Country diary: Mayenne, France

Sarah Poyntz lives in the Burren in Co. Clare (one of the most magical places on earth IMHO) and is one of the contributors to the Guardian‘s Country Diary. She’s been in France on holiday and this is part of her latest Diary entry.

We were walking by the river below the forest when suddenly there was a whirr and between two trees flew a rocket of colour; turquoise, green, blue, orange – a kingfisher – a poem in flight. Down it dived, the stiletto-like beak pronging a small fish and, seemingly all in one movement, up it shot and away.

A squirrel, a kingfisher and a white and orange cat named Chibi. Some years ago we regularly took care of Chibi to let our French gîte owners off for their holiday. Then they sold up and moved, but we met them for restaurant lunches. This year we visited their new home. Suddenly a door was pushed open and there was Chibi. She walked towards us, meowing loudly, looking up at us and purring. She remembered us, remaining curled up at our feet throughout the visit and brought to mind a medieval monk copying from Virgil and writing a poem about his cat in the margins: “I and Pangur Ban my cat, / ‘Tis a like task we are at: / Hunting mice is his delight, / Hunting words I sit all night …”