One Summer In France – Episode 15

On Saturday morning Libby was up early. With Napoleon the cockerel shouting out his wake-up calls any time from 4.30 a.m. onwards she didn’t need an alarm clock.

She’d quickly developed an early morning routine: shower, dress, cup of tea and then out to feed the chickens and ducks, before heading back into the kitchen to make breakfast for herself and Chloe.

Libby loved spending early morning time alongside what she already thought of as her stretch of canal. Some mornings there was a mist hovering over everything, other mornings the sun had already broken through with the promise of a beautiful day.

This morning there was a heron high up in one of the trees on the opposite bank. She’d stood watching as he took off, unhurriedly making his way along the canal.

Back indoors she put the three eggs she’d found in the hen house on the table and called out to Chloe.

“Fancy scrambled eggs for breakfast?”

“Sounds great. Down in five.”

Two days ago she and Chloe had done a big supermarket shop, stocking up on basic kitchen ingredients and the food for the rally. This morning she planned on making quiches, soup, a couple of sponges and some biscuits for the rally tea this afternoon. Agnes was bringing the bread for the sandwiches from the boulangerie and some ham for the baguettes from the village butcher.

Over breakfast, she and Chloe made lists and planned the morning’s baking. By the time Agnes arrived mid-morning, the kitchen was a hub of activity. Sponges were cooling on the rack, soup was bubbling on the stove, quiches  were cooking and biscuit tins were full.

Libby looked at Agnes anxiously.

“Is all this OK? What the men will be expecting?”

Agnes nodded.

“It’s fine. They are always hungry when they return.” She put the crash helmet she was carrying down on the table by the door. “I have told Bruno I will go with him this afternoon if we get everything ready before they leave.”

“You ride pillion?” Chloe said. “Aren’t you . . .”

“Oui. It’s how we meet a long time ago.” She looked at Chloe. “I’m sure you weren’t going to say I’m too old, were you, Chloe?” Agnes asked, looking at her.

“No, of course not!” Chloe said. “It’s just that motorbikes terrify me. I can’t imagine ever wanting to ride one.”

“Oh, but, Chloe, they are such fun. Maybe one day you go with Bruno and –”

“No,” Chloe interrupted vehemently, causing both Libby and Agnes to look at her in surprise. “I’ll make a start on the sandwiches.”

Agnes shrugged before turning to Libby.

“Bruno has always had motorcycles, but it is a long time since I’ve been able to go on the opening club outing with him. But I will go only if we have everything organised. I’ll be back to help you serve.”

“We’ll make sure we are organised,” Libby said.



Margaret Scott

Margaret is a sub-editor within the Production Team on the "Friend". Her main job is to work on the stories and make sure the magazine leaves us in its best possible guise. When not doing that, however, she either has her head buried in the old “Friend” volumes or is out and about giving talks or going on Warner trips (fab!). She hates cheese.