Friday, February 12, 2010


No sooner had I pressed the 'post' button yesterday morning than the tree surgeons arrived. Despite frequent flurries of snow they were soon at work , shimying up trees, their power saws buzzing away like so many angry hornets. For the village the arrival of a fleet of large orange trucks and 'out of towners' was the most exciting thing to happen in many a year . A constant stream of neighbours, passers by, builders lads, gendarmes, pompiers and the generally curious walked into the garden to find out what was going on and offer unsolicited and unheeded advice. The mayor was there from early on, resplendent in a rather fetching blue felt pork pie hat, directing traffic and interposing himself as the chief 'coordinateur'. The poor man managed to hurt his right hand when setting up the Christmas creche and now , unable to shake hands, thrusts an elbow towards you in greeting. I found myself briefly touching the profered elbow much as a medieval leper might touch the robe of a passing monarch. Oh, the social pitfalls that await the unsuspecting foreigner.

The snow squalls got more frequent as the afternoon wore on. Undaunted by the low cloud and 'white outs' the men working at the top of the trees would engage in a lively chorus of 'Jingle Bells' whenever they lost sight of the ground. Hard working and humorous. As dusk fell the last of the wood had been loaded onto the back of the trucks and the offending pines, together with their loathsome cargo of processionary caterpillars, driven off to the incinerator. The mayor led the way into the house for a reviving aperitif. Wilf was told , in French, that he was indeed a very lucky boy.


  1. It sounds like it was quite a social event--The only thing that was missing was a case of your finest Champagne for everyone!

    I'm glad the job is done, and I hope there will be no more worries about caterpillars!!

  2. Whew! (We breath a sigh of relief) Lovely writing and imagery in true Mongoose style.
    Hugz to the boyz

  3. I'm so glad that worry is behind you! I advise that if you move again, you do a very thorough search for those caterpillars first!

    I have to giggle a bit at the image of you shaking the mayor's elbow, though!

  4. wow. GREAT that they came so quickly!!!! Wilf &(Digby) lots of love sent your way!!!!

  5. Hooray. Away with those nasty caterpillars! I would love to see a picture of that Mayor in his pork pie hat (sounds delicious, incidentally...) sipping champagne!
    Cheers! H.

  6. I'm so glad that Wilf is doing so well...

    And, I have to say that your new town has been very welcoming to you, with the mayor personally looking out for you.

  7. Why do I get the feeling that the Mongoose, "the font," and the boyz are the most thrilling things to happen to this corner of France in centuries? And best of all, each of these adventures seems to end with an excellent beverage! At this rate, your wine cellar may be empty by May 1st!

  8. hooray for those pesky caterpillars being gone!!!