Winter Rain

The other night it rained. Properly rained.

The wind blew down the chimney, the dark sky flared with lightning, and the electricty cut out. As I read my book by candlelight and the light of the flickering fire, I could hear the rain gushing down the roof tiles and splashing onto the cobbles outside. I put my book down to listen to the rain soaking into the earth and a great peace descended upon me.

 It reminded me of the power cuts in the seventies. For the grown ups, hunting for candles and matches in the dark was a tiresome inconvenience, while we children loved the sense of adventure, the way candlelight transformed eating our supper into something magical, the way brushing our teeth by torchlight became exciting. 

This rain is much needed. It's been a dry year and there is nothing much for the animals to eat. Whether it is that my neighbour’s fences are lax, or whether his animals are particularly determined, it is true that I have been regularly visited by a lone sheep wearing a bell searching for the greener grass of my garden, the odd black pig on the look out for acorns, and now by a stray tabby cat with wild green eyes whom I have started to feed. Betty regularly sees her off, but is no match for Puss when she races straight up the great cedar tree and taunts her from one of its mighty branches. She sleeps in a cardboard box lined with a sheepskin under the back porch by night and yowls until I feed her, while all the while I tell her that she must not come to rely upon me completely as I will be away sometimes.

This week Betty will go and stay with the family on the lavender farm up in the Valensole, I will lock up the house and hope for the best for it while I set off for Mexico for unknown adventures. I may well write to you from there.