It is autumn in southern France and the rural lanes are full of fallen walnuts, squashed damsons and spiky chestnuts.
There are teasels and cornflowers, scabious and vetch and yarrow. Wild yarrow.
In our neighbour’s garden a banana tree grows. It’s ugly and incongruous in this enchanted light but, still, it grows bananas.
The scent of deer is strong, very strong, as I take the dog out on a long lead down unfamiliar paths, past long-dead sunflowers, their sad heads drooping, ashamed to look at the ball of light still burning so fiercely in the sky. Their faces turn away from the waning gibbous of a once glorious harvest moon, still sitting high in the sky despite the sunlight.
It is autumn in southern France. It is warm and light and inspiring, with a vast blue sky, save for a few vapour trails from aeroplanes flying in and out of Toulouse.
There is complete tranquillity here but in the woods, jays shriek as if they are witnessing – or committing - a murder. A woodpecker drills in competition with a man on his log pile, several villages away. And the postman trundles up the road and passes the gite as he goes from house to house in his yellow van.
There are hounds barking, desperate for the chase. And a church clock clangs and clangs as the villagers gather for the market.
I could live here, I think, and then pinch myself because the last time I thought that we ended up staying for a whole year on Corfu.
Which can’t be bad, although I was tediously homesick.
Be careful what you wish for.
Next stop, Spain.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x