Last week it was suggested that I should provide a replacement for Downton Abbey, the TV drama series. Well this week has certainly been full of drama at La Godefrere.

The week began with the arrival of my son Ian and his fiancee Emma and the big ball of fur that is Tommo the three legged dog! Tommo is a Keeshond, which is a kind of Spitz from Holland and is also known as the dutch barge dog. They are very furry and Tommo has the added dimension of having only 3 legs from an accident with a bicycle. I went to Ouistreham to meet them at the port. I said I would meet them outside and would wait by the side of the road from the ferry port. Just look out for the eccentric Englishman standing in the rain! I duly waited until loads of cars and lorries had passed and the port gates shut. Drama already, what had happened to the, was there a Ouistreham triangle? No, it seems that the french customs had intervened. I am not sure if this is another attempt by french bureaucracy to get at me or a simple sterotyping problem for the customs officers. Emma has orange hair and Ian's is very short and they are young. The customs officers demanded to know where they had hidden the cannabis. It would go easy on them if they owned up right away. They didn't even have Alain Delon sunglasses (but they do have guns). Eventually after explaining that Emma was a nurse and Ian worked in anti mobile phone fraud and they were quite respectable they were released.

Of course this bumped into the law of unforeseen circumstances. As I reported last week the bumbling idiots at the Ford garage had replaced my English headlights with another set of English headlights and not the french ones we obviously needed. This means that my headlights dip the wrong way. I had worked out that we would be back from the ferry port long before I needed to use my headlights. I had reckoned without customs. The delay meant that it gradually got darker as we proceeded toward La Godefrere and to a point where I could no longer get away with sidelights. A nervous hour occurred where I was flicking between sidelihghts and headlights. It seemed I was regularly passed by gendarmes but fortunately was not stopped. So more drama.

Anyway we had a great week although Tommo seemed to be constantly wet as befits a dog with so much hair. We also had to negotiate with the cats to allow peaceful coexistance on the sofa, some tense moments. Another positive for the week was the discovery of Poire, a fizzy pear cider which is really great. We visted a lovely farm close to us and were greeted by a four year old french girl who insisted on showing us the farm collection of baby rabbits. All the aahing and ooing was soon dispersed as the farm lady explained to us that they were for the pot! This is France after all. The farm Poire was great and much was consumed that evening as we drunk to the short life of the rabbits, followed of course by Calvados.

Oh, you wanted nailbiting and emotional drama, well this week one of our cats went missing. Trigger, our tabby cat with the lop ears suddenly went missing one evening. We have looked everywhere and put up adverts in the local bar but no news so far. It could well be that he has decided to go for a wander around. There is no sign of him on our land or with the neighbours. It seems unlikely that the moles have catnapped him, the cows maintain they know nothing so an adventure seems most likely. However our remaining cat Archie seems determined to make the most of this opportunity, by claiming more food and needing extra sofa time as he is so upset at missing his mate.

More drama on the mole front. There has been a clear breech of the temporary truce with a major mole incursion across our orchard. It could be a bold offensive aimed at linking up with any residual mole forces in our neighbour Peter's garden. Attempts at mediation have failed and it seems that retaliation is our only option, We have therefore declared that a state of war exists between us and the moles. Mrs Parish has been mobilised and sent to the front armed with bits of rose bush. We have intelligence that moles do not like running into hard woods such as rose is it is laid in a sort of minefield in their runs between mole hills. A full on collision with a rose twig can prove fatal to a mole. We have issued a statement indicating that the blame for this escalation must be firmly placed with the mole terrorists and that our actions are purely defensive. We await the intervention of the UN, although Mrs Parish did not seem to be in the mood for compromise.

If our life seems like it could not be any more exciting, wait up and let me tell you about the most annoying starling in the world. This starling is a cross between O'Brian and Thomas and spends its time sat upon a telephone wire while it winds everybody up. This starling has a repertoire of bird of prey calls and sits there just next to our gite and pretends first to be a buzzard, then a kestrel and finally does a reasonable impression of a barn owl and a tawny owl. There I am minding my own business, doing some painting or other DIY jobs when I hear "bird of prey". I rush into the house, forgetting to take off my muddy boots (thus falling fowl of Mrs Parish!!) to get my binoculars only to realise that I have been tricked once again. I secretly hope that the starling tries an impression of a sparrowhawk just as our local bird sinks its claws into the starling!! I can wish.

Watched the rugby on French telly last night and saw "Les Bleues" thump the Australians. It was great to watch on french tv and to experience the excitement of rugby in France. The evening was made with one of the french commentatores describing a "brick sh*thouse" of an Australian as a "machine de guerre". The french have so much more style, even with tv commentators. Looking forward to France v Italy in soccer on Wednesday and rugby v Argentina next Saturday evening. (Luckily I have now sorted out a french mobile phone in time to taunt my Welsh friend Steve over the Wales defeat against Argentina.Life is good!!)

So just when you thought that without Downton Abbey your Sunday evening would be dull, think again. Could life be any more dramatic and I have left you with several cliffhangers. Will Trigger return, will there be a paternity suit, can the moles be defeated, will the starling get its just desserts, just what is it that the cows want to tell me. Will the french beat the italians and the argetines? Tune in, same time, same place for next week's thrilling instalment of Godefrere Abbey!!!!

A prochaine