My French neighbour Arnaud knocks on the window, as he often does, to ask if I want to join him and his friend Marco for a coffee at the cafe on the square. I catch him looking around le petit salon, which looks nothing like it does in the picture as there are muddy paw prints partout along with bits of shredded paper, scattered flip flops, trainers, shoes and socks.
'C'est un bordel ici,' I say, apologetically. (It's a mess here.) 'And it's his fault.'
I nod towards Biff, who is sitting in his doughnut, regally surveying his kingdom, as if it were filled with precious jewels rather than mismatched shoes and socks that he has ferried down from the bedroom.
Arnaud finds the idea extremely amusing. Later, I hear him telling the story to his friends Marco and Karine, the owner of the local fashion boutique. They too, seem to find the fact that I'm blaming Biff for the mess chez moi very funny. (And no, it's not because bordel also means 'brothel' in France, as I've used the expression many times before to describe the state of my house to Arnaud without inspiring such mirth.)
It makes me feel like the Dorothy Parker of the Poitou Charentes. Except I wasn't joking: it is Biff's fault. Stealing my stuff and piling it up in his doughnut is his idea of a good time and he always looks so pleased with himself that I don't have the heart to stop him.