Most mornings I wake up and don’t know what the day will bring. Every day is usually fun in its own way but some days turn out to be stars, often when you least expect them to. Today was one of those.

Wim dropped in this morning with Babouse on his regular Saturday morning walk, for a cup of coffee. That’s always good fun, and we often sit there chin-wagging about this and that for a couple of hours or so. But today we didn’t have quite that long because I had to hitch my trailer onto the back of the Kia and head north-west into the Charente.

Remember how I’d been looking for a good ‘scie à bûches’ (log saw), had missed a few and had resigned myself to patiently wait for days (or even weeks) until another suitable one came up? Well, after cutting a day or so’s supply of logs by hand yesterday afternoon, I didn’t have long to wait after all, because when I came in and checked Le Bon Coin a bit later on, an ad for one had just been posted about 10 minutes earlier. The advertiser was in Touzac in the Charente, which is about 80 or so miles from my house by road, or just over two hours drive. A quick phone call clinched the deal and the advertiser’s address then popped over in an email.

We agreed that I’d aim to get there for 3.30 pm but in fact I was 10 minutes or so early. I found the right place despite its extremely rural location using my trusty satnav and after I’d turned off the ‘main’ road onto a rough lane that led slightly up-hill with grape vines on both sides, I came to what was, or had once been, the sprawling old domain-owners house. Stopping next to it, I gave my new friend a call on his mobile and in moments there were his wife and him waving at me from one of the entrances.

To cut a long story short, the property was in the heart of Cognac country and the owner of the land on which the house and all of the vines extending over the rolling land and down the slight incline were situated, occupied the ‘other’ part of the house when they were there, but most of the time lived in Paris. My new friends, who were the most charming people you could possibly imagine, were ex-CD having lived in various countries around the world, and now lived in the part of the house that we were outside of, in the Charente.

We could have stood there and chatted all day, in French and/or English, and even Spanish, Italian or German if we’d had a mind, but we didn’t have that much time with me having to get back to Plazac, so we turned our attention to the ‘scie à bûches’. We were momentarily distracted by an immaculate old Jaguar standing next to it with CD plates on a CH registration that my host asked if I’d like to buy, with less than 100,000 km on the clock, but I told him that unfortunately I had to decline his offer. Then we set to, to power the saw up, which it did perfectly, and as my host moved his hand a bit too close to the blade when he showed how to set the log length indicator, his wife told him quite sharply, to watch it and get his hand away. It was then that I spotted that the index finger on his left hand was missing, and when I asked if he’d chopped it off using the machine, his wife looked at him sternly and told me that yes, he had done 😕

So then I handed over the cash and we moved the saw over to the back of my trailer and loaded it up. A few minutes later, we each bade our ‘au-revoirs’ and I turned the Kia round and headed off back down the hill with all of us waving like demented idiots as I departed. I was left with the feeling of satisfaction that I’d acquired the ‘scie à bûches’ that I’d been looking for, but more than that. It was a great pleasure and indeed, a privilege, to have met two such lovely people in the process and it’s a memory of my time in France that I will treasure for some time to come.

More about the saw tomorrow, which is still sitting outside under a cover on my trailer, when I come to give it its first trial run 😉