It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain my terraces, not least because the amount of land that has been cleared has increased and because this year – after a completely dry May and normal early June, we have had far more rain than usual in the last four weeks.
I no longer do the cutting myself; I rely on Joris, a young man from the local village of Serres. Fortunately for him, as he is unemployed, but unfortunately for me, he has been taken on to do holiday cover at the only local factory, Well. This means that grass cutting happens at the end of the day. Also I have to compete with the understandably more interesting company of his girlfriend of a year and work on the flat they are doing up in le Vigan. The net result is that it has taken over a month for Joris to do the equivalent of a day’s cutting and he still has one terrace to go. When he finally gets round to the last terrace (he rarely comes when he says he will) it will be time to start again at the other end.
Nevertheless the impact of his punctilious if slow strimming on the terraces between the house and the bassin are very gratifying. It is hard to believe that two months ago these were a muddy, churned up building site.