Almost Invincible

Well no, of course not, but it sort of feels that way.

Yes, even here in France, things are happening, just when I was losing hope.

My first vaccination is Wednesday. AstraZeneca, same as Angela Merkel. When she walked past me in a restaurant a couple of years ago, a little good luck must have rubbed off. Seriously, vaccine is hard to find around here. Second dose in July. If I don’t have a stroke, I’ll survive this pandemic. Of course, this being France, I could drive all the way there — one hour each way! — only to have them say oh no, not you, we changed our minds. But let’s not think about that.

After a seven, soon to be eight, month wait, the notaire is doing the paperwork for the sale of my rental house. I have a bit of sympathy for the guy. France has a consumer protection law that limits the fees for handling property sales to such an extent that the work falls to the bottom of the priority barrel, doesn’t get done until there is nothing else to do. Over the last seven months I will have paid more in taxes and utilities on that house than he will earn in fees. So I, the consumer, am not feeling very protected. But he did write, saved it for Friday night so I’d maybe feel sorry for him, to let me know we’re just a week or three away. So three weeks, maybe four, but it’s finally getting done. My buyers might actually have their summer house in time for summer.

And of course spring is popping. Those are my cherry blossoms you see up there. We just had a tiny late freeze, nothing serious, so cherries are on the way, plus I expect some apples and mirabelles. Jacques just found his third hedgehog of the season, or maybe there is just one that he has harassed into three different hideouts. And the other day I noticed bees buzzing in and out of little holes in a sunny wall. To the tune of “Gimme Shelter?” We’ll soon see. Julien and I set up a beehive, following the instructions I found in my Collins Bee Bible. Plus we’re starting to talk about quails. Julien keeps chickens, so all I might need are little salad/apero-sized eggs. We’ll have to see about that.

Jacques Report

Bonus points if you figured out right away that that’s not Jacques. It’s his fault the little guy is there, though.

It being nearly April, everything around here is popping. Jacques had me up at 4:30 this morning — he fooled me into thinking he had a tummy ache — which is how I discovered the meaning of the expression “up with the birds.” It was at that point when you can just tell that the sun will soon appear. The birds are going nuts. You never hear that much from them in daylight.

I determined that Jacques was faking me out — he took off running the second the door was opened — and went in to make coffee. Then I had to go out again. Jacques had cornered the fluffy white psychopath from across the street. Unlike the little sport killer, Jacques thinks the thing to do with prey is bark at them. So he barked and barked until the psychokiller found an escape route. It made Jacques’ morning, but I wanted to go back to bed. I left the front door open. Jacques likes to hang out at the entrance, keeping watch over his domain.

Thus the bird. He found his way clear up to the top of the house and into my bathroom, the most remote corner at the top of the house. There he perched and probably pooped until he flew out the skylight that I opened for him. At least Jacques didn’t bark.