Diary from Limousin 27

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Gemini May 21 – June 20  Monday ushers in a week of surprises: keep your cool in the face of adversity 8 a.m. Bliss. Wriggle toes, stretch luxuriously. Smile sweetly at exercise bike, alarm clock. Close eyes, turn over. No more of this middle-of-the-night nonsense. Can stay in bed all day if necessary. One is a Free Woman-Novelist. Soon be wheelbarrowing megabucks down to ecstatic infant banker at Crédit Agricole.  Mmm. Zzzz….. 8.02 Arrrghhh! Ouch! Kick Gizmo off bed, inspect gnawed metatarsals. Limp downstairs after fat cat. Whinge sits on windowsill, smiling inanely. Have never trusted smiling cats. Probably sent G. upstairs as emissary to Whiskas ambassador.  Fill bowls with dead rabbit bits in jelly. Mmm. Looks quite nutritious. Not sure J. would notice if I served said confit hot with say, rice and asparagus tips. Save a fortune on food bills. “Why can’t we have cats like the ones on TV? Fluffy, Daz-white felines, walking gracefully tail-up towards their bowls, gratitude plastered all over their beautiful faces?” Mad mullah snorts. “Those things with squashed faces? Like they’ve spent generations chasing parked cars? No thanks, these two are ugly enough.” Whinge glares, shakes head in denial before diving back into nosebag. He is remarkably unprepossessing, is pinking sheared-eared, with a remnant tabby tail stuck on his plump ginger body. 10 a.m. Go to vet. Lift Gizmo onto table, apologise for uncouth belching animal, explain problem. “Morning sickness? Weight gain?” Dr Caniche repeats, looking at me oddly. Oh dear. Hope is not some obscure fatal disease. Wipe tear from eye, stiffen upper lip, wait for axe to fall. Poor puss. Poor me. One is not good at managing emotional situations.“She’s having kittens. Soon,” Dr. Caniche says, feeling grossly overloaded Gizmo middle. Scrape self off ceiling, consider appalling prospect of unspecified number of extra mouths to feed. Now realise why Whinge has worn that stupid self-satisfied grin for last few weeks. “I like cats,” Dr Caniche murmurs, stroking Gizmo. “Mm. Me too. Let’s exchange recipes.” Noon. Have decided J. does not need to know about the patter of tiny paws just yet. Feel one might have to choose moment with extra care.  Spousal  imagination unlikely to extend beyond puddles, piles, shredded phone directories etc. 7 p.m. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they are sticking to their diets, confirmed by the pre-gym-chi weigh-in. Arlette fumes while we waste further 10 mins arguing re date of end of year nosh-up. Decide to hold same between GL Flower Show and Denise’s wedding, kind of warm-up for the latter. Had been looking forward to my new favourite sport of Tai Chi, but Arlette is clearly in mean mode. Thank God only 2 more sessions before the hols. Am either getting too much exercise or body parts wearing out far too quickly. TuesdayGemini May 21 – June 20 Not the most comfortable day of your life. Everybody seems to be thwarting you 7 a.m. Suspect new government of fiddling with weather controls, preventing exhausted translator-novelists from having lie-in. Shower sweat from sylphlike corps, down half gallon of grapefruit juice on the rocks, 3 oranges, 2 peaches. Cannot look Mars bar in eye in this jungle atmosphere without stomach turning all vomity.  Bernie wanders into garden, joins power breakfast. Waves email, gives me funny-peculiar look. “Jean-Jacques Goldman,” she reads slowly, “will be thrilled to open the Great Limousin Flower Show. Mr Goldman will be crossing Limoges on his way to see friends further south, so will only be able to spend an hour with you. His secretary will be in touch…….”“Oh, that’s ok. I’m sure he and Sheik Shirak are old friends, they’ll get on like a house on fire.”“Just pray the other invitees are busy that day,” Bernie says, a trifle nervously. Think the French incapable of coping with the unexpected, managing stress etc. 11 p.m. 35°C. Pour melting self into non-air-conditioned Fiat, collect offspring from station. Silent return journey with hungover heirs, 500 bags, rucksacks, guitars, aikido swords, makeup cases etc. Must be staying for at least two days. 11.45 Patric has evicted herd of pink plastic cows, reclaimed bedroom. J. going slightly ballistic on landing, apparently in effort to circumvent bovine traffic jam. Gizmo is on dining table, shredding remains of already-tattered Yellow Pages. Whinge whining on windowsill for refill. Have never before contemplated joining a convent, but may not be too late. Still, at least best-seller finished, no longer need to wear fingers out in middle of night. 6 p.m. “We’ve got a holiday job,” Hannah announces, biting into an apple. “We’re going to thin apples at Belles Pommes SA.” Thoroughly approve of student vacation work, shows independence of spirit, willingness to contribute to society, respect for work ethic etc.“We’re starting at 5.45 am, because of the heat.” Poor dears.“Um…wondered if you could drop us off in the mornings…you’re up at that time anyway…” WednesdayGemini May 21 – June 20 After a bright and early start, things will go steadily downhill 5 a.m. Grrr. Eat breakfast in silence, have banned obnoxious early-morning cheerfulness. Shut ears to whispered war while offspring prepare packed lunches, dispute ownership of last banana. 9.45 Bernie calling in more than usual these days. I’ll say this for her, she never comes empty-handed. “Jean Reno…
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