... as we headed down across the field, Vita rolled in something odorous. Normally Vita's rolling would provoke an "Oh no!" as she proudly wafts around in her new perfume. But on this occasion we smile. She has not done this in months. She struggles to her feet against the slope - her back legs collapsing under her - but finally manages.
This is progress. It has been a hard year for her, with the emergence of full-blown epilepsy and then three violent bouts of high fever over the same number of months. Slowly, slowly, she is regaining strength, aided by the lovely Doctor Sophie in Bordeaux with her acupuncture and her colleague who administers osteopathy.
Vita had followed us as we headed down towards the far corner of our terrain to plant a new liquidambar tree. I needed Tod to hold it in place while I decided exactly where it would go exactly, in the line of sight to the right of the dark green cypresses and to the left of the more distant golden leaved silver birches.
I hope the new addition, which will have the most spectacular of autumn foliage, will be a flame red - the label only offers a vague promise of purple or red or yellow. In a few days we will know.
This morning, an increasingly robust Vita announces at six am it is time to get up and go for a walk. Only today it's five. So we pretend not to hear and she finally curls up and snores gently on a rug in the kitchen. Daylight saving quite throws a girl's routine.