New Year’s Day: Mont Vinaigre, Cannes…and a mouse

Almost to the top.

Mucking about with Vespa and a general slow start to our day meant we headed out for a hike up Mont Vinaigre in the afternoon. It wasn’t as crystal clear a day as one would hope. There were blue skies, but a haze across the alps, obscuring views to the east and north. Nonetheless, we had a brisk walk up the mountain and a little rest at the top before heading back down, all before sunset.

Though logical, it is still stunning to experience just how cold the air feels in the shadow of the mountain versus the warmth of things on the sunny side. I’ve mentioned before that the name of this village, ‘Les Adrets de l’Esterel,’ means ‘the sunny side of the Esterel,’ and it would feel entirely different to live on the shaded side.

This may also be why I feel like the (technical) back of Verity’s house is the ‘front,’ because the back is the sunny side, the side with the views, the side facing south and west, to the sunset, and even the setting of the moon, which is always clearly visible outside the living room window if I get up by eight am.

Shelley & Iain at the top of Mont Vinaigre

So, we walked. We helped a couple re-connect with their tiny terrier that had fallen behind, and had begun to follow the wrong couple back down the path, when his owners were heading up the mountain. I thought dogs were supposed to be able to smell the difference of these things.

We watched a family with boisterous young children assemble for photos at the top, and then we did the same. We walked back in the sunset, making plans to go to dinner in Cannes.

Back at the house, we all dressed for dinner. For this whole trip, I tried to pack few clothes (having come on the Vespa with my smallest suitcase,) and it has been rather a leap of either wearing jeans and jumpers, and staying in the house, writing, or having guests, going out, and wearing a dress or skirt. So after a shower, I put on my nicest black dress. Shelley lay down for a nap, Dani went on the computer, Iain jumped into the shower. The house was quiet.

Poor little chap probably didn't make it.

I rarely scream, but I did when Felix frolicked into the hallway, mumbling, his mouth full, and deposited a mouse at my feet. A live mouse – which dashed around the hall before scrambling beneath the dresser!

What felt like pandemonium was in fact just me, in my nicest dress, crawling around on my hands and knees moving furniture while Felix desperately hunted for the poor panicked mouse, which had taken up quite a good refuge in the gnarled trunk of Verity’s carved wooden hat stand.

the Old Clock Tower in Cannes.

We finally chased the exhausted creature into the kitchen, where I caught it by its tail and took it outside. It had a few good bite marks in its pelt and I really doubted it would survive the night. I shut Felix inside, but he made a swift exit through the bathroom window.

When we left for dinner, the mouse was gone. But Felix continued to hunt for the mouse under the hat stand into the next day. I thought cats were supposed to be able to smell these things?

We proceeded to have a lovely dinner in Cannes, complete with lobster salad. My guests left the next day, and the house was my own again.

I have taken to shutting the doors and only allowing Felix inside once I’m sure his mouth is empty.

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