One Summer In France – Episode 23

Two days later, Libby was in the kitchen clearing the lunch things away and planning to spend the afternoon getting to grips with the weeds in the front garden, when Lucas rang.

“Are you free this afternoon? I’ve heard about a car that might suit you. The problem is it’s down in Morbihan, so it’ll take a couple of hours to get there and back. Do you have dinner guests this evening?”

“Only Evie and she’s not bothered what time she eats – if she eats at all. But can you afford the time to take me?”

“I have a few hours off until evening surgery. I’ll pick you up in fifteen minutes.”

Libby sighed as she replaced the receiver. That was the gardening put off yet again. She’d been expecting to have time on her hands when she moved to France, to live a more leisurely pace of life, giving her time to do things. Instead it had been non-stop almost from the time she’d put the key in the auberge door – and that was before any guests arrived.

She ran upstairs to freshen up, slap some make-up on and get her bag. There was no need to change. That was another thing about living here. In the summer unexpected guests could arrive any time so Libby was trying to get into the habit of being what her mother would have called presentable at all times.

Whether she would have viewed the jeans Libby generally wore these days as being presentable, Libby didn’t dare think about. She pulled a pink sweatshirt over the T-shirt and combed her hair before applying lipstick.

She pushed a feeling of disappointment away when Lucas arrived in his muddy estate car. A drive in the vintage Delage would have been nice.

A pungent smell assaulted her nose as she opened the car door – a mixture of disinfectant and antiseptic.

Lucas smiled as he registered her involuntary gasp.

“It smells like a hospital in here,” she said.

“Desolé. It comes with the job. Some people have been known to refuse lifts because of it,” Lucas said. “You can open a window if you like.”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll get used to it.” Libby pulled her seat-belt on. “So where are we off to?”

“Other side of Pontivy,” Lucas said.

“Nice town,” Libby said, remembering a couple of occasions she and Dan had visited. “I love the river there.”

“It is where I had my first job when I finish vétérinaire school,” Lucas said. “I enjoyed my time there.”

The vibrant green Breton countryside dotted with fields of brilliant yellow rapeseed and the pale blue of the flaxseed plants began to flash by as Lucas took the route across country. Libby’s favourite flower, the poppy, was waving around in the breeze, too, adding its colour to the roadside hedges and verges.

“Thank you for taking the time and trouble to help me,” Libby said. “I do appreciate it.”

Lucas shrugged.

“It’s never a waste of time to help a friend. Beside, I like you and am happy to spend time with you.”

“Lucas, only a Frenchman would say that!”

Lucas looked puzzled.

“I am French!”

Libby laughed.



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.