Sunday, December 21, 2014

Spreading a little Christmas cheer.

The Christmas decorations go up on the village green. Last year they were underwhelming. This year they're worse. Someone has taken the idea of spreading a little Christmas cheer quite literally.

Bob and Sophie are not entirely daft. They understand that if they sit on the wooden table they have an excellent vantage point from which to observe Angus while simultaneously keeping their undercarriages dry. 

This article about the Three Kings from the Christmas edition of The Economist was one of the most enjoyable things I've read all year. The last paragraph a joy -  " For three encompasses everything: past,present,future; here, there, everywhere; earth,sea and air; positive,negative , neutral; this, that and the other. Through these trinities the kings, who might be any Tom ,Dick or Harry, wander is search of answers ( yes,no,maybe ) to mysteries even older than that of Father,Son and Holy Ghost : the birth of light, the dawn of life and the primacy of love ". 

A good five minute read last thing at night.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Scratch card day.

Bob sits on the stairs while I put on my shoes. He does his best to be patient. When we get to the cafe under the arcades the 'beer and absinthe' crowd are engrossed in their weekly scratch card ritual - conducted in sepulchral silence. The man with the red metallic motability scooter is wearing his 'lucky' white baseball cap - back to front. 

Off to the big electrical goods store to buy a sloping cooker hood that 'The font' won't forever be bumping into. There are no assistants around. They're on some form of strike. We leave cooker hood less. 

The woman at the fancy cake shop is in a bad mood. In fact she's in a terrible mood. Her assistant is down with the flu and the phone is ringing non-stop with locals ordering things for Christmas. '' The country's gone mad " she says to me unfestively. 

A carol service near Toulouse. Airbus commuting territory. A decidedly Teutonic flavour to the evening. Angus finds a table at a cafe outside the church. He orders a rather cheeky St.Joseph 2010. The PON's, unbidden, get water and some fish flakes in a bowl. They consider this to be very civilized. To show her pleasure Sophie burps.

The Font joins us after this final, un-French, carol :

Friday, December 19, 2014

If she was human ....

Time to put up the Christmas decorations. The angels, wise men and shepherds take their place alongside Mary and the woman in  the blue dress in our Josephless take on the Nativity story.

It was deemed wise to have a very small Christmas tree well away from the reach of enthusiastic '' that ornament looks delicious " PON's. Although out of reach the tree and its decorations remain objects of unflagging canine interest.  

Sophie spends an hour in the garden digging. It's wet. It shows. Angus can't help but think that if she was human she'd be the sort of tattooed wild girl seen riding on the back of a Harley. And to think we were worried that she'd be shy and retiring.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A small Christmas miracle.

On the front page of the local newspaper a story about a local woman who's dog was kidnapped three months ago. The dog was called Snowy but the kidnappers dyed it black so that it couldn't be traced. Despite the difference in colour someone recognized the face on a stolen dog website and alerted the police. A small Christmas miracle.  

The Christmas market under the arcades. The stall owners posture says it all. Maybe trade will pick up next week.

The angelic duo work with me in the garden. They are in one of their '' what can we do to help ? " moods. Bob co-joined to my left leg. Sophie to my right. There's something about Bob's seriousness that makes me laugh out loud.

The incident with the stray horses and the Christmas creche provides an opportunity to raise the Belgian lady's encroachment problem.  The mayor and the deputy mayor have been told that their idea of fencing off a small area of the horse farmers land as a car park is a wonderful idea. '' Brilliant ! You must have worked at the Quai d'Orsai ". The fact that it's not their idea neither here nor there. If you tell people often enough that they're geniuses they'll sooner or later believe it. Here's hoping it's sooner. There is a council meeting tomorrow night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's going to get interesting.

We brake to avoid a herd of deer that charges across the road in front of us. Their super abundance this year must be due to the mild winter. Sophie stands in the back of the car and howls in frustration. '' I could have got them ". Wishful thinking is not only a human trait.

Bob helps in the garden. Help in this sense means sitting and looking at me. That '' I know it's going to get interesting in a minute " look etched on his face. He can sit like this for hours. 

There are swarms of bees on the hellebores. The PON's try to catch them in their mouths. Coordination is not a PON forte. Their mouths snap at thin air. This is frustrating for the PON's but highly amusing to any onlookers. The bees are quite unconcerned.

The minimalist Japanese Christmas trees starting to make an appearance round the house. Three of them assembled. Another six to go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Woe betide

Out with Bob at sunrise. Deer everywhere. He's kept on his lead. Sophie heads off with 'the font' for a power walk round the lake.

At the cafe under the arcades they're selling calendars for the homeless. The cover picture looks familiar.

Some of the hellebores survive the PON's enthusiastic gardening skills. Others don't.

The PON duo remain in fine form. Woe betide any passing tractors. Bob is as lean as he should be. Despite a reduction in her portions Sophie becomes ever more curvaceous. She is a great believer in what might politely be described as 'recycling'. Pineapple added to her ( or Bob's ) kibbles has not done the trick. Any other suggestions ?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Law enforcement.

The emergency services are out in force. Two foals and their mothers have got into the churchyard. They've trampled the chrysanthemums, eaten the hay in the crib and made short shrift of the standard rose bushes. The police and fire brigade apprehend them just as they're starting on the lavender borders.

The horses appear completely unconcerned by the activity around them. Police, fire brigade and the mayor and his wife hold a council of war. There is much shrugging of shoulders. By the time we leave a small crowd of farmers and very young farmers has gathered.

'The font' makes the first batch of  mince pies. Bob is so excited  he shows, and keeps on showing, his overbite. Sophie tries the pastry and makes an involuntary squeak of delight.

The hectic pace of life in deepest , deepest France profonde.