My fears were unfounded. The drive to Bordeaux airport was easy. Round Bordeaux you wouldn't even know it had snowed. In the end we took the batmobile because it is left-hand drive and so was easier for me on the way back, on my own at the peages. The hardest bit of the journey was the beginning, up our chemin rural as the car struggled to get traction on the packed ice.
So Tod is on his way and Vita and I are home alone. Coming quietly in the front door, I heard her jump off the bed upstairs as she realised I was back. She charged downstairs, said hello and then rushed out to the car expecting to find Tod.
To keep her mind off the fact that part of the pack is missing, I took her for her usual long walk: down the side of Monsieur F's field; turn right alongside the stream; across the bridge, back left past the donkey field (which is still a bit scary in case the two White Faces are close by the fence); along the other side of the stream and through the muddy, still snowy woodland; back again across the stream and left again following the edge of more fields to complete the circle. We startled a heron who flapped slowly away, grey wings in the gathering dusk.
As I walked round I could hear the scream of the saw cutting into the great stone blocks in our kitchen as our builders fitted the lintel for our new window and reshaped the stonework in our thick old walls. With the noise resounding along the valley I was glad that most of our neighbours were safely behind closed windows and shutters.
I felt like Good King Wenseslas's page as I followed the imprints of Tod's boots, still there in the remnants of the snow and ice. This is "our" walk so I know they were his. At the steep cut where the drain off the top field runs down into the stream, I found where Tod had stepped and crossed safely without getting my shoes wet.