Thursday, August 28, 2014

PON purists aghast.

The wren that has taken to living in the wisteria above the front door has been joined by a goldfinch. Sophie spends her day, head craned upwards, daring them to fly down.

The font collects all the odd socks that Bob hasn't chewed and knots them together. The PON's find this new toy alluring. '' Must be the scent " I'm told.

Sophie has her fringe trimmed. She is much more affable when she can see what's going on and isn't caught by surprise. PON purists would be aghast.

In the afternoon we settle on the terrace. Time to finish'' The Long Shadow " - a new history about how the Great War shaped our identities . During the First World War there was a three minute silence every day in South Africa to remember sons and fathers fighting in France. This was then adopted as the two minute silence ( subsequently reduced to one ) still observed in Commonwealth countries. Not an easy read but a challenging one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Life is too unpredictable to live by a schedule.

A drink from the bowl at the front door and the irrepressible duo are ready for their morning walk. By a tree stump they stand on their hind legs, tails wagging. Sophie yelps. They've found a fungus of memorable ugliness. Blood red and sweating. Perhaps that should be seeping. Disgusting ! Time to hurry along. 

The sunflowers past their peak. At the edge of the village a last field coming into bloom. The farmer harvested wheat one day and cheekily planted sunflowers the next. By the stream a field of very young calves. Their mothers position themselves protectively. Not that they need worry. Bob and Sophie are on their leads and too busy leaping on invisible things in the grass verges to pay any attention to the newcomers.

This is Britain's most popular poem. Here the author reads it. In America it's created the 'red hat' society, which I'd never heard of but has 70,000 members. Its talk of unpredictability, gender notwithstanding, makes me think of the Very Old Farmer who remains in hospital.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A good morning.

Last nights Scottish independence debate an acrimonious, unedifying affair. Angus is on the wagon for a week but  is off it by the time the broadcast ends.

This morning we've had our coffee ( and illicit half croissant ) and are heading back to the car. It's still early enough for there to be no one around. The three of us wander down the hill and settle on the steps outside the old pilgrim church. Inside a young German organist is practising for tonight's recital. 

Sophie falls asleep, Bob lies down but keeps one eye open in case of danger. Some pilgrims, keen to be on their way before the sun rises, look at us. '' A day as beautiful as God's justice " says a tall thin man in an orange tee shirt. This is rather a profound thing to respond to ( let alone translate ) at this time in the morning so I nod and smile. On reflection the man is right. Can there be anything as beautiful as sitting on the church steps in the eight o'clock sunshine, a PON on either side , listening to this through the open door ?

Monday, August 25, 2014

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief.

So far today Sophie's chewed one of my socks, dug up a rose bush, found something that once had a tail and excavated four mole hills. All of this accompanied by high pitched yelps of delight.  

Why did we ever think a girl dog would be less mischief prone than a boy dog ? 

And here's a question all dog owners want answered

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.

In the late afternoon a small ceremony by the war memorial. The centenary of the Battle of the Frontiers - the bloodiest day in French history. 27,000 dead. Most local farm boys. Five of them villagers. The mayors great uncle is the first name on the memorial. The Old Farmers great uncles name is second. 

In the evening the Fete de la Liberation. A commemoration of another war but a happier event. The mayor reads out a speech about how the village liberated itself from oppression. "Se liberer" a concept difficult for Anglo-Saxons to comprehend. The lady in the purple hat sings a verse of the Marseillaise.

A screen is set up by the graveyard wall to show a light comedy about a Parisian family coming to live in the countryside. Barbecues smoke away on the village green, Jack Russell's run riot. Bob and Sophie meet Jacques - the French teachers new black Labrador. Sophie is not impressed. A strong gust of wind blows the screen over. After twenty minutes of trying to get it to stand up again normal service has not been resumed. We, and two disappointed PON's, leave.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Freedom is a state of mind.

Bob and Sophie ignore the two foals in the meadow. When we get to the field with the herd of calves they stand transfixed. Must be something to do with equine v. bovine scents.

The cafe under the arcades has re-opened. The beer and absinthe crowd greet us enthusiastically. The coffee remains undrinkable but the welcome is warm and the bowl of water and illicit half croissant are the real reason for going there. Both PON's are delighted normal service has been resumed.

Still no news about the Very Old Farmer . We hear sounds of sawing coming from his house. The sons car remains parked outside.

This was interesting .How many of us have asked this about other dog owners ? :

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rise up and attack the day with enthusiasm.

The cafe under the arcades was supposed to re-open this morning. It didn't. As recompense Bob and Sophie get some meringue crumbs from the bakers wife. Bob has a look on his face that says meringue for breakfast should be part of his daily routine. 

Home to find the man who sweeps the boiler flue . In France the boiler flue must be swept by a specialist. Not the plumber, not the chimney sweep, not the furnace maintenance man. Only an accredited boiler flue sweep will do. The threat of carbon monoxide poisoning taken very seriously. Bob and Sophie greet the boiler flue man enthusiastically. The flue man is less enthusiastic about having two furry helpers. They are reluctantly confined to their pen.