The Hound of the Baskerville Sanglier

Posted by on April 26, 2013

Bonjour mes Amis,

A week in the UK, a week in Italy, too many lunches and dinner parties, wedding preparations and my mother’s 93rd birthday.

But first, a further tale from our neighbours, the Crawford’s.

Having spent a week in the UK, they return to Callas to find that there has been some serious disturbances going on in their absence in and around the vicinity of their pool, and their wheelbarrow was missing. Realizing that the swimming season was fast approaching, a new pool cover, a Bache, was needed to replace their rather worn out one, so Colin as he always does, spent many hours searching the net for the perfect model, cross referencing it with, and placing the order. It duly arrived, but they had no time to erect it, so lay it next to the old one, until their return.

Early the following morning, Didier, their charming but slightly mad, and rather too fond of the vino, French neighbour arrived, with great excitement.

“I killed the beast, I killed the beast” he exclaimed. Val calmed him down and this was his tale. I shall translate his story into English, for those of you, and me, that can’t understand the French lingo!

“Early in the morning, I heard a terrible noise, screeches coming from your terrace area. I went to investigate and found that an enormous sanglier had got himself wrapped up in your bache, had panicked and had landed into the swimming pool”.

Now, Didier is a rather old, frail gentleman, but his distaste of sanglier is obsessive. Having experienced only the day before, a massive destructive attack on his vegetable patch by, he assumes, this very same sanglier. All his wife’s lovingly planted, nurtured tomato vines, baby cucumbers just waiting to grow into adults, a couple of rows of seedlings just popping their heads above the soil to enjoy the Provence sunshine, and his pride and joy, his 2013 melon protegy, guaranteed to win the Callas agricultural show in June 14th,all gobbled up!

Now, even the most tranquil Frenchman deserves to feel just a little disturbed after this devastation, and Didier is no different from the rest.

“I call the wife to bring me the bread knife”, she duly arrives in slippers and nightie, hands the knife over to the executioner. Let battle begin. A small problem, the beast is fully aware of what could happen to him if he dare approach the battlefield, so calms himself and simply floats around the pool just out of reach of the enemy. This bizarre situation continues for what seems to be forever. Stones are thrown at the beast (into the Crawford’s precious pool!) but to no avail.  Finally DD manages to grab the corner of the pool cover and bravely drags its contents towards him, with all his strength he attacks the beast with his wife’s bread knife, only grazing its shoulder.

Now the sanglier is fully aware that his size and weight far outcries DD’s stature, and launches itself straight for this imposter. DD, realising that perhaps he should have taken a rather more gentle approach, gets to his feet and starts running, and off they go, round and round the swimming pool, neither man nor animal is giving up. When DD’s heart is sure to burst, the sanglier drops down, exhausted…

“So, Colin, I used your wheelbarrow to shift this thing to my freezer, and the wife wants to know if you two would like to come over for Daube de sanglier tonight?” (Go and find the recipe on You Tube – it’s delicious!)

The very brave Didier

The very brave Didier


Tree Cutting (or Didier again).

We have had our great 76 year old tree cutter staying with us recently and Frank continues to work like an ox in the day and devourer ibuprofen at night, washed down with just a few glasses of rose. Then back to work the following day. Together, JS and Frank have filled our log store of perfect sized oak logs. Kate, the Italian stallions floosy, has spring cleaned the house, completed every crossword from the Times to the Mirror, puts the whole world to right, and remains a very close girlfriend.

Meanwhile, the Crawford’s continue to make rather rash decisions when it comes to accepting help from Didier once more. A tree needs cutting down, which lies next to the house, and could cause serious damage if it falls in the wrong direction. Health and safety is last on Didier’s mind, so armed with his chain saw, rope tied around his waist, crampons firmly in place he commences work. The tree is leaning a good 45degrees towards the house, so the idea is to cut the major branch closest to the house and then allow the tree to straighten itself up. All going swimmingly well, until the chain saw shatters into a million pieces, showering the Crawford’s below with nuts, bolts and chains. Not to be unperturbed, our man adjusts himself, is handed a replacement saw, and away we go. ”Timber”, the offensive branch is removed, but DD is then catapulted first to the left and then to the right, then to the left and then to the right, Tarzan has nothing on this man.

After some major swinging, tree and DD come crashing down, missing the house by inches.

How many lives does this Frenchman have?


The Wedding.

I spent a week in Birmingham, with the future bride to be. Practice wedding make up, eyelashes dyed, full waxing, new hairdo, more teeth whitening strips, new underwear, the compulsory but delightful trip to see my man Joe, and then I had to concentrate on the bride! Mum is very proud this month, a little bit of boasting now, sorry. Tess continues to work bank for the Worcester group NHS, and has just been offered the Out patients Managers post for the group, the youngest ever SLT manager, but she has decided to concentrate on her own private SLT practice, a very new enterprise at the moment.



Meanwhile Tash, has just taken her mock exams in Business and marketing, and despite very little revision!! Managed to come second from top in the whole year, not bad for an English girl in an all French university. Her Dad, wanted to know if he should “deal” with the little S… who came first, and perhaps a little more revision wouldn’t go amiss!



Saw my Mum, just prior to her 93rd birthday, she looked amazing and despite a few aches and pains, continues to live independently, and is looking forward to a trip on the QE2 to New York in September, as you do when you’re in your 90’s.


JS Panics

JS is fighting fit and seems to have more energy than ever, are you sending him anything Joe???

However, we did have a little claustrophobic moment in Italy last week. Arriving at the hotel, at lake Garda, we were on the third floor, so it was necessary for someone to take the lift with the very heavy suitcase (cannot be doing with those small pull me push you affairs, would fill one of those up with just the underwear!) so it had to be JS that entered the Tardis. I ran up the flights of stairs and waited to greet my man. It was one of those lifts that have two entry/exit doors, in one and out the other. JS reluctantly went in one door, elevated up to the third floor, and the door behind him opened. He was still facing the original door (are you keeping up with this explanation?) He thought the door would not open and started to slightly panic and I stood there asking him what he was doing. He said, “I can hear you Nessie but I am stuck, this bl…. Door will not open; call the man in charge” who incidentally was with me having shown me the room. I said, ”JS, turn around, I’m behind youuuuuuuu.”

All my love

Olif. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Cag and co. absolutely lovely to see you three at TJ’s, and her present was incredible. xx

June. Delicious tea as always, and life has been clear of further funerals! xx

Buzz. Stop working so hard – 250 canapes individually prepared is too much for anyone! xx

Peter and Anne. So perfect to see you both and looking so well. xx  see you on the 6th July.

Joe and Val. thank you for all the usual. Xx

Cuddles. Thank you for the B&B/full board. Xxx

TJ. Only 75 days to go Mrs Batchelor. Xxxxxxxxxxxx

Tash. Get those books out. xxxxxxxxxx


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