Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Mountains are calling and I must go.






I ask for two punnets of strawberries. The strawberry lady gives me four. She's done this every day this week. A bumper harvest this year after the rains. Thankfully, Bob and Sophie love strawberries. 

Last night the village budget meeting. Farmers, feral children, Jack Russells , all crammed into the Salle des Fetes. Babies cry. Dogs and children wander in and out of the French windows. Everyone talks at once. The mood not helped by the exposure of a scandal in the French Presidents entourage. One of his advisers has been popping into the wine cellar at the Elysee Palace and choosing €600 bottles of fine vintage wine to have with his lunch. 

'' That's Socialists for you " says the sour man who disapproves of foreigners. '' All these politicians are the same. Scheming jackasses " adds the Very Old Farmer pointing at the mayor. '' The Very Old Farmer qualifies the word 'politician' with a choice adjective. The lady in the purple hat tells him to mind his language - ' there are children present ! ' . The mayor tries to review the items in the budget. He finally gives up. After two hours of Sturm und Drang we slip out while the Chairman of the Beautiful Village Committee bemoans the price of bedding plants.

'' That was interesting " says 'the font ' with more than a hint of understatement. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.




Bob has worked out that he's been put on this earth for two reasons :

1) To guard his flock ( little sister included ) and 2) To have fun. 

He's also worked out that these two roles are not mutually exclusive. 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Men have become the tools of their tools.






Muddy paw prints on a mat in the bathroom. Matching paw prints on the floor of the shower. That 'forbidden fruits are fabulous ' look on Sophie's face. So much for the rule that bedrooms and bathrooms are out of bounds. When caught in flagrante delicto Sophie seems to believe she's invisible. Either that or she's completely shameless.

Post lunch a wander down to the stream. Bob tries his hand at fishing. Then a saunter along the valley floor to watch the young calves in the fields ( Sophie does this from behind the safety of her owners legs). In the afternoon the PON duo chase squirrels. They don't know it yet but their first taste of kennel life is only three days away. Our betting is that Sophie will adjust more readily than her brother.

This raised an eyebrow :




Monday, April 21, 2014

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.






Bob and Sophie find a tea towel. They play tug-of-war with it. That marks the end of the tea towel.

Sophie discovers that she can drink from the leaking hosepipe reel. Her technique ends up soaking her muzzle, ears and nose.Her brother prefers water from a bowl.

The mayor , resplendent in his tartan pork pie hat, shows up at the gate to remind us that there is to be a meeting in the Salle des Fetes to discuss next years village budget. The government is insisting that expenditures grow by only 2%. The grumpy man who dislikes foreigners has written to the mayor saying that 'the proposed budget is a disgrace to the Republic and should not merit the dignity of being discussed'.  Austerity, or the concept of cuts, are realities that some in the  village have yet to come to terms with. '' It should be an entertaining meeting" says 'the font' with a degree of understatement.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail ?






Easter Sunday. Bob and Sophie are woken early by the rasp of the German billionaires vintage Mercedes heading off down the lane. Out of nowhere Bob has suddenly developed a wolf like howl. Where he got this skill from is any ones guess. The PON duo's owners are soon up and about.

Down to the cafe for the illicit half croissant. On our way home an ancient tractor lurches across the road in front of us. At the helm the Very Old Farmer. Despite being declared unfit to drive ( and having had his little white van taken away by the gendarmes ) he's once again mobile. He seems oblivious to our presence. The fact that he's driving on the 'British' side of the road may mean he's oblivious to everything. '' There's an Easter miracle if ever there was one " says 'the font'.

Roast lamb and rhubarb crumble for lunch. Sophie is in the kitchen, Bob is in the wine cellar with me. We discover Bob likes fresh peas. Sophie, improbably, likes pea pods. 


( This post is retyped a second time. Firefox swallowed the first version after a couple of hours. Why ? For those of you who commented earlier  please accept my non-technical apologies )

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.






Bob and Sophie watch the school bus pass the gate.The five year olds press their noses against the windows and wave . There is something about French villages that was lost in the anglo-saxon world long ago. Innocence ?

An article in The Guardian says that pubs and bars are closed in Australia on Good Friday. This seems highly improbable - Good Friday or, come to that, any day of the Oz  year.

It's hot. The weather forecast says there's going to be rain on Sunday and for the following week. The garden needs it. Angus puts up a pair of linen curtains at the front door to keep the sun, the bees and the wisteria blossom out of the house. Sophie is told it's not a good idea to chew the bottom of the curtains. She feigns deafness.

Caroline, the cleaning lady, arrives. '' Look at the mess these dogs have made ! I sometimes wonder why I bother ". Should someone point out that's what dogs do and that what she's paid to deal with ? 'The font' says we're very lucky to have someone so fastidious. I'd settle for Madame Bay's cheerful, but illogical, method of redistributing the dust. 

They've cut the grass verges along the lane. The PON duo find a walk through cool, freshly cut grass to be delightful. They gambol like lambs. Their coats have turned green by the time we reach home. Sophie rests her head on the box hedge and falls asleep.

Simnel cake. The name sounds as though it's an old  European custom but apparently its only the Brits and Irish who bake them. This doesn't stop Madame Bay from trying a piece - twice.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.






Good Friday morning. Bob walks with me to the end of the village. The old widow in the whitewashed cottage isn't up yet. Nor for that matter is anyone else. Not a car, tractor or van to be seen. There are however blackbirds to be chased and frogs to be barked at.

Down by the old Roman road the black shouldered kite is skimming low over the fields . As big as an eagle but as agile as a falcon. Enormous white wings with black flashes on the ends. His mate is there. I've never seen her before. One of only 28 breeding pairs in France.  Could there be any more beautiful, or optimistic, sight ?