Touchdown in the Loire

Dear Mum and Dad,

The view from chez nous
The view from chez nous

It’s 10.30am Wednesday morning and the sun is shining, the birds are singing (even a cuckoo I’m pretty sure) and all’s right with the world. I have found my spiritual home there’s no doubt about that.

My hosts left yesterday for Budapest and a river cruise for 3 weeks. I needed every bit of the 2 days with them to learn the ropes of caring for my menagerie. Toby is my faithful companion, and even Bijou the cat seems fond of me but they DESPISE each other. They’re like cartoon characters. Each has his own half of the house and never the twain shall meet.

A heart attack waiting to happen
A heart attack waiting to happen

Benji the donkey loves affection but will nibble your hand if you’re not careful. The chooks have their own soap opera going on. Milly, Molly and Mandy are the brown ones, Sascha and Ivan (silkies) are the married couple, Polly is a white Sussex light and Flossy is white with a bit of buff. She’s the shy one. I’m a bit worried about her because she stayed in her box all day yesterday. Listen to me – you’d reckon I knew what I was talking about. They produce 3 to 4 eggs every day so my cholesterol level will soar no doubt.

Chinon
Chinon

Yesterday my next door neighbour took me for a walking tour around Chinon. Tout en français! He doesn’t speak English so it was the best sort of French lesson. Even in that short time I have found my confidence building un peu. He’s lived in the area all his life as has his wife. They are a lovely couple. We went back to their place for a look at his ‘caves’ – the original dwellings here – he’s got 11! They’re the Gallic equivalent of the shed/cellar/billiard room. We then had an aperitif before lunch and I toddled back home to tend to the animals. Last night I had a bath with a view. I’ve managed amazingly well – no discernible jet lag other than a certain amount of exhaustion associated with the build up to the trip and the nature of living in someone else’s home. Now I can relax and start writing. But first I simply MUST walk Toby. He’s been looking hopeful ever since I got up this morning!

Me and my homies
Me and my homies

I couldn’t have asked for better companions to see me off at the airport. Lindy and Eliza wanted photos of us at the door of no return but I suspect I won’t like the results because I was fighting an overwhelming desire to start blubbing. I have been able to talk to Lindy and she told me that after I disappeared through that door she and Eliza shared a misty moment. It was so nice to have three of my favourite women (including you mama) see me off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Toby's accusing look
Toby’s accusing look

Toby’s gone from hopeful to accusing so I’d better get moving. Much love to you both.