We arrive home to a display of flowers at the front of the house far better than I could have tended these few hot weeks. Our dear neighbour Mrs Bancroft has been diligently watering and dead heading my nicotianas, nasturtiums, the tall spikes of yellow loosestrife, the passion flowers and snapdragons and tomatoes facing up to the bizzy-lizzies and red pelargoniums in the concrete pots next to the village pump on the other side of the Square.
Pelly and Mr Sheepwash have wandered up to the patch of ground we borrow from a nearby farmer and watered the courgettes in Mr Grigg's polytunnel. And Mr Loggins was drafted in when all our little helpers found themselves (not together) in London for a hot weekend.
Nobby Odd-Job spent almost the entire fortnight stuck inside our house. His duties were to water the plants in the back yard. But Mr Grigg gave him the duff key and Nobby locked himself in.
After nearly an hour trying to devise his escape he hit upon the idea of ringing Mrs Bancroft across the road. Well, our downstairs phone didn't work properly and he had to fight his way upstairs through paperwork and a large Flat Stanley abandoned by me in my office/second bedroom in my haste to get ready for the trip away.
He dialled her number but Mrs B was sunning herself outside on her decking and couldn't be bothered to answer the phone. After the third time of ringing in a row, she put her Birkenstocks on and went inside only for it to ring off when she got there.
So she dialled 1471. Our number. A chill ran through her. How could that be? By the time she plucked up the courage to venture out, Nobby had managed to get the key to work and was coming out the door.
Our animals welcomed us home in the customary manner. Lulu the cat presented us with a dead mouse, Jimi came in with a rabbit which William the older dog promptly ate and then Bertie the puppy widdled all over my foot.
And the grand daughter, the chosen child? When asked by her mum just before we got back if she wanted a sandwich, she yelled: 'No I don't want a sandwich, I just want my granny.'
But the best part was wandering down to Pelly's for a low-key drink on the evening we returned. There, sitting at the table, were all our very good friends and a lovely supper.
'Well, you did text me from Greece to say Mr Grigg expected a homecoming,' Pelly said. 'And what's more, because we thought you were coming back last night we had one then as well.'
The next day, the heatwave broke and the heavens haven't stopped emptying since.
Home. There's no place like it.
That's about it
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