What strange weather. In this part of France the rainfall in January and early February has been three times the annual average. The ground sodden, the little stream at the foot of the hill a swirling torrent. However, this morning the clouds have lifted and a glorious red and orange sky greets the early riser. Angus is an early riser because the old farmer is coming to deliver ten tons of gravel.
The old farmer has an unusual technique for delivering gravel. He reverses slowly down the drive, stops, turns his head, looks out of the window, raises the body of the dump truck and then , as the gravel starts to cascade out of the back, accelerates maniacally down the drive. Where the drive dog legs to the left there is a small mountain of gravel where he raised the truck bed but forgot to accelerate. Raking this flat will be the job for the day.
Feverish excitement. The village is to have visitors from Paris. Bigwigs from the Ministry of Culture. The Sous-Prefet will be joining them. They're coming to see the restoration of the frescoes in the church. Not since Richelieu blew up the chateau has the village received this much attention. In the letter box we find a formal letter from the townhall inviting us to a reception in the Salle des Fetes at four o'clock. Madame Bay arrives to borrow baking trays for her chicken and salmon vol-au-vents. '' They'll be hungry after coming all that way " she says.
In the church the three young ladies from Toulouse with their proprietorial dog have been joined by three young men in a white van. A last burst of restoration before the big day. Angus can't help but notice a large damp patch on the floor of the nave. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to restore the holes in the roof before starting on the paintings on the plaster walls .
A fleet of four Electricite de France vans hurtle down the lane to complete this picture of happy activity. They've come to connect two new street lights.The biggest day in village history beckons.