Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been stretched, scrambled and thoroughly tangled in the sharply contrasting ribbons of my life.
It was the dreaded fashion show. The last thing on earth I feel like doing at the end of a long draining winter is modelling…especially alongside gloriously nubile exquisite eighteen year olds. I moaned, complained and protested; pleaded, implored and beseeched all to no avail. I was ‘in’ – part of the show and nothing short of dropping down dead was sufficient to winkle me out. There was the demanding, time-consuming merry-go-round of rehearsals, fittings, makeup and music to be juggled around the demanding, time-consuming merry-go-round of housed animals, mind-bending bawling cows, rush topping and field rolling. It happened; it was a glamorously glitzy fashionista extravaganza and I managed to avoid catching a glimpse of myself in any of the three hundred twinkling mirrors.

I mentioned backalong my son Ben was moving to France with his French partner Berengere and their little daughter Camille at the end of April. They were keen for us to visit them. They wanted to show us the wonders of Provence (Berengere is Marseillees), explore the area they’re hoping to live in, see where they are going to work, celebrate their choice of wedding venue and of course to meet the French contingent – the whole of the Ize family. With their and our busy schedule the end of May seemed the only opportunity. On impulse I arranged our visit for the late May bank holiday, relieved once the cows were out and relishing the quasi freedom that followed.

But there was shearing to take care of and the little matter of two late calving cows that looked imminent. Shearing was planned for last Sunday but as so often with these things the rain intervened and Simon re-booked for Tuesday evening – the night before we were due to leave. As sometimes happens when things are meant to be one of the cows conveniently calved on Tuesday just before shearing was executed with efficient speed.

Now I’m writing from Marseilles, outside on a warm evening with swifts screaming overhead, being entertained by Camille and getting to know my new, and very welcoming, French family.

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