We bade them a fond farewell on Saturday morning as they packed their lives away into the marvellous Renault 4 and headed off in the sunshine on the next leg of their Irish adventure.
It has been wonderful having them to stay - they were charming, funny, easygoing, good company and worked their socks off.
|Model Dog assumed they were part of the family.|
The dogs loved them.
Model Dog, who came in the middle of their stay, assumed they were part of the family and was a little non-plussed when they left. (She says she hopes she won't be expected to leave suddenly as well. Because she isn't going to.)
The cats thought they were a bit of All Right.
Even Pushy forgave them for the Clothes-Peg-on-the-Tail-Incident which we don't mention anymore.
(After all, contrition is contrition!)
The hens thought they had died and gone to heaven - who else hand-feeds them corn all day?
(Wellington, alas, refused to sign the entente cordiale. He did not deign to be hand-fed.)
|Hand-fed chickens. Is that a new category - like Free Range, only better?|
Not only did they build much-longed-for steps up into the orchard; they cleaned the hen house until you could have eaten off the floor (possibly not wise, but you could have done!); they moved a pile of wood and stacked the wood shed; they put up the new fence; they trimmed hedges and weeded; planted the vegetable garden and generally got the whole place ship-shape and Bristol-fashion in time for the onslaught of visitors; they moved I don't know how many tons of stone and also built a wall to enclose a little shed for the mower to live in (also much-longed for, but little anticipated.)
The In-Charge came and went amidst the man-jobs and I - as Head Gardener - came and went amidst the gardening jobs.
They were fab and a joy to have around.
|The longed-for but little anticipated mower-shed emerges!|
And in between, they went fishing, they ran the coast road every day (ye gods, EVERY DAY!); they went fishing; they visited Donegal and the Giant's Causeway in one direction and Downpatrick Head and Achill Island in the other; they went fishing; they came to the Market and accompanied me to Enniskillen; they went fishing; they sweetly drove me to a garden party and politely ate cakes and sandwiches while eliciting much interest and many compliments; they went to Sligo with In-Charge, and helped him get the boat out of winter mothballs and spent a day fishing on the Moy Estuary. And to cap it all, they made apple tarts to die for and gorgeous vinaigrette.
I wish they could have met more people of their own age while they were here, but they watched loads of movies and went to the pub, the In Charge helped them fix various bits on their car while I cooked their food, washed their clothes and drove them nuts asking millions of question about all aspects of their lives. On their last night No 1 son had returned to the fold, and took them down to the sea where all his friends were congregating for an evening sitting by a fire, watching the sun go down, drinking beer and generally welcoming the summer. They came home with the dawn.
|Pudding and a beer|
I hope they enjoy Cork.
And New York.
I hope they have a wonderful time taking the Renault 4 on the Morocco Rally next year.
I hope they come back and visit us someday - any day.
They will always be welcome - and their girlfriends, wives, children, grannies...
(And I will be sure to have apples, butter and flour, and olive oil, garlic and vinegar ready in the pantry.)
Vive la gorgeous France!