In the rare moments the sun was hidden by a passing cloud, a frisson of autumn to come signalled its approaching arrival.

That melancholic tinge of loss, of heat dwindling, of life retracting into itself in uncertain knowledge of return.

After the fevered temperatures of the past few months there is a welcome relief in thoughts of mist and controlled heating; of soft sweaters and wool replacing the T-shirts and linen pantalons.

Were I at Las Molieres, I’d be watching for the changing colour in my creeper, loving the burnished leaves but already missing the disappeared house cover.

I’d be looking towards the distant woods of Puygaillard and watching the foliage fade out to be replaced by pointed sticks of trees. The church would once more appear on the skyline.

And the frazzled grass of LM’s parc would be slowly turning to fresh shoots of green, changing the arid landscape once more into something approximating, if not a lawn, a garden.

Now is the time the field mice scuttle in to create warm nests for families I cruelly will not allow to be born. One, in my absence, has already been found in the bonnet of my car.

But that was then and this is now.

I am sitting in my wheelchair, baseball cap covering the few strands of hair left from chemo, in front of the original building of the rehab complex which is once more my home.

By my side – tall and, yes, immaculately dressed – my son, who is smiling as broadly as me into the phone for a rare photograph.

We have wine glasses in our hands although the contents are champagne and we intend to finish the bottle before he drives Miss Daisy back to her solitude.

We have talked and talked; laughed and cried – a familiar pattern since his arrival in France.

The lines of Lewis Carroll float through my head from The Walrus and the Carpenter.

‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,

To talk of many things:

Of shoes – and ships – and

sealing-wax –

Of cabbages – and kings –

And why the sea is boiling hot –

And whether pigs have wings.’

Nonsense but sums up what people do when time is no longer ever extending.

I want us to have said and asked all there is possible to say and ask to understand my mistakes and he his.

In truth there is little need for this for after a lifetime of frequent passionate disagreements and rows we realise we love and care for each other very much.

He’s surprised that should be news to me. Which makes me laugh; again. We’re laughing a lot these days.

Big decisions are having to be taken too, but I frequently shy away from absolutes as some cannot be faced head

on and must be approached a little step at a time to lessen the impact.

He is finally understanding this and checks himself when my hand goes up in the stop signal.

Tonight, after a couple of hours outside in the town for the sheer hell of it, we returned late, grinning like naughty schoolchildren.

I thought the two staff were joking with us when they refused to let Pierce in and said he was now forbidden until further notice.

But, no, it was no joke – there is a case of Covid on the second floor and we’re into lockdown.

Pierce wanted to grab me, take me way and safely home but sense prevailed, although God I would that I could. I want to run and run.

Whether in or out, he promises he will be close by for my vital scan on the 15th.

I need him here, however selfish that is, for, for once in my life, I cannot do this alone, nor do I

want to.

Ah, such times we’re all living through. Most mornings I wake up and, for a glorious few minutes, I forget all this but of course it doesn’t last.

But I am trying hard, with the help of my son, to live in and relish the minute – to remember, to reminisce

and, above all, to laugh as often as possible.

Once again I can only pray I’m not infected and hope Pierce will be by my side again before too long.

I hear the night nurse coming to check me into bed.

Every day I can do more for myself but I’m not yet ready to go on the run with Pierce.

My legs and arms still tremble – an offshoot of the medication and all the rest. Hardly Bonnie and Clyde.

Now to try to sleep. They don’t make it easy.

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