Donkey Days

Posted on

I begin this morning, the very first morning of my blog from France, by devouring the online British news.  B. however, who is neither U.K. born nor bred and proud of his newly acquired French citizenship is scouring ‘Le Monde.’ While I still need news from ‘home’, I  feel sure that he will  keep me informed  of crucial events in our chosen domicile.

A little later , as the bells of our village church chime eight o’clock , we encounter a source of more local news. Madame C is walking her dog   in the woods that surround our house when our paths cross. All three of us determined to exercise before the intense heat of the day strikes. Today’s temperature is predicted to reach 38C, but then what’s new?  This  heat wave began weeks ago, and is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future. As August unfolds  the grass and flowers  wither  around us, and the natural springs that well from the surrounding hillside falter and dry up. Madame C lives in the neighbouring hamlet. Our home is isolated, and we rely on her for a bit of gossip.

 “The donkey has escaped”, she announces with alacrity. If we ‘fall upon’ the donkey we must inform Monsieur R. who is currently scouring the village in his builder’s pick up truck. We hope she will be recaptured safely, for we love to see her grazing in a nearby field  alongside her  pals, two white horses  who   apparently remain  confined. We’ll walk that way later this evening just to check on them. Not long ago two different white horses grazed there,  Kyle and Luigi. They belonged to an English neighbour whom we sometimes met as she rode them in our forest.  Earlier this spring Luigi came across a string of ‘processionary pine moth caterpillars’  recently emerged from their nest in a nearby tree. He fell gravely ill. Even humans can have a serious allergic reaction to to the noxious spiky hairs that these creatures emit. Alas Kyle lost his  long time friend.

I shall end these equine meanderings  of my  first blog  with a further donkey tale.

“What happened to those three donkeys we used to come across in the woods?” I asked Madame C. earlier this morning. I had noticed that one of the donkeys carried a wireless antenna around its neck, and presumed  that they had been free to roam.

“Ah non,” Madame C. disabused me.  Apparently they too had been escapees. “ They belong  to the new owner of ‘le chateau.” This is  a fortified farmstead  that dominates  her part of the village. “He has recaptured them,” she continued “ and they are now safely confined.”  As we returned home for breakfast we remembered with fondness these delightful companions who nudged us from behind with their muzzles as we descended the stony paths around us. Let’s hope they escape again soon so that we can enjoy their company  once more on our daily walks. Far better than the hunters’ dogs who  will soon  be surrounding our forest home  . For on the fifteenth of this month, the hunters will pick up their rifles once more in search of sanglier, or wild boar.  They will certainly not be welcome. No doubt I shall have more tales to tell you  of our encounters with hunters in my future blogs.

 Two white horses at sunset - donkey still missing.

 Two white horses at sunset, but where is the donkey?