Sunday, January 11

A Stay At The Ranch

11th January
...I’d not even washed my face when I arrived at the dinner party on Friday night, I nipped into the bathroom and washed off the dirt a bit but frankly I looked considerably worse when the full horror of my blotchy swollen face was revealed.

It was decided that Freddie and Nina should take me in for that night and then Freddie would help me sort things out at my place in the morning.

Freddie and Nina live in a huge new-looking house on a hilltop. It is regarded by many as a monstrosity with it’s glossy tan tudoresque beams criss-crossing neatly across a gleaming white façade. Freddie has built it around the skeleton of some farm buildings following Nina’s directions, she explained how they first found the place and the vision she immediately saw for it’s future;
It was just a fallen down barn - no roof, Freddie said to me 'This is too far gone for us Nina’ and I said 'Freddie. Look up there, that’s where we’ll have our corner bath’.

Freddie is ex-RAF and quite a bit older than Nina. He is a bit like my Nan and remorselessly hospitable
... would you like 3 or 4 sugars in your tea, or would you prefer coffee, I’ll make you cocoa, look lovely hot milk, are you warm enough, let me make you a hot water bottle...

Freddie and Nina have insisted that I stay at their place until I’ve got The Lovely House dried out. Their house is blazing hot and I couldn’t sleep on Friday night, I had a banging headache and everything ached yesterday morning. I dressed and wandered into the kitchen where Freddie reeled off breakfast options;
Do you like eggs? I could scramble you some eggs and I’ve got some lovely sausages, would you like 4 or 5 eggs, you could have 10 sausages, I’ve got loads. Or would you prefer fried eggs, I expect I can find bacon, or maybe you’re a cereal sort of person...

I started giggling at this barrage and then started crying again, Freddie made me a very sweet coffee and patted my shoulder, waiting until I’d dried out enough to make sense.

After breakfast Freddie put some paraffin heaters in his van and drove me back down to the Lovely House. I checked the cats, ants and whatever else is living in the fridge at the moment, then I waited until the electrician came. I spent the day there with the fires going and would have been happy to stay but Freddie had seen in my fridge and insisted that I go back for supper with them and stay at the ranch for a second night …


  1. I've made up for the fact that I completely missed the last post's drama (so sorry) by arriving here first. You poor poor thing.

    I know what you mean about headaches in hot hot places. Can't you make them let a bit of cold air in? Freddie sounds like he would literally bend over backwards for you.

  2. Looked in your fridge, did he? Saw the aunts ... ah.. ants (we Norte Americanos don't know the difference)... and invited you to dinner.

    ... no doubt out of fear you'd invite him first.

  3. I am increasingly drawn to the ant's saga.

  4. Good old Freddie! How different he is from the Freddie who who ate someone's hamster!

  5. You poor, poor thing. You are welcome to come stay here. It's freezing-ass cold, even in the house, but it's dry.

  6. FF- the ranch is hermetically sealed

    Jacob - I do think they're getting worried about my attempts to return the hospitality

    XL- Ants are compelling

    Gorilla - this Freddie couldn't bring himself to eat an ant let alone a hamster

    Thank you Kelly and I know that you have lots of pretty things in your house - and comfy chairs, I'll be over

  7. i like the sounds of this Freddie character. does he run a B&B from his house on the hill? i think he'd make a good job of it if he did!

    have they given you the guest suite, the one with the four poster bed? if it's too hot, you could sleep nekkid and leave the window open a bit. if you do go for the nekkid option, maybe have one of your silk robes handy for when Freddie brings your breakfast tray up in the morning!

  8. This is the France one never really hears about.

    Freddie the short order cook sounds fabulous.

  9. I'm still thinking of you heating water in a cauldron over an open fire, like someone in a Breughel. You must have been the only person in France doing that at the time, and the shadows of past generations must have been looking on approvingly.

  10. TP - I love the image you've drawn, but open windows were not an option. Nekkid was though. These people had originally planned to do B&B gut don't.
    Wow - Freddie is Fab
    BT - The whole cauldron thing is a bit unusual but not unheard of. Anyone in an older house with a fireplace will have the equipment in the chimney to do that. Many of farming families here use their fires for cooking on. A piece of grilled meat is a daily occurrence on the menu and that's the best way to do it.


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