Monday, September 15, 2014

Nothing like it in Bismarck.

Where do they get their energy from ? Bob and Sophie are out of the door before I've picked up the car keys. Sophie gives me her ' what's been keeping you ? ' look. I head off with them for the breakfast croissants. 

At the market the tourists have gone and the Moroccan basket sellers are not doing a roaring trade. I keep Bob well away from the baskets just in case he has a 'christening' moment. 

In the afternoon we go with the Americans to the newly opened museum of Chromo lithographic advertising. We are the only people there. It takes exactly three minutes to see the exhibits. 'The font' says it's rude to go so quickly so we go round again, twice. On our way out the curator asks if we're going so soon. '' We've got to be somewhere else but we'll be back " says American woman. American man says there's nothing like it in Bismarck, North Dakota. The curator is delighted.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Bob and Sophie wake and start barking at some break of day ( German ) pilgrims.

Down by the stream thousands of cabbage whites flitting in and out of the grass verges. As we approach they rise vertically into the air. As we pass they descend. Pure magic. Natures simple gift to early rising dog owners.

The lady at the fancy bakers is selling blue cakes. I don't quite catch her reason for making them. They are very blue.

On our way home the angelic duo bark at the melon pickers. Unintimidated, the melon pickers wave back. 

'The font' wonders why Angus would buy blue cakes when  there are so many others on offer.

Evening. Bob and Sophie's end of day comfort break. In the sky Saturn, Mars and Antares aligned. The line so straight and the planets and stars so bright it seems unnatural. I call 'the font' out and we sit, two shaggy dogs at our feet, watching. The second time in a day I'm thankful for those special things a dog owner is privileged to witness.

This is useful in working out what's going on in the night sky above you -

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Can you imagine anything more nightmarish ?

Bobs interest is piqued by a group of people standing outside the church drinking coffee from Styrofoam cups. Restorers come to repair the plaster statues damaged by the overzealous decorators. 

By the time we arrive Joan of Arc has been reunited with her lance, St.Francis has found his head and St.Bernadette's top and bottom half look as though they were never parted. A lady is sitting on a stool repainting the statues. She has an eye for colour that wouldn't be out of place in a Hindu temple. She looks up briefly , says 'Bonjour' and then continues with her work. I catch Bob by his collar as he's moving towards St.Francis. Bob has christening on his mind. St.Francis remains safe. Eau de Bob and a restored saint might prove to be a fault line between Catholic southerners and protestant northerners.

The angelic duo spend the rest of the day at the front gate watching the restorers. Sophie squeaks to let us know that she would like to be across there 'helping'. A PON princess , delicate plaster statues and lots of open pots of paint. Can you imagine anything more nightmarish ?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Carefully rehidden.

An old shirt provides an excellent pre-breakfast play thing for the angelic duo. Every week Loic the gardener wanders round and collects an assortment of shredded pillow cases, old socks and knotted tea towels from their hiding places under hedges and in flower beds. He piles them in a corner of the barn. After he goes they are carefully redistributed and rehidden.  All the expensive dog toys are ignored. 

In the supermarket goats cheese flavoured crisps. Very French. Closer examination of the super shiny packaging shows that the emphasis should be on 'flavoured' rather than 'goats cheese'. 

For those interested in Scotlands referendum here's a thoughtful blog link about what happens next . It may explain why pro-independence fervour is cooling a little:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Can a dog look happy ?

Can a dog look happy ? You tell me. Bob is waiting outside the bedroom door. His tail goes whack,whack,whack on the floor. The PON '' Is it time for a walk ? " look. Sophie tries to catch a few more moments of beauty sleep.

Bob's day gets better. After the illicit half croissant and chat with the beer and absinthe crowd at the cafe under the arcades he heads off to the fancy bakers. His sister bounces along behind. The bakers wife, who has recently had a baby, has that slightly bad tempered air of someone who's been awake all night dealing with gripe. Despite her grumpiness Bob and Sophie are given some tiny slivers of choux pastry. Bob's tail does its metronome routine. 

The cheese lady has some freshly delivered Livarot .  She patiently explains to me how the Normandy farmers bind the cheese with strands of marsh grass. Bobs day hit its high spot when he gets given a sliver of rind. Sophie also gets a piece and lets out a high pitched noise that says she doesn't know how else to express her joy. 

Over dinner American man asks why our neighbour has an flashing star on a twenty foot pole attached to the roof of his house. '' It's a French thing "  I reply .

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Looking at door jambs.

Hot and humid. The sort of day that addles the brain. Sophie finds herself a shady spot in the garden and savages a stick. Bob lies at the front door and chills .

Off to the museum of table settings with American visitors. Huge rooms starved of furniture. We're the only people there. Upstairs a new gallery dedicated to door jambs. American woman thinks it's very relaxing. American man is less sure.

Angus has the high points of the table settings museum off pat. Square medieval plates and eighteenth century place settings with the knife and fork facing the wrong way. American man says he's read that our departement is the least visited in France. 'Can't be because of the cultural offerings' he adds. Tomorrow we'll go to the museum of secateurs.

I'm told this is one of the most difficult pieces of violin music to play. Stay with it until the 3.20 mark and you'll understand why.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Apologies to those of you who commented earlier. The curse of Google has unexpectedly wiped out this mornings post. Here it is again, or as much of it as I can remember.

Our morning walks starting later. Darkness crowding in at either end of the day. On the road down to the valley three shapes visible in the half light. Calves who have got out of their enclosure and are feasting on the rich grass along the roadside verge. Bob wants to stay and talk. Sophie pulls us on. 

A half croissant for the noisy siblings. They exude happiness. A bowl of water completes their delight. In the local paper an article about Scottish independence. The tone somewhere between glee ( serves the English right ) and disbelief ( couldn't happen here ). On the next page a story about tractomaniaques who venture out sightseeing on old tractors. 50 vintage vehicles set off in convoy on Sunday morning . Angus is glad he wasn't behind them.

Here's some Beethoven .

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