Ground squirrel in a wall

As I was pulling a restanque wall down with the digger, bringing down a rush of rocks and boulders in preparation to re-build it back up, something out of place caught my eye. This little ground squirrel was lying among the rubble, spread-eagled on its back, soft white stomach a total contrast to the stones all round. It looked alive, but was hardly moving, so it was either completely asleep or had been crushed by the tumbling stones. We found a small hole where it had been hibernating in the old wall till it was rudely disturbed by the digger bucket and fell rolling onto the rubble. We could see no signs of its fur having been squashed and tried to give it a little warm milk from a pipette, but it was hardly awake. It squeaked several times, as if threatening to wake up, so we put it on a bed of tissue paper in the inevitable shoe box, covered it with leaves and put the box in the barn. In a few days time when it’s got over the shock, we’ll go and see if it’s still alive. … 22 February: it is alive! At least, it’s gone from its box in the barn, which shows no sign of being attacked by anything, so we assume the squirrel is...

Snow !

Of the 37 French Departments which issued a snow ‘alert’ today, the Var was probably in least danger! The snow petered out less than 100 metres  below the house, around 250 metres ASL, and the village merely enjoyed another  cold winter drizzle. However, our olives (these are the Brun on the Feu Bas) looked good for a few hours this morning, drooping with white flakes. The temperature dropped at dusk and the remaining snow has frozen solid tonight, so we’ll need to drive carefully on the steep corners below the house tomorrow… or find ourselves among the olives!...

Technical IT triumph !

After months of IT paralysis, I finally struggled manfully through the unimaginable technical complications of uploading a file to Youtube… as if millions of others hadn’t done this already! Anyway, put your hands together for Ruairidh Macleod playing “Seagull” on his bagpipes. www.youtube.com/watch  A young man from the West coast of Scotland travelling round France before starting his medical studies to be a doctor, he stayed a week with us in November, just after the harvest. It’s a pity the weather wasn’t better, but the sound of the pipes just below the house was delightful. Later, his rendition of Scotland the Brave in the village square opposite the Petit Bar was a huge success. The bar was bulging with Rugby Club de Toulon supporters there to watch the Toulon – Grenoble match (an away match, Toulon won 39 – 3) and Ruairidh played during the half time break to the great applause of all the French: we didn’t have to buy another round all...

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