The Portuguese neighbour appears at my door shortly after my return to France, clutching a plastic carrier bag. He too has been away for most of the summer.
'I've bought you some presents from Portugal,' he says. 'I spent a long time thinking about what to get you.'
'Oh dear god,' I think, gingerly opening the bag.
Inside, I find a bottle of port and.... wait for it... a statue of the Madonna - and a rather sorrowful looking one at that.. For once I am speechless and I hope that my face does not betray my horror.
'You are Catholic?' he says, looking concerned.
'Er yes, I did go to catholic school,' I reply, wondering what on earth I am going to do with the statue.
'You do like it then?'
'Um. Yes. It's very nice. Thank you.'
After he has gone, I put it in a box of unwanted presents destined for Médecins Sans Frontieres. And it occurs to me that it might be time to move. Provence seems like a very nice place.