We took the train to Avignon this midday, rented a car and drove towards the Mont Ventoux, stopping to buy fruit and vegetables and some caillettes and boudin blanc in the next good-sized town.

When we arrived in our village (which has only a cafe-grocery-post office), our next door neighbour had just come back from chopping wood. It’s what he does every year in December, after he picks his olives and takes them to the mill to be crushed into oil. It’s part of the annual routine: harvest the cherries, harvest the apricots, harvest the grapes, harvest the olives and chop wood for the winter.

‘But,’ my husband protested, ‘your shed is already full of wood.' 

'Oh,’ said P--, who is 90-something, ‘one of these years I won’t be able to cut wood any more, and then I might be cold.”