The damp wall proved to be a sprung leak under the sink and seemed to have grown even worse overnight. Plumbing problems are the pits, second only to car smashes, maybe. I did everything I could to help, emptied the cupboard, carried the ruined sponge-wet floor of it outside, found cloths to mop up, containers to catch the continuing drips and the small fan heater to help dry it out. Then there wasn't too much else I could do. I laced on my walking boots, told Mol firmly she must stay and look after Tom, the house and herself, and set off to yoga, giving myself a good hour to cover the ground. My loved ones despondent faces at the window were mortifying.
I met the goat on the old rail track, and since I was dog-less, she condescended to talk to me, and once I'd pricked my fingers on some brambles to feed to her, allowed me to stroke her.
'Vous venez de me rappeler?'
'Eh, sorry, who's that?' a man's voice sounding familiar 'Lucy?'
It was my brother in Australia.
'Did I just ring you?'
'You must have, but it's my mobile. I didn't know you had the number.'
'Neither did I. I must have pressed the wrong thing.'
I didn't even know my ancient Nokia and never upgraded Breizh Mobile tarif even reached to Australia.
'I'm in the out in the countryside, in the woods, in a kind of sunken lane. I can't hear you very well.'
But it wasn't true, he sounded as though he were only just down in Moncontour. We realised we needed to get off rather hastily. I suppose in an instinct to grab at the salient point I told him I loved him, which I don't think I normally do, not on the 'phone anyway. And in the way that things happen when part of one's awareness is suddenly displaced, the translucent yellow of the overarching beeches was stamped with finality into my memory.
Tom came to E's door to meet me as we're dispersing. He hung over her half door, kissed her dog Moos on the nose when the latter jumped up to greet him. Everybody seemed suddenly rather jollier.
'Tom,' said E 'get a plumber!'
'Can't do that, he'd rip all the walls apart.'
But now he has seen his way through, and we headed down to the local hardware store, which hasn't been open in that location for all that long but is proving useful of late, and now a preparatory construction of a new tap tap and flexible tubes is sprawling across the table like a metallic squid.
The very large man who comes to cut the hedges is ripping through them with his fearsome equipment. He is somewhat macho but adores his King Charles spaniel. He has rather over-quoted for the job, but we get half of it off our taxes, and he keeps looking round for extra jobs he can do, so I've decided to try to take him up on it and find him some. He says he'll come and plant us a wildflower lawn on the difficult side area in the spring, having first treated it for weeds - spare us the frowning about chemicals, it's really the only way to ensure a decent take of the wildflower seed. Tom is embarrassed that I go out and rake up the cuttings while he is indoors, and makes clear that it is a plumbing crisis keeping him away.
'Has the plumber been then?' asks Monsieur the Hedgecutter
'There is the plumber,' say I, pointing at Tom.
Honour is satisfied.
We have a kind of kedgeree for dinner made with brown rice, a smoked mackerel fillet, coriander, cumin, cardomon and turmeric, with a salad of some pak choi that the flea beetles and late cabbage white caterpillars haven't managed to ravage, some land cress and a bit of lamb's lettuce, coriander seeds sprouted like mustard-and-cress on the windowsill (cheffy sorts call it micro-coriander), and a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds I shelled while watching Pointless. Oh, and a poached egg on top.
Tom's eating pink and white marshmallows from a chipped white ramekin, while drinking red wine. He has an unorthodox palate.
I keep meaning to try to take some photos in this strange sepia, gamboge and buttermilk light, but then it gets too dark.
I haven't heard from either the insurance agent or the girl with the car. Sufficient unto the day.