town – the air is a tingle with sweet bell music and their return reminded me that I got knocked over by their dog last year and the cuts and grazes from that little fall were only slightly less than my beginning of August big bike accident. They have loads of green green grass to eat after such a wet start to summer – Tom Jones would be proud – and we love to watch them chewing the cud, or licking at the salt. I thought this was a special treat for good cows but no. Apparently salt is an essential part of their daily diet and ‘stimulates saliva production, promoting digestion and making fodder more palatable.’ Salt deficiency in cows can lead to loss of appetite, poor milk production…… wow! Another useless fact to add to my repertoire.

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