Like a god in France



Every year, in the spring, I go to our holiday homes in Mavaleix. Always with friends and usually with Peer and/or Edwin and I always have a list of things to do. This list changes from year to year, and when we arrive there are always a few more jobs added to it. These little jobs are sometimes so big that we have to spend practically all our time on them. Nature is a difficult beast to tame!

This time, there were two trees hanging dangerously over the path. Luckily, Peer had turned his love for the old Kubota (he also has one at home since being introduced to the little tractor in Mavaleix) to making a cleaving device in Mavaleix, and Peer is also an experienced ‘lumberjack’. He thought about how he was going to fell the tree without it falling in the wrong direction. I went to empty the canal. Every year it fills up with blubber and leaves and every spring I shovel it away, with a helping hand from the flowing water. So I do get a serious workout at least once a year, although I think that most people give up on their workout after half an hour. Up to my knees in blubber and in the end just sand, between the walls where more and more ferns and succulents grow, I worked and played for days on end, to make it the perfect place for swimming all summer long.

Peer felled the trees and the cleaving device worked perfectly, although the wood from the larger tree was tangled and stringy. But luckily Stefanie, Lex and Nick arrived. It turned out that Lex and Nick were great at working out and they manually split the wood that the cleaving machine couldn’t handle. Swimming was now possible, and I was busy with all kinds of other jobs.

Whatever we have to do is unpredictable due to the forces of nature, but our rhythm is always the same; sleep, eat breakfast, work, eat and drink like gods in France and sleep again. This year, the forest offered another windfall as we almost stumbled over the girolles (chantarelles), enough for a whole meal.

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