The beginning of summer is hard as the temperature hikes up and it takes time to adjust.
As we moved in, June 5th, summer arrived, the temperature rose and Craig had to paint the white lines on the football pitch for the final match of F C La Menaurie that season. Craig left at 9am June 7th, coming straight back as the key was not there. So when the key turned up he painted it for two hours, pushing an oil barrel dripping white paint 500m under the full sun.
Sunday morning I heard, returning from an internet search trip, that Mojo, our cat, was stuck up a tree. Where? In the pine trees at the top.
We walked along the track that leads to the woods for ten minutes and heard a cat howling. There was Mojo, the black half-wild cat 30 m up, calling even more loudly and creeping daintily outwards.
I found a long felled branch, and began to lever it up against the tree,
“What are you doing?," Craig said. "She is NOT going to come down that.”
“Why not?” I said. “She is NOT going to use that.”
“Well what do you suggest? We have to do something” I put it up against the trunk, narrowly missing knocking Mojo off, hair bristling she backed further out along the branch.
So there I was reversing Craig's white van back and around the weeds, bumping over the runes of the track, down to our neighbour, the pompier/firewoman while Craig waited ready to catch a possibly falling Mojo.
It was about an hour and a half before the football meet-up for the big match.
As I walked over the grass of the firewoman's house I could see a BBQ and recalled Albine, a young boy, talking about a family party of fifty over the weekend.
So I was walking in on their big Sunday family celebration, the ex-pat, still with a city mentality wanting the fire brigade to fetch her cat stuck in a tree, and on a sacrosanct French Sunday meal on a holiday weekend.
Bertrand, the brother, walked towards me and I explained. "No," he said, "The pompier will not come out for a cat but I have never in my life known of a cat that went up a tree that did not come down again."
As I drove out I was glad I had learned the day before how I could unlock the wheel so I did not stay stuck in the driveway blocking his parent's as they arrived.
So then I acted completely at ease about Mojo lost and suspended beyond reach of any branches and only telephoned one animal charity, Phoenix, then the Loubejac mayor, and then two neighbours and fortunately all of them were out.
By nightfall, Mojo was outside, rolling on the ground, Craig playing in defence had won their final match, and the team, only a little surprised, had discovered his secret of being ten years older than the D.O.B. on his identity card.
The Menaurie team status, at top of the league was based upon allowing fewer goals through.
Since then Mojo often trots behind Craig, Holly the dog and I, going for a walk. It takes a lot longer, because, Craig explains to me, she only has little legs. When she climbs onto a wood pile we have to wait until she shows she can get down, which she exploits to the full.
But that Sunday it all turned out well, on the St Cernin football ground, as we were busily shouting “Allez” and distracting Craig from the ball. Within minutes of the end only one player fainted in the heat, after the usual water stops did not prevent that exhaustion. Craig came off red-faced and drawn, literally puffed out, and the trainer did not wait as he passed, saying to me even before they were in the shower room:
"Is Craig going to play next year?"