My son Leonardo, who lives in Berlin en route for New York (and incidentally is the person who encouraged and helped me to set up this blog), is visiting for the weekend. We’re in the upstairs living room and Jean Michel is looking out at the garden. “There’s a hedgehog!” he says and we rush over to look. In fact, there are two little hedgehogs working their way round the garden.
I rush down with my iPhone while Jean Michel gets out his telephoto lens for Leonardo to use. I’m afraid to get up close and frighten them away, which is the advantage of a telephoto lens, of course. The results are fabulous.
One of the hedgehogs is still there when we’re having lunch in the garden so our entire time is spent jumping up to take another photo or video. It turns out that the hedgehog isn’t frightened at all which is strange as they are nocturnal creatures. Leonardo suddenly says, “I want a selfie with the hedgehog” and lies down on the grass next to it!
After lunch Jean Michel and I go cycling while Leonardo goes off to the gym to do weight lifting. It’s a pity he won’t be around more often – he would be very useful for lifting the freestone that Jean Michel will be using to make the new kitchen window.
We begin cycling at what I call the Giraffe Intersection because during the summer, they blow up a huge plastic giraffe for the kids to play on while their parents are snacking on focaccia and croissants at Pat-à-Pain. When they remove it in winter, I get completely lost.
Our route takes us through little villages full of roses and fields of barley, wheat and poppies. We’re growing our own barley, wheat and oats this year – quite by accident. The mixed bird seed on the window ledge dropped into the garden bed below and sprouted, much better than my lobelia and verbena seeds, but that’s always the way, isn’t it?
Ahead of us we suddenly see a horse and buggy. Not the tourist sort, but a real one. The man and young boy are appropriately dressed in colourful caps and there’s even a wicker basket at the back. They are obviously out for a Sunday drive. I have to take the photo without getting off my bike or getting too close as I’m not sure how these people would feel about being photographed openly.
One of the main reasons we have chosen this itinerary is so that I can see my favourite wall of roses at Château de Cheverny. They are just as stunning every year. I’m working on producing a similar effect with my Saharan roses (see apricot and pink roses in first photo), although my wall is somewhat smaller.
Our last stop before we get back to the car is the beautiful park in the pretty little village of Cellettes where we initially intended to look for a house – until we discovered it’s a thoroughfare for trucks from Monday to Saturday!
We do not regret, for one moment, having bought Closerie Falaiseau in Blois. And now we even have a hedgehog!