From: The End of Summer

‘The next day chiming church bells woke Jacques as usual. He reached for the clock, it was just five. He yawned. Large mechanical pickers grumbled out in the vineyards; the village farmers had been out since three, harvesting white grapes in the pre-dawn coolness. He scratched at his greying beard, and briefly contemplated trying to get more sleep, but then pulled back the sheet and threw open the shutters, letting the weak daylight into the room.

Out on the terrace Jacques sniffed at his smoky, black coffee and watched the sun get bolder. The birds were waking up, the bossy cheeping of the sparrows getting louder in the guttering above his head. Mimi purred loudly as she wound herself around his legs.

‘I should count my blessings Mimi, most people dream of living this life, but… Ah well, time for breakfast.’

Relishing his Roquefort in the garden after dinner, Jacques laughed at Mimi trying to catch the lizards. They were always too quick for her but she never gave up. The swallows were playing games with each other, swooping down and then soaring back up, round and around. A pungent whiff of ripe grapes penetrated everything as farmers all around the village ferried their harvest to the wine cooperative. As the evening wore on and the bats started to flit around his head, Jacques smiled, thinking about the preparations for the next evening.

‘Oh, Mimi, this is perhaps not such a boring village after all. Monique is so charming, so bewitching, so tempting. I’ll sleep well tonight.’

Mimi purred back at him.’