Life in a rural village is full of unexpected surprises. It is quite common for friends to drop by unannounced, if they are en route to Poitiers for example, or visiting the Thursday morning market in my village. Since I spend most of the day working from home alone, I am always pleased to see them, particularly if they arrive on the perimeters of aperitif hour.
This morning however, the doorbell rings while I am still in the shower. Rather than rush to throw open the bedroom window and shout down ‘Oui! J’arrive!’ as I normally do, I decide to ignore it.
But, mysteriously, when I go downstairs, I find the sitting room in darkness. Someone has closed the shutters from the outside. When I go out to re-open them I find a box of chocolates and some pains au chocolat hidden on the window sill behind them. Ha! The Man has been here. Guessing that he has gone to look for me in the market or local cafe, I head towards the village square. As usual I have to avert my eyes as I walk past the live animal section, where all kinds of game are packed in cages so tightly that all they can do is squawk. As a claustrophobic who can’t get in a lift if there is less than 1 metre square of personal space, I really feel for them.
Moving swiftly to the plant section, I am debating whether I can be bothered to carry a big blue hydrangea home when The Man appears at my side.
‘I’ve been looking for you everywhere Minx,’ he says.
We return to the house for breakfast and while I make the coffee, he sets about hiding the chocolates in various places. [He knows that I have no self-discipline and cannot be left alone with a box of chocolates]. Later, after he returns to work on his B&B , I keep finding them in unusual places - in my desk drawer, in a plant pot, inside shoe boxes. And as I pull back the duvet that night, I find two foil-wrapped chocolates lurking underneath, which really makes me smile.