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Oh yeah. We’ve got three, cute-as-poo pretty little tabby kittens with squeaky voices and teeny-tiny stripey tails. But you’re not allowed to see them yet, because Ms Misty, our kitty wonder-ma, is already freaked out enough with the problems of keeping her sweet babies safe from the shrieking, sticky-grabby-fingered hordes which masquerade as my children. The kittens are a few days old now and we only found them after much ear-noodling from Jude as he hunted her down by tracking her roarsome purrs: he eventually located her beneath our bedroom, nose-to-nose with an Enormous Hedgehog who, judging from the ancient poo littering the area, had been recently ousted from his nest and was waiting patiently, either for her to remove herself or else to seize a chance to scoff one of the little kitties…. I don’t actually know if hedgehogs have nests or just a dent of earth, but it doesn’t really matter as he has now been re-located elsewhere.

Today however, the girls and I had a mild spot of panic as our Misty was spotted sauntering around, kitty-free; after my initial relief to see that she is clearly recovering well, her lack of concern for her brood unsettled me a little, so I began Operation Kitty: trying to detect the whereabout of the babies without being spotted by cat or kids. Not easy. Eventually I resigned myself to assigning the mission to Jess instead, providing her with snacks and a hat so she could play detective instead of me and carried on with my Monday morning thang. Mid-whisk in airing Tula’s duvet on her cabin bed, I very nearly swept all three kittens from their secret snugglespot and out of the window. After quickly counting them and giving them the briefest of checks, I gave Mist a little stroke before covering them all back up again. Earlier on, during her reconnaissance mission, Jess had found Misty exploring a box in my shed, so as soon as she had left Tula’s bed, I scooped each kitten up in a cloth so they wouldn’t have my scent on them and carried them out to their new nest, which I’d already lined with a cotton blanket. I gave Misty a little treat of some leftover chicken and as soon as she’d wolfed that, plopped her into the box on top of the kittens and she’s been there ever since, clearly very relieved to be away from all the noise and danger of our home.

And we went for a very nice (but exhausting) walk by the river Vire, which is splendid at all times of the year, but especially brilliantly green to my field-dulled, housebound eyes. I took an awful lot of photos of leaves, which may or may not ever serve any purpose but who cares?! I must remember how beneficial it can be to bathe winter scalded eyes in healing, glowing green balm from time to time. A virtual snippet of summer to combat those everlong winter blues. And yes, if I hadn’t happened to have been carrying a too-tired Tula on the way back when I noticed the sign about the art installations along the route, I would have dragged everyone to see at least one or two more. Those metal chair-bones are the only Real Art I will meet in Real Life this year, sadly.

…And a postscript: Jude and I are in the throes of discussing Plan, um, 5: this may or may not include purchasing an old house in our village. Depending on the price we may end up completing our nomadic existence thus far in France all within the space of a single square mile (or so). More will, inevitably, follow. (I am already, in my infinitely foolish optimistic way, drawing up Plans!)

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