We got invited to visit Jean-Paul, our stonemason, and his girlfriend Huguette. The live in what was once a fairly ordinary concrete house on the edge of a small town near here, but which JP has entirely covered with salvaged stone, perfectly shaped and pointed. They ply us with wine and coffee and rather too much sweet stuff, but the best bit it JP's loft, which covers the whole house and is, very tidily, full of his stuff, including a set of toy models: a little house, a yellow crane, a very fine die-cast Manitou (like a JCB), and a fork-lift. On the day of his sixtieth birthday and so of his retirement, when he would have given up the full-sized versions of these things, he said, he came downstairs to find these laid out on the kitchen table for him. There was also a figure of a man in working clothes with a shovel, which, I pointed out, was somewhat out-of-scale and too large for the toy vehicles and plant. Well it's only an imitation, he said.
Laying the fire before we went out, so it only needed a fire-lighter and a match when we came home. The chimney needs sweeping, but an advantage of this windy weather is it's drawing better than usual. (Which doesn't make up for the hammering the south-west of England is taking, I know.)
Part of young Eve's bird alphabet, which arrived today by e-mail for the Soup. The girl is seriously gifted.