Bertie races backwards and forwards across the field, barking at the sky, chasing flocks of small, twittering, brown birds barely visible against the intense blue.
A buzzard lazily circles high above, mewing as it twists on ascending thermals.
The distant noonday siren in the town wails across the fields and the noise of drilling from the farmhouse across the valley that belongs to the retired police captain from Paris ceases - lunchtime.
A fat worm slowly squeezes its way between clods of earth that I've turned over, hoping I haven't noticed him.
The clay is perfect, neither too wet, nor too dry, falling easily off the tines of the fork as I work.
One of the trees came with us in the back of the lorry to France, root-bound in a large green pot; lovingly carried with us from house to house since the early nineties, when my father, then elderly and frail, helped me plant a small bowl with a tiny Cyprus and a few daffodil bulbs. I seem to remember the daffodils towered over the little fir.
I think it would amuse my father to know it has survived all these years and is now six foot. I could almost feel the tree stretch and breathe a sigh of relief as I teased out its roots to fill the hole I'd dug.
Dad loved France and things French. He would find our sloping, swooping field on the side of a Garonne valley a very suitable final resting place for "his" tree.