These mountains are so scarcely populated you get to know all the creatures. Climb behind the village and you walk below a circling pair of falcons. Look down from the house at this time of year and you can glimpse the yellow flash of golden orioles in their love flight abovce the trees. Walk along the road to the first bridge and you'll meet a pair of red-footed grouse, who care very little for flight so they'll just scurry to what they deem a safe distance. Further down the valley is the territory of a couple of hoopoes, new to me this year, their wings flashes of black and white stripes in flight, their beaks long and curved and matched by magnificent headcrests.

A nightingales singing on the wooded terraces behind the church right now. Further down the valley in another direction sings a cuckoo. Those creatures not in couples are looking to mate - though I've just met a lemon coloured snail in a shell of crisp black and yellow spirals, crossing the road, who is maybe happy to go it alone.

I've just been decoupled, taking my partner James down to Perpignan where he caught a train to Zurich. His schedule was derailed by a late arrival even before he set out. He called this afternoon from Montpellier, delighted at his afternoon. In Montpellier the sun is shining as it is supposed to do in the south of France, and he had used several vacant hours to sit in a cafe on a square and fill a notebook with writing ideas.

For me it was back to the rain in these Pyrenean mountains. Good for the vines and the roses, the locals keep reminding me. Good for writers too I suppose, though I'm happy to try writing in an open-air cafe some time soon. My book's going well. I stood on a hillside a while ago, in what in Scotland they call 'smirr', rain that hangs in the air, and the book started to work through tomorrow's scenes. A whisky now should give a fine sense of completion to the day.

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