As I write the blog we are awaiting the first-round election results. You will remember from last week just how close the French Presidential election results will be with the top two coming from a range of four candidates. The final opinion polls show it is too close to call. Voting is taking place as we speak and the polls close in rural areas at 7pm and in urban areas at 8pm. In France the counting takes place at individual polling stations with the results reported in to a central office. So, the result should be known very soon after 8pm. I may delay the publishing of the blog to bring you the hot off the press news.

In the French elections, the candidates are allowed to put up posters on boards provided by the local Council and only there. In a suburb of Paris, a local artist replaced all the posters of candidates with their Mister Men equivalents. Marine Le Pan (National Front) became Madam Autoritaire and the far-left candidate became Monsieur Reve (Mr, Dream). It was very clever!

French Mr. Men replace the candidates in Paris

We are just back from yet another village repas. This time it was at the village of Herce. A meal followed up by a cycle race. This was a special occasion as we were treated by Roget, the Chairman of the local village committee. With our friends, Emile and Yvette and other English friends we go to quite a few repas. In order to recognise our support for local events Roget decided to reward us by providing the wine for our meal at his expense. If that were not good enough at the end of the meal he asked us to stay while he brought round Champagne!

Of course, we had to go back to Emile’s for a coffee and had to have some of his calvados. I am now trying to stay awake while writing the blog. At the same time, I am watching the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Arsenal on French TV. It is a kind of assault on all the senses. So much so, I might need another drink to restore some form of equilibrium.

Meanwhile, it has been another busy week at La Godefrere and I have been much in demand as the local Rope Man. Paul our tree surgeon has been cutting damaged branches off the large oak tree in our neighbour’s garden. As this is a second home and they are in England I offered to use my now extensive Rope Man skills to help. Being the Rope Man is a very skilled job. While Paul climbs up the tree and secures himself with all sorts of ropes I have to make sure that the ropes don’t get tangled as this would result in Paul being stuck up the tree!

The tree man Paul at the top of the tree. I as the rope man have my feet on the ground, mostly

I found myself watching with mouth open as Paul climbed the tree and roped himself in and moved around the tree with amazing agility. The tree needed pruning and removing several large branches over their garage. This led to my second task as Rope Man. This involved Paul tying the rope around the branch and getting me to hold on to the end. By holding on the branch would then swing away from the garage and could be lowered by me to the ground. In some cases, this involved the careful lowering of a branch to the garage roof and then manoeuvring it to the ground. This requires strength and concentration. On one occasion I was holding on to the rope when Paul cut through a rather heavy branch. A bit heavier than I anticipated which resulted in the branch coming down at pace and me being pulled across the garden hanging on to the rope. At one point, I thought I might end up in the tree next to Paul!

I could not let go as the branch would have hit the garage so I had to fly across the garden with rope in hand. A bit like something out of Peter Pan! Any way by Friday afternoon we had finished and the tree was a good deal thinner and there was a whole load of logs and brushwood for the neighbours to clean up next time they come.

This has also been Juliet’s week. She was due to be delivered by Mark our builder last week. I had to email him with the refrain “Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo”. Juliet duly arrived and had to be given a complete going over by me before she was ready to display her wares and be available for Mark to come back and to put her firmly in her place, with the odd bit of touching up. She is now resplendent in her place as a Juliet balcony in front of the old door to the gite where the outside stairs once were.

Juliet installed at the gite

This has also been a good week for the birds with our Little Owls firmly establishing themselves in the nest in the end of the gite. They have also been shouting a lot at the cats if they happen to walk underneath the nest. This week I heard a cuckoo for the first time this Spring and on Friday I saw a hoopoe flying across the sheep paddock. Today I also heard them calling so hopefully they will decide to nest somewhere locally.

The weather has decided to become warmer and sunnier although Mrs. Parish now wants some rain as the garden is looking a bit dry as we have had no rain for a few weeks. Mrs. Parish has tomato plants and flowers that she is having to bring into the shed at night as we have had a few frosts and then to take them out in the day time. The dry weather does not seem to stop the grass growing and I am having to get out the tractor mower at least once a week.

Next week we have friends coming to stay and this may involve tidying up my whisky collection as one of the visitors is a Scot. After Romeo, it could be Macbeth but there is no mention in Shakespeare’s play that he drank whisky. He did quite a lot of killing but I think Sandy is not really into murder. So, tidying up the whisky will have to do. I imagine we will have a few discussions about politics and the elections in France and the one to come in the UK. Last year we had an interesting discussion about Descartes’s skull, I seem to remember. It must be the whisky that does it.

This may well mean that the blog is disrupted both by a surreal presence and the effects of Scot's whisky. I am sure we will come up with something memorable to report on once the blog is finished. The anticipation will I am sure make it worthwhile.

It is still a couple of hours before we know the outcome of the first round of the French elections so I am going to publish the blog and update you later when we know the result. My prediction is that Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will get through, but it will be close.

I think I need a drop of that whisky to get me in the mood to watch election results French style!

Bon courage