We saw the first of the cranes heading south last week and sure enough, almost immediately, the nip in the air turned to a real chill and it was time (at least for me) to find the thermals.
There was frost on the grass in the corner of Monsieur F's field this morning when I walked Vita and Bertie. It's the corner where the sun never penetrates, by the ditch where we turn right towards the small bridge and where Bertie lingers to sniff every inviting smell from the hunt dogs who passed by at the weekend.
Suddenly the jobs that seemed like elephant tasks all throughout the hot summer have become eminently do-able, like digging over the compost heap and barrowing what's rotted down to the vegetable beds.
Tod is off sightseeing for a couple of days - Bilbao, Pamplona and Saragossa - so Vita and Bertie know their task is to keep an eye on me. They supervise from the top of the bank behind the sour cherry tree. They lounge in the sun, on the edge of the long grass, facing in opposite directions like two book ends.
I might even get round to tidying the wood store before this winter's supply is delivered.
In the 1970's I lived in Brazil and I wrote home to my mother in the UK every week. Those letters became the story of my life there. In 2007 I moved to south west France. Not quite sure where "home" is, I have no family left in the UK. If I did, these words would be my letters home, capturing the first impressions of my life here, to share, enjoy and perhaps re-read in years to come.