Towards the end of last week I decided to catch up with the friends that I have been neglecting in the two months that I have been chained to my desk. First port of call was my French friend Isabelle. On Thursday I bought some cakes from the baker and cycled to her village. We sat under a cluster of shady trees in her garden chatting all afternoon. Just as I was about to leave, she handed me a straw basket and a sharp knife and told me to pick what I wanted from her 'naturally bio' [organic] vegetable garden, which boasts everything from lettuces, runner beans and courgettes to green peppers and celery.
I was thrilled – not least because it saved me a 25km drive to the nearest organic store. Then on Saturday afternoon, I called on Travis. We cycled through a vivid yellow and blue landscape - past fields of sunflowers and haystacks set against a vibrant turquoise sky. On the spur of the moment we cycled 10km, along dirt tracks and up and down hills, to visit Eric and Lola, arriving - with perfect timing - just as they were mixing cocktails. Later, just before I left Travis's house, he handed me a bag of potatoes. He had been surprised to find them growing in a pile of earth and hay that he had been clearing earlier in the day. At this time of year, everyone is very generous with the produce from their garden. A cheeky thought occurs to me: if I visit friends more often, I won't have to visit the organic shop at all.