Thursday, October 23, 2014

A serious affair.

On our morning walk Bob stops and stares at the sun reflected in the windows of the old garage. One of those '' Blimey ! I've never seen that before " moments. We stay there until it's fully risen and out of sight. We also stop at a football that some children have left on the lawn outside the town hall. This is an object of some concern. We don't go until I've kicked it . As we leave he glances over his shoulder three times to make sure the footballs not following us. A walk is a very serious affair when you're 21 months old. Finally, the fire hydrant is carefully christened. 

In the afternoon we wander down to the pilgrim chapel by the stream. Bob and Sophie chase birds in the hedgerows. The birds have nothing to fear. 

'The font' is joining me on a trip to see men in dark suits. Bob and Sophie are off to the kennels for a brief 'holiday'. 

And here's the design for the new Norwegian 100 Kroner note. What do you think of the obverse side ?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A look that says it all.

It's half term. The cafe under the arcades closed. The only sign of life the greengrocer perched on the front wing of his car texting his wife. He looks up as we pass and says ' quiet this morning ' before returning to what he was doing . The cafe cat wanders up to me as if to say 'where is everyone ?'. A little French market town can be very quiet indeed. Where could the beer and absinthe crowd have gone ?

Sophie plays in the garden. She hasn't quite got the hang of sharing things with her brother. She's a believer in the old rule ' what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine '. Bob, who has had his tail nipped, gives her a look that says it all. He finally settles down in the doorway well away from his troublesome sister.

Just another day in deepest France profonde.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A consolation for what ails the world.

Too much wheat in their diet disagrees with PON's. They develop skin irritations. Manic ear scratching the most common sign. Bread, biscuits and the illicit morning half croissant (shared) kept strictly under control. Thankfully, the little angels consider rice cakes to be a wonderful reward for their rare moments of good behaviour. If only humans were as easy to please.

On the supermarket shelves rows of halal sweets ( didn't know they existed ). Even more bizarrely packets of Hershey's cookies and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups displayed on the Asian specialty foods counter. For most of the locals Hershey's might as well be Chinese.

We head off for a walk by the river. As we get to the car park there's a mini bus unloading a group from the special needs home. I recognize the young teacher in the primary school - one of the local rugby players. He's walking with an elderly and very disturbed lady. Hearing the dogs he glances up briefly, gives a smile of recognition, then turns back to his companion. They walk away slowly. He six foot three, she five foot nothing. His arm draped protectively and tenderly around her shoulders. A model of  unwavering attention. In a world that's always worried about something - Ebola, terrorism, the economy  -  a reminder that kindness is alive and well. This makes me smile.

Monday, October 20, 2014

La Fievre du Dimanche Soir

The final day of the petanque tournament. Scores of visitors descend on our little corner of paradise. After lunch Angus is told to go out and socialize. He doesn't recognize anyone apart from the Belgian lady who ( against all planning regulations ) has converted the garage by the town hall into a bijoux retreat. The Belgian lady has a ferociously bad tempered Pekingese that tries to disrupt the nearest petanque game. The Pekingese gets sworn at. Angus leaves.

Seven o'clock. Time to dismantle the beer tent. A shout of '' Lads ! There's another keg here that we'll need to finish off " echoes from outside the Salle des Fetes. The dismantling is a lengthy process that has not been completed by the time the 'gala' dinner starts. 

Last night it was Crazy Ed. Tonight it's 'Wilbur' , a gentleman in his forties wearing a blue ruched sparkly satin shirt, black flares and red patent leather shoes. He, and the two young ladies in blue sequined tank tops and black leggings, start their 'La Fievre du Dimanche Soir' performance at ten. By this stage of the evening the local farmers are  in  a 'tired and emotional' state.  Wilbur wisely sticks to smoochy ballads. The local farmers join in, enthusiastically. Their wives look unimpressed.

And here , for those who remember the early 80's, is a flavour of Wilbur's repertoire ,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A hard act to follow.

Overnight a wind has blown the acorns from the oak trees. The road and verges carpeted in them. Bob decides they're a delicacy.

The Village Square a hive of activity. The petanquers are covering the cracked tarmac with a layer of fine pea gravel. Bob stands on his stump seat observing. He has an old tee shirt in his mouth. This does little to enhance his 'ferocious' image. It doesn't do much for his bark either.

Crazy Ed and his band start to play at 11.30. By this time they are well lubricated. Crazy Ed is dressed in black leather trousers and a black leather jacket. The jacket is left unbuttoned. This is perhaps unwise in a gentleman of his age. Despite their advancing years the bands style is enthusiastic. '' It's Saturday night fever time !! " Crazy Ed informs us while pirouetting on the stage. We circulate and then slip quietly away. In the small hours the music is still going strong. The sound has an immediacy that the walls of the Salle des Fetes, the village green  and the shutters of the rickety old farmhouse fail to diminish. Bob  howls when the last of the revelers slam their car doors shut at four. Why do people feel the need to honk their car horns at that time of the morning ?

Tonight 'Wilbur' will be playing at the end of tournament bal de disco. Crazy Ed will be a hard act to follow. 

And here is another gentleman dressed like Crazy Ed.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


The day of the Petanque tournament. Tonight there's a dinner at 8.00 then  'Crazy Ed and his band' will be providing their 'very own style of music' from 11.00 pm onwards. There is also an end of festivities dinner on Sunday with music provided by 'Wilbur'. No explanation for what sort of music 'Wilbur' might offer is forthcoming. 'The font' says we should go for half an hour to show we're not 'standoffish'. Angus wonders what's wrong with being 'standoffish'.

At the bakers Bob and Sophie get some choux pastry crumbs. Angus buys two millefeuilles as fortification against the torture 'Crazy Ed and his band' are likely to inflict on his hearing.

Back at home Bob finds a piece of the elasticated rope that holds down the swimming pool cover. He holds it between his paws, pulls it, then lets it go. When it goes it makes a very satisfying "SNAP" sound. Bobs is delighted with this new toy. I could swear he laughs each time he does it. He does it a lot. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Beside herself.

The supermarket suddenly home to a sea of plastic flowers in readiness for All Souls Day. A shock to the senses. 

Amazon delivers two boxes of books. The books we've ordered and the same books in a duplicate box.  Their packing gets worse. Covers and pages torn and frayed where the cardboard has given way. While I get hold of Amazon on the phone Sophie starts to unpack one of the boxes. She is beside herself with joy. In the afternoon we drive to the post office and mail back the second box. The postmistress gives the PON's a slice of apple. The postage is €55 and another €3.50 for a roll of tape .

Bob spends his day being happy. There is a petanque competition this weekend and, amid much arguing,  the villagers are erecting a stand on the village green. Bob finds this intriguing.