It was with a great sense of relief that I found the passports tucked out of sight in my kitchen. Apart from the gross inconvenience of having to get replacement passports for all four of us, being unable to travel (at least Nick and me, since the Tailles would be able to travel on their Identity cards), we would have missed the banquet planned for other Francois’ 60th. Anne had planned a meal at home, to be cooked by a young friend of their son, who has trained as a chef and is about to open his own restaurant in Cherbourg. In the event it was a truly delicious meal with turbot for the main course and two twists on an old theme which were inventions of Brice. One was the mini Croque Monsieurs that Brice made in canapé form, the other was the fried potato cake that contained a raw oyster in the centre. This accompanied the turbot and was possibly a bit rich, but then the whole meal was a gastronomic indulgence for which much dietary compensation would be required in the ensuing days. Typically, the dessert course was not skimped. There were two gateaux both heavenly. The only ‘mouche dans la pommade’ was the apparent inability of Mr Picky to compromise his extreme pickiness to the extent that he would at least go through the motions of tasting food he never eats, whether on the basis of taste or principle. Plates of good food were sniffed, grimaced at and went back to the kitchen virtually untouched. He cooked his goose that night with his hostess and also with this one.
There followed some days of energetic gardening. In my quest to shave a kilo or two before my walk with Lis in September I need to up my exercise. Walking is good but I can find that boring unless I have a companion and a good route. Active gardening gives the added advantage of bending and lifting which is good for my flexibility too.
At the end of the week Anne and I board a ferry for our appointment with Kim. With Saturday to spare we drive down to Lyme Regis which Anne instantly likes and after to Hawkchurch where Liz is ringing for a wedding. We watch the wedding party as they exit the church then repair to Parricks for a cream tea. This is a bit of an indulgence because I am expecting Cybs and Jean for a curry supper at TOW after their willow day making obelisks and mini-hurdles.
And so we do our Piglet day and it is rewarding and quite intense. I hesitate to say it is ‘fun’ because it is taxing but satisfying and there is always a sense of working against the clock. At the end of the day we do end up with our individual and very respectable piglet. I feel that now my first ever weaving, a badger, will be recognised as such when set aside his future garden companion.
On Monday I must put Anne on the ferry because I am staying for some Godalming days. During this time I will have lunch with Vikky and with Sonia the following the day. It is really good to meet up with Sonia after too long an interval and I am so surprised when she tells me, just before we part, that she has had a major illness to overcome. Which she has, and courageous she has been. My penultimate engagement is to attend Ted’s Sports’ Afternoon and this is followed with ‘The Weekend Starts Here’ at the Withies.
The timing of my spell with Ted has worked well. I return to Winterborne ready to do the third day with Kim that will be required to put the finishing touches to my deer. I stow the animal into my car and drive to Sandford Orcas. I find I have arrived half an hour early so Kim takes me for a short walk further down her lane to show me some willow sculptures which she had started, but not quite finished, and which she has inserted into gaps in the hedge. During the day I weave in extra sticks that add bulk to my animal, form to the legs and the distinctive features that will define my creation as a ‘Roe Doe’ 🙂
I had already earmarked the early days of June for some political activity and for a catch-up with bookish friends. There is a Splinter lunch at Jan Drew’s and the Shaxsons come for coffee the following morning. My principal mission though, is to do a bit of volunteer work for the Lib Dems ahead of the General Election on June 8th. I deliver leaflets in my village and gain a huge respect for postmen who have to run the gamut of so many nasty letterboxes with stiff, tight-arsed, grabby brushes in the aperture which mean you end up scrumpling your stuffer as you shove it through. On the two days before GE day I work out of the Lib Dem office in Yeovil and spend some of that time delivering leaflets with Paddy Ashdown and on the day I conduct some ‘knocking up’ over the ‘phone and this is my first experience of canvassing.
The following day I am sorry that the excellent candidate for Yeovil was not successful. I did learn during the course of my phone calls that several staunch Lib Dem voters would be voting Tory in this instance in order to stop the Labour Party gaining ground. In the event they, and people like them, were not successful because the Labour party made a surprise comeback, only just failing to obliterate the Tory overall majority and certainly wiping out their hopes of being returned with a bigger mandate. Up yours Theresa May!