Friday, March 27, 2015

A thing the books never mention.

Bob and Sophie will drink from anything. Stagnant green ponds, muddy puddles, drainage ditches with a thin film of something unidentifiable dusting the surface. The more polluted the water, the better. If their owners emit a 'yeugh' sound and call them back they know they're in canine heaven.

However, if their bowl at home isn't kept topped up with crystal clear water they'll refuse to go near it. That guilt inducing stare that says " This waters three hours old ". 

Herein lies an aspect of dog behaviour the 'books' never mention.

Why ?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The merest trace of a sigh.

7.30 am. The oil delivery man arrives in the courtyard. 'I was passing and wondered if you needed a top up ?' We take 1000 litres on the principle you should never look a gift horse in the mouth.

7.35 am. The builders show up. They’ve come to demolish what’s left of the barn wall after Loic, the heavily bi-focaled gardener,  drove the lawn tractor into it. "The whole thing could come crashing down at any time " says the foreman . 

8.03 am. Caroline , the bad tempered cleaning lady, drives through the gates. She's working twice this week before heading off to see her family in Cannes for Easter. “ My sister has a lovely Mercedes “ she informs me by way of greeting before adding, bizarrely, ‘ I’ll be washing the chair legs in the dining room today‘.

Caroline is in Women's Cooperative summer wear. Cargo shorts, black tee shirt, black Timberland boots. She’s had a fresh buzz cut.  One of the builders shouts out ‘ Ca va ma jolie ? ‘. This is not well received.

The sound of the argument between Caroline and the builder carries into the downstairs kitchen. ‘’ I wonder how many people have such a an exciting start to their day ? “asks ‘The Font’ with only the merest trace of a sigh.

Bob and Sophie observe the comings and goings with great interest.

Everyone, red trousered kitchen designer included, promises to be here tomorrow. Having so many people - electricians. plumbers, fitters, builders - in such a small space should be either interesting or challenging. The PONs will of course wish to be intimately involved in everything.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Where have all the tradesmen gone ?

Sophie at 8.00 am.

Sophie at 9.00 am. The windswept look has taken hold.

Bob spends much of his day on the stump seat waiting for the builders. He's disappointed.

Maybe we'll see them or the kitchen fitters today ? 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Channeled mischief.

Another grey day. No sign of the kitchen fitters. Instead, we are joined by Caroline, the unhappy cleaning lady. Today she is in one of her stomping, slamming and muttering moods. This is the cue for Angus to head off with the PONs to the stream. While I get ready, the PONs very sensibly, wait outside on their 'perch'.

After an hour of ferreting in hedgerows Sophie ends up looking frightful. Her appearance isn't improved by a 'robust' game of tug-of-war with her brother.

In the afternoon the family princess heads off in the car with 'The Font'. She returns to find Bob standing at the front door with HER toy in his mouth. Sophie expresses her displeasure - forcefully.

That wonderful age where both dogs and owners know their respective roles. You could call it living with 'channeled mischief '. Or, perhaps that should be ' partially channeled mischief '. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Life is a little rosier.

A wet March Sunday. It rains for much of the day. 

The PON's are loaded into the back of the car and taken to the upmarket cafe by the canal. The first motor boats have arrived. They've been given moorings facing the communal cemetery. Clearly some official is not happy that he's had to start issuing permits this far in advance of  Easter.

The mayor shows up at the front gate. The boundary feud between the Belgian lady and the riding school has flared up again. The Belgian lady has got into the habit of giving her neighbours ' the finger ' whenever they drive by. This morning the riding school owners wife was passing and saw what the Belgian lady was doing. She slammed on her brakes, got out of the car and stormed into the Belgian woman's garden. The Belgian woman pulled out her mobile phone to call the Police. The neighbour grabbed the phone and threw it into the duck pond. The mayor is at his wits end. We give him a glass of a rather nice Pomerol. This makes him feel better. He has a second. Life is a little rosier when he leaves.

The French teacher has been trying to sell her house. She wants to move into a new build with a larger garden for the dogs. A Parisian couple came to see her house, twice. They said they wanted to buy it and  made a verbal offer. The Parisian couple were supposed to show up on Saturday to formalize the paperwork. They didn't show. They don't reply to e-mails or answer their mobile. The French teacher is distraught. She too gets a glass of Pomerol.

Before dinner Bob, Sophie and Angus spend a good half an hour rug surfing. There is also time for ten minutes of touch rugby. It would have gone on longer but Sophie disappears downstairs with the rugby ball. This, much to Bobs annoyance, signals the end of the game. Angus finishes off what's left of the bottle of Pomerol.

A quiet tale of village life in deepest, deepest France profonde.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2 speed dogs.

A day when nothing happens. No builders, No electricians. No Emmenthal crisps.

Bob and Sophie make their own entertainment. Enthusiastically.

Finally, it's time for a nap. Sophie turns on her back and snores. Bob clambers onto his table.

Last year we tried standard roses at the front door. This year we're trying standard olives.

Within an hour of planting them out the wind's already blown one of them over.

A day that makes you wonder where the time went. Bob and Sophie, with their full on / full off switch,  have no such worries. 2 speed dogs.

Scotland play Ireland and lose..... again . A BBC commentator says it 'was a tournament played by four rugby playing nations plus the the Scots and Italians'. Sigh. This is the last time I'll hear this for another year

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Aude finishes painting the kitchen.She takes down the scaffolding.Bob explores the empty space.He is unimpressed.

The fishmonger has just had a delivery of fresh lampreys. They're still breathing. She wonders if we want any. We politely decline.

The first local strawberries of the season. Four days later than last year. Something about the Gariguettes that makes them stand out. A slight savoury flavour that complements the sweetness. For the next three months they will be a twice a day staple.

No builders, no electricians, no plumbers, no kitchen fitters. Perhaps next week ? The electricians emmenthal flavoured crisps missed. Although there's no wind Bob and Sophie manage to end their day looking windswept. In fact Sophie ends up looking as though she's walked through a typhoon. That's what ferreting for moles will do to a girls hair.