The church bell tolls thrice, a breeze catches the long meadow grass in a whisper…


I look to the deck chair where my friend snoozes…no sign of life. The gentle hum of a distant tractor and Mata Hari struggles upright, blinking, we stare at each other in the bright sunlight, no need for words, we know what comes next.

In the kitchen, we open the fridge and peer in, is it to be a sandwich or a picky affair at the table? We start dragging items from the fridge, quiet companionship….Mata says “up the table then?” We’ve got some fresh cured meats from a local artisan, some country pate from our friend Jean-Claude the farmer down the lane, enormous heavy ugly but beautiful tomatoes from Jean-Claude’s family veg patch, a few good beets, some fresh crusty bread and – cheese? I enter the pantry and the festering smell hits me both musty and piquant, sour and “Oh this cheese is fabulous …”

We load up a sort of large pail with items; throw in a table cloth, bread basket, some glasses, a few beers and a bottle of wine. We shiver in the cool shade of the house and step back into the dazzling light, there is movement from the deck chairs. I hear the faint smacking of lips, a murmur of male voices, the shuffle of designer flip flops…

Yawning and unbidden DJ and Stepney appear squinting against the brightness; lunch begins with the clinking of glasses, stories re-told, laughter, the afternoon stretches toward dusk.

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