FOR the second set of scans running my tumours have shrunk and the evil little cells have not insinuated themselves elsewhere. Sadly, I’ve been too sick to lepp, dance and whoop with joy, for the treatments – first the chemo, now the immunotherapy – have hit me harder than a 10-ton truck.

You don’t need to know the details beyond being less than a metre from a lavatory and sick bowl fills me with existential dread.

Eating is impossible and at 6st 3lbs my legs quiver as the nurses hold me up. Draped in their arms I recite the same litany. ‘Seven months ago, I was fine. What the f*** happened?’

They now know that English word intimately.

Today all is calm and once again I’ll stand with the physio and see what happens. I’ll also try and write. In three weeks’ time the treatment will start again and off we’ll go. It’s a bitch of a time.

It would be more bearable if there were a cure at the end but weeks, months bought are precious too. Waste not the hours my friends.

Travel to London is out of the question for now – my fault apparently for not grasping the window of opportunity in the handful of days I could Zimmer along. So be it.

Pierce finds it hard to reconcile my present far away reality to the bald stick insect on his Facetime. Honey, me too.

Pathetically, I find myself longing for the size 6 and 8 designer clothes I dumped a couple of years ago as being too small.

(Oh joy. Had to stop there for physio. I stood, shook, breathed deep and shuffled 50 paces on my Zimmer unaided. Off we go again.)

I wear them in my increasingly technicolour dreams peopled with everyone I’ve known. Red wine gets drunk; sun burns me on far away beaches; friends group around tables babbling over each other, helpless with laughter.

My son remains eight years old, his father a slim-hipped smiler and my mother holds court, a teller of tall tales to enthralled newcomers.

I wake smiling and it takes minutes before dawn shatters such reveries.

Other mornings tears drop for I’ve been with Portia and César, head buried in their silky ears, inhaling that perfumed Afghan scent. My arms have encircled their equine necks as they’ve gazed into detached futures without me.

There is nothing lovelier than the feel of Afghan fur and mingling one’s hair. Nothing as streamlined as that aristocratic form and racehorse legs. Nothing – in my eyes – quite so beautiful.

No wonder I wake tear-stained for they’re gone from me. Portia’s ashes are long scattered in the paddock at LM and our tempetes have blown them to eternal freedom.

César has been taken by kennel owner Trudi who loves and understands him.

She called him ‘my boy’ on Instagram, piercing my heart, for he’ll only always be my boy.

It’s hard but he couldn’t be with anybody finer…unless with me.

Strangely LM features little in my dreams; other houses, other countries much more so.

It is a collection of books, paintings, pictures and their memories rather than rooms. The rooms sit lifeless whereas in other houses I imagine the parties still happening.

Were I to return to those other places I feel they’d envelop me, stick a drink in one hand and a fag in the other.

Not France. LM would reluctantly part a way for me to my chair, the air heavy, and wait expectantly for….what?

Fanciful or just the situation I’m in? I always said she’d do for me in the end.

But perhaps that’s youth versus age rather than anything else. Rural France is filled with the elderly of our nations and it’s not that the parties stop, the people do – creaking and dying, no younger ones coming up.

There will be even fewer now as freedom of movement ends and La France Profonde slips back into the decrepitude of unwanted cottages and farms.

It takes a type to live here. On arrival at 56 if I had but realised, I was too young…the youngest in the group I found myself amongst.

There was younger scratching out a living but they were rarely invited into the beige boring houses beyond cleaning and odd jobbing which led to turgid, rigid gatherings.

There were the renegades, considered beyond the pale, who gave raucous days and nights of merriment but they too were already elderly and growing breathless.

And I, well I, irritated everybody by writing about them and asking too many questions. Really, what did I expect when the invitations stopped. Didn’t like most of them anyway, so hell mend me.

But you can’t afford to be lonely in isolated farmhouses. It’s why they banded together and pecked away the outsider who too often pointed out the emperor’s lack of clothes.

So, think of this if tempted to nab a Brexit bargain. Age will wither you and if the Brits don’t take to you, you’re well and truly buggered.

Meanwhile….all together now….upwards and onwards.