Thursday, March 5, 2015

Awffy wee .

The cat that pees in the barn and sleeps on the wood pile unveils a devilish new trick. It sits outside the front door and sings. It does this at 1:34 am. The reaction of the angelic duo to this auditory interlude is immediate and enthusiastic. Angus gets up. The screeching cat is told where to go and the PONs are finally bribed into silence with a rice cake. City dwellers that think the countryside is quiet have no idea. 

Sophie pre-grooming....

.... and after.

Within thirty seconds Sophie has reverted to her feral look. Digging will do that.

Is it my imagination or does this years Scottish rugby squad look 'awffy wee ?' Their unsmiling mien, in light of yet another loss, is perhaps understandable.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us, and see the beauty in ordinary things.

The cafe under the arcades a sobre place. The new months social security cheques get paid tomorrow.Where there would usually be three pre-breakfast libations, today there is only one. The lady in the blue dressing gown, hairnet and red pom-pom slippers waves half heartedly at Bob and Sophie.

Our Hachette Wine Guide seriously out of date. We stop off at the little book store on the marketplace to see if they have a 2015 version. They don't. They do however have a 2013 edition. The woman dusts it down and hands it to me. '' You might as well take this . All they do is change the front cover". She reluctantly agrees to order a copy. '' I've no idea when it will arrive . Are you sure you don't want this one ? " The 'retail' concept in deepest France profonde continues to amaze. The book store is light on books and heavy on string , greeting cards and decorative paper bags.

Gods little angels remain in fine form.

Sophie has had a fringe trim. It is ever so slightly lopsided .

An impatient look all dog owners know. 'It's wet. What are we going to do now ?'

This song playing in the supermarket, the car park and the Post Office. A cultural saturation point ?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A smooth sea never made a skilful sailor.

A strange device appears in  the little hardware store opposite the church. A pizza oven with wok attached ? The two chimneys presumably mean it's for outdoor use. Angus and the PONs inspect it. When asked what it is the woman behind the desk replies '' Don't ask me Love. I only work here part time ".

French use of English . This fitted kitchen might not sell so well in the UK.

At the wine shop the man with the stutter sees us passing and rushes out onto the pavement. '' M'Ongoose. I've taken delivery of something you must try ". So it is that Angus returns home with a bottle of Lebanese wine. '' Open it and decant it at least two hours before dinner. It has a certain robustness ". 'The Font' wonders why you would need to let it breathe. Robustness is an understatement.

Neither the hardware store nor the wine shop provide the PONs with treats. Sophie returns home looking disappointed but vaguely respectable. Thank heavens for the illicit half croissant at the cafe under the arcades.

By dinner time she looks like frightful. Something to do with digging in the garden ?

Bob goes with the flow.

Another quiet day with two lively sheepdogs in deepest, deepest France profonde.

This is an interesting take on dogs memories

Monday, March 2, 2015

Few minds wear out; more rust out.

Some dogs exude elegance.....

.... others don't.  Could be the crumbs on Bobs beard that ruin the image. 

Mandarine Pistache at the fancy bakers. 

The fancy baker is in one of his glum moods. I ask him how things are going. '' Like France " he replies. '' I'm thinking of moving to Portugal. The taxes are lower there ". He then launches into a fervent critique of the government.

We buy a Tarte Tatin, a Mandarine Pistache and an Aumoniere Framboise. Aumoniere a word I've never heard before. The baker says it's a pancake with raspberry filing.

As we go he pulls out a large bottle of Armagnac from behind the counter. He offers me a swig. It's barely 8.00 am.  A 'thanks but no thanks' moment.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else.

Our morning for visiting the cheese lady.

Sophie, unusually, is in the back of the car before Bob. She knows what day it is. Her brother doesn't.

A freshly delivered consignment of  Vezelay. We take two. The PONs are allowed a tiny sliver of blue goats cheese. Bobs tail waves at metronome speed. The cheese lady laughs so much she gives them a second helping. Bob stares at her with his '' I love you. I really love you " look. When he realizes there's no more he heads for the door. So much for love.

The PONs spend the rest of the day guarding. Their vantage point was once a dining table and has now, for hygiene reasons, become their grooming table. 

In the early evening a red squirrel saunters across the lawn and climbs the oak tree by the barn. He's safely in an upper branch by the time the PONs notice. The angelic duo sit at the base of the tree doing the PON howl. For them it has turned out to be the best day ever. Tomorrow will be even better.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Upsetting the Gauls.

Off to the fancy kitchen designers for the rescheduled meeting. 

The fancy kitchen designer is late. The fancy builder later still. 

A moment out of Jane Austen when Angus queries some of the items in the estimate. The designer has what might best be described 'a fit of the vapours'. He gasps for breath and reaches into his suede satchel for a pill. Not to be outdone the fancy builder throws a piece of paper onto the table. '' Oak isn't cheap !  My price is fixed. People love my wood, my craftsmanship, my style ". Meetings in the Anglo-Saxon world lack this element of drama.

An hour later we leave. Angus tries to explain the concept of a budget. Being France this is a novel, and unwelcome, idea. To calm troubled waters praise is heaped on the standard of their workmanship and design. 'The Font' raises an eyebrow when Angus informs the builder that the quality of his fittings are known around the world. The builder takes this as a compliment.

Home for a late lunch. Sophie and her brother get a walk down to the stream. They try their hand, ineptly, at fishing. Sophie yelps in frustration. Bob sploshes and sighs. Angus who rarely drinks a glass of wine at lunchtime, does.

Deposit paid, work on the ( much reduced in scope) kitchen will start in the atelier next week. Installation is promised for Easter. We shall see.

This morning I wake to the news a man I've known for more than twenty five years has been shot dead in Moscow. How lightly we take our freedoms.

Friday, February 27, 2015

If you wish to be a writer, write.

One of those wet days when there is always a damp dog under your feet. 

Madame Bay arrives, settles in the kitchen with a large cup of coffee, then starts reminiscing about village sixty years ago. " I was a mere girl then ". The fact that Madame Bay was well into her twenties sixty years ago is politely overlooked. '' There were forty in the church choir . We'd be tipped after weddings but were expected to sing for nothing at funerals ".

In the  rare gaps in the downpour Bob takes up position on his stump seat. He barks at the Post Lady, the Old Farmer ( who is pumping up the tyres on his venerable Ford Transit motor home ) and the mayors secretary. They all wave at him. Somehow the fact they wave reinforces Bobs view that he is the worlds most ferocious guard dog. 

Sophie starts the day looking shaggy. By the end of the day the rain, humidity and adventures in puddles ....

have combined to create the ultimate bad hair day. Not that this bothers her.