We have left the mayhem and political madness of London behind and are once again out at the beautiful Moulin. And it is hot! As it turns out it’s the hottest summer France has had since the revolution, and it is very dry indeed. Forest fires are raging in Bordeaux 100 miles away and we wake one morning to be shrouded in Bordeaux smoke. Every barbecue we light has a bucket of water beside it just in case.
The Oak hasn’t recovered and the two newly moved fruit trees are looking out for the count. So every evening I haul a few buckets of water from the river to try to coax them back. After a couple of weeks the little apple (I think), closest to the field kitchen, has revived and is showing some new leaves. The oak and the other plum are sprouting up from the base, so all is not lost.
We are here for a month and the time stretches ahead of us, lazily over the horizon. We fill our time with markets, Bricaunts, the local Meshwi, or lamb barbecue, swimming at Condac and the new lakes that Claire and the girls discovered about 45 minutes away. The freezer is full of ice-cream and the house is full of friends and family.
My daughter brought out six of her school friends and they spend their time happily sun bathing and shopping at the local emouse, which is a bit like Oxfam, but regularly topped up with great clothes, crockery and nick nacks all for a few Euros.
I rebuild a fence, finish making my stockade style fence/gate up at the field kitchen, and instal some rather lovely solar lights. This place is a joy.
I also spend half a day cutting a path round the field the other side of the river. I have a sort of plan it could be like a field equivalent of cloisters, a walk of a few hundred yards, that you could pace around, thinking meditative thoughts. It sort of works. Dom, our local groundsman and aborialist, has the idea of cutting more paths round it and making different areas within it for flowers and trees. Claire is keener to just get it cut before it turns to bramble. It’s a long term project. I've made a little bridge across the river into the field, so the journey has begun.
At the entrance to the drive, there has always been a giant fir tree, its branches reaching down and into the ground, a great block of dark green, I’ve never liked it. This trip this has become the project. I take out the lower branches, revealing a rather beautiful tree underneath, and opening up the view of the leet and lawns as you come down the drive. A great success. Now bonfires are banned we have to chip all the branches which takes about three days. However it provides great chippings to make our path from the steps to the field kitchen, so everything is put to use.