Sunday, February 7, 2016

A much better size.

The ' big' car is now 9 years old. The cruise control has become temperamental and the rear parking camera is suffering from blurred vision. We head off to the Volvo garage in the little Skoda in search of a replacement.'' That's far too big " says 'The Font' eyeing up a 4x4 in the forecourt. '' This is a much better size ". The 'much better sized' vehicle is exactly the same as the first one except in a different colour. Angus says nothing.

The young salesman asks if we'd like a test drive. '' What a good idea" replies 'The Font'. They return after twenty minutes. I can't help but think that the young man appears more nervous than he was before setting off. 

Sophie opts for an afternoon spent sunbathing on the garden table. She sleeps with her tongue sticking out.

After two nights away the French teachers Labradors have returned safely home. One is lame and covered in cuts. The other looks as though he's been for a walk in the park. They sleep the deep uninterrupted sleep of safely reunited family dogs.

And here's some music for  Sunday morning :

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Burning tyres.

It usually takes twenty minutes to get to the market. Today it takes an hour. The farmers are blockading the motorway exits and burning tyres on the road that runs along the riverbank. Something to do with a lack of government subsidies. We take a detour inland but the protesters have parked tractors and combine harvesters across the bypass. The PONs think it's wonderful. Angus less so.

Some Turbot from the fishmongers. At the Italian delicatessen Rabbit and Rosemary Ravioli. The angelic duo get given some Pecorino. Bob shows his overbite and does his soft shoe shuffle. Angus is always worried that some unsuspecting passer by will mistake the joy overload for a fit. 

It takes an hour to get home. Angus listens to the morning news. You know when there is going to be a bout of Brit bashing when the announcer starts to refer to ' Nos amis les anglais '.  Today there is a twenty minute diatribe about why Europe would be better off without us .

Four shaggy donkeys have appeared in the field next to the orchard. They munch away and blithely ignore the PONs.

Sophie plays with lamb on a rope ....

... while Bob joins his master on a tour of the village. The French teachers Labradors have run off again. She is distraught. They've managed to dislodge a fence post and dig their way out. We walk for two hours but there's no sign of them.

Just another quiet day in deepest , deepest France profonde.

This is interesting :

Friday, February 5, 2016

A sunny day.

Bob lies on the doorstep contemplating the meaning of life. Outside, on the lane,The Old Farmer is tinkering with the underside of his venerable motor home. '' Soon have her running like new " he says, optimistically. He's making plans for a fresh trip to Belarus .

Bobs sister exudes happiness. Her run in with the hallucinogenic mushrooms now forgotten. Sophie keeps a close eye on the finches on the bird table. Every half an hour or so there is burst of activity as she leaps up and barks at them. A reminder of who's boss. The finches are unimpressed and carry on their contented squabbling.

There is a gathering in the town hall. Two white vans with orange roof lights arrive. Men with clipboards emerge. As we venture across the village green on our pre-lunch constitutional we can see the mayor, his secretary and the gentleman with the yellow day-glo visibility vest deep in discussion. Being a French discussion there is much arm waving. Perhaps this signals progress on the new zebra crossing ? 

A warm February day draws to a close. Bob remains on guard at the front door.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Everyone's perfect in unusual ways.

Horses have arrived in the fields on the other side of the lane. Bob is put on his lead. Not that he's aggressive just extremely inquisitive. Bob has to stop and stare at the new arrivals. This makes the morning walk a stop-start affair. 

Sophie continues with the activated carbon and a stomach calming solution. This is syringed into her mouth twice a day. She is a perfect patient. Even the charcoal tablets are swallowed enthusistically.

In the supermarket it's North Africa week. A sign appears on the refrigerator by the cash desk. A thousand and one Maghreb flavours.

Angus looks in to see what delicacies might be on offer. The choice is pedestrian. A Halal Pizza Bolognaise, Halal Potato Burgers ( or Potatoes Burgers as it says on the box ) , Cheese Naan, or bizarrely, that old North African staple Chilli con Carne Burritos.  This cornucopia of delights fails to grab our fancy.

Bob ends his day as he began it - guarding his flock. 

Still no sign of work starting on the new zebra crossing. However, a man arrives to drive away the large orange mechanical digger that has been parked outside the church for the last two weeks. A sign of progress ? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Steadfast and true.

We spend the morning collecting mushrooms. There's enough to fill four large bin bags. After a longer than usual lie in Sophie reappears as bright as rain. She's wearing her ' what hallucinogenic mushrooms ? ' face.

Mindful of the night before ( and Sophie's peculiar antics ) Bob displays his 'steadfast and true' big brother attributes. He divides his time between shepherding his flock and checking on his sister.

On our journey through Europe we've dealt with tongue destroying processionary caterpillars, poisonous toads, piroplasmosis bearing ticks, arsenic laced chicken laid down by Italian hunters and discarded organo-phosphate sacks dumped by Umbrian fly tippers. To this list can now be added mood altering mushrooms. A dog owners education is never complete. Thank heavens for the reliable vets who've been there when needed.

With Sophie's speedy and complete recovery all is once again well at The Rickety Old Farmhouse. Noise and mischief reign. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

High as a kite.

As the sun sets Bob and Sophie head off into the orchard for a pre-dinner romp. We laugh at the sight of the two of them hurtling round the lavender beds at high speed. We stop laughing when we notice that Sophie has lost all sense of direction. She hurtles through the lavender, bulldozes into Bob and head butts trees. I manage to pick her up. She's trembling uncontrollably. Pupils wide. 

Sometimes communication is non-verbal. 'The Font' is already heading back inside to get the car keys while simultaneously dialing the vet on the mobile.  He's waiting at the surgery. Checks made. Sophie has managed to find some hallucinogenic mushrooms in the orchard.  'How long will it last ? ' asks 'The Font'. '' If it's what I think it is anything from two to twenty hours. You'll just have to brave it out . Don't leave her alone". 

It has been an interesting night with a PON princess as high as a kite. Water is syringed into her mouth. Activated carbon administered every four hours. In the garden she tries to climb trees, walks on her back legs and 'chats' with the owls on the roof of the barn. 

Bob, being top dog, is distraught. His sister is quite unconcerned. She's living the 60's California surfer lifestyle. She finally calms down and falls sound asleep at four. A ten hour high. When it's fully light Angus will be out to remove every mushroom he can from the garden. 

The never ending adventure of living abroad with dogs.

Monday, February 1, 2016

How delightful to find a friend in everyone.

Sophie is the first out of the door. She glares.

Bob stays behind to biff the solar system fridge magnets on the dishwasher door with his nose.

We stop off at the bakers.

The bakers wife is in a particularly miserable mood. For a chocolate makers convention her husband has made an 18" high statue of chocolate children sitting on a chocolate bench. It is called 'Young Love'  '' Would I like to buy it ? ". Angus declines the kind offer finding the concoction to be scary. How would you eat it ? Rip a head off ?  Or start at the feet ? Freudian analysis and eating chocolate should not mix.

And here for the teenager in all of us is another of those Russian skiing moments :