Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Some early rising pilgrims walk through the village. The click-clack of their boots on the tarmac soon has Bob on his stump seat. After they've gone he turns to me : 'Do you think I look more intimidating like this' ?

'Or like this '?

Angus thinks that, on balance, the tongue out pose is the more frightening. But there's not much in it.

The pilgrims don't seem to have noticed they were being intimidated.

On our way past the sunflower fields we notice that someone has made a smiley face out of a wilting sunflower. It looks decidedly spooky. Presumably this wasn't done by one of the pilgrims.

Overnight three new calves were born. Mothers and newborns asleep in the lush grass while aunts stand guard. In the next field along not six but seven donkeys. One very, very small new arrival augmenting the numbers. 

A white slab cake with two cherries perched on top joins the bakers repertoire. The pretty young lady behind the counter is on holiday and her replacement is neither a dog lover nor efficient. '' I don't know what sort of cake it is " she tells me with more than a hint of irritation. No pastry slivers this morning. Bob and Sophie have to share some of their masters croissant. We also have to ask for a bowl of water.

In the car park a little blue SUV with a logo on the side saying  that it is #untaggable.  What in heavens name is that supposed to mean ? Bob christens the rear left tyre which means that it may not be taggable but it is certainly christenable.

Monday, July 16, 2018

VUCA -- an acronym standing for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous

Angus is up early talking to men in dark suits. Another Dadaesque week beckons. Bob gives me his impersonation of a Dadaesque face. Angus points out that a face can only be comical rather than a rejection of prevailing standards. Bob accepts this comment with good grace. He licks the end of his nose.

Bob has some rice cake on his lower lip that, try as he might, just won't be dislodged. There is much licking.

His sister finds us in the garden and wonders why it's taking so long to get harnessed up for our morning walk. I tell her that I've been on the phone explaining what a 'foe' is to people in Beijing. They seem confused. I introduce her to the military acronym VUCA. She gives me a look that I'd better dispense with the VUCA and get a move on. The solid certainty of croissant slivers await.

Just before 7.00 pm last night a strange noise welled up from the village hall. The local farmers, spouses, offspring and assorted relations gave spontaneous voice to Frances victory over Croatia. The little lady in the purple hat was moved to sing the Marseillaise. Madame Bay, resplendent in blue, white and red layers of chiffon does a jig. Moules avec frites are cooked on the village hall grill. Wally, the depressive physiotherapist, brings out his accordion. There is much hugging. The two village tikes provide sound effects on their trombones. The Old Farmer dispenses large quantities of his 2017 vintage wine from the stainless steel tea urn. A huge thunderstorm does little to dampen enthusiasm. From this mornings papers it appears that the President also got caught up in the heat of the moment.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ladders of light.

We head through the village onto the track that leads to the waterfall. Ten minutes down the track it starts to rain. A torrent disgorged by one solitary cloud that's coalesced overhead. Not a shower but a torrent. Angus gets soaked to the skin. There was a time when I'd have complained. Now with water trickling down the back of my collar I find myself laughing aloud. '' What are the chances of that happening ? " I say to Sophie. She pauses to make sure I'm not offering her something to eat then races after Bob who has heard movement in a hedgerow. The two of them lost in a world of constant excitement. 

The PONs charge through the sunflowers to the small lake. They stand on its banks and drink at length. Sophie with her front paws in the water. Her brother more prudently on terra firma. They find and shred some bullrushes. Sophie watches, transfixed, as the bullrush seeds climb ladders of light into the air. The clouds disappear to be replaced, in the distance, by soon to be anvil heads .

Down near the stream there's a patch of sunflowers that are already drying out and wilting. Their space being invaded by hearty cornflowers.  Why this one patch of sunflowers should be so far advanced when the rest of the field is just coming into bloom is something of a mystery.

Sophie sprints up the hill to check the mechanical digger that's been parked by the new petanque court. When the spirit grips her those little mechanical knees sure can move. We stop to examine the red pipe work that the workmen have left coiled up outside the village hall. Tails wag maniacally.

Sunday morning in deepest , deepest France profonde. Not a soul to be seen. Our only companions thousands of busy bees, circling eagles and grass hopping blackbirds. Not of course to forget the collared doves in the church belfry and the sparrow families in our gutters. Undoubtedly, the best day ever and we haven't even been to the bakers.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bastille Day.

A traffic jam in the village. A convoi agricole has difficulty negotiating round the war memorial. A Datsun pickup with flashing orange lights  is escorting a huge and incredibly wide yellow combine harvester. It in turn is followed by a Ford flatbed that's being driven by a fourteen year old transporting the cutting blades. The combine can't quite make the turn without getting up close and personal with the roses in front of the war memorial. There is much discussion and arm waving. Nothing in the village is undertaken without arm waving.

Bob and Sophie do a valiant job guarding The Rickety Old Farmhouse from this huge yellow monster. Bob barks ferociously with Lamb on a Rope firmly grasped between his jaws. After much tooing and frooing the combine makes its turn. 'The Font' is busy doing laps in the pool as it swings into the field by our front gate and disgorges a huge cloud of wheat chaff  which drifts through and over the laurel hedge. It lands in the garden where a chaff covered 'Font' is not amused.

If this wasn't excitement enough 
1) the mayor comes to borrow the step ladders to put out the flags for July 14 
2) a white truck starts to unload scaffolding to put around the swaying Jesus 
3) a lorry deposits a mechanical digger which starts to dig a hole outside the town hall and 
4)  another even larger lorry disgorges a bigger digger which begins work on flattening the ground for the petanque court behind the fig orchard.

Bob maintains a running commentary from his stump seat.

Sometimes a family boy deserves an ear scrunch for being so brave. His sister, overcome with excitement, has retired to the kitchen to help 'The Font' prepare dinner.

What a day ! Excitement piled on excitement. Perhaps we should have a tv series ?

And here's an occasion to turn up the volume for some Bastille Day music. The hair is amazing and unperturbed.  She makes love to the word 'Liberte'  :

Friday, July 13, 2018

A PON at the stoop.

Darker in the mornings. We're up and out at 5:45 to talk to men in dark suits and the sun is only now drifting into the sky. Not that the PONs notice. They're just keen to get the day started.

Bob stops by the far gate. A fox has been in during the night and left tantalizing scents.

This morning even the buddleias, that most weed like of trees, look theatrical.

An early rising motor biker and a woman on a nervous horse are passing through the village as we head out of the gate. The horse rears as the bike goes by. Angus makes the executive decision to head back inside until motor cycle and horse have passed. The PONs are too busy wondering why there's a delay to bark at the horse or notice the motor cyclist.

Bob is reacquainted with Lamb on a Rope.

With things as they should be he settles down with his chin on the front door step. When there's a PON at the stoop you know that all is as it should be - although there are those in London who might disagree.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The secret to the best day ever.

Want to know the secret to the best day ever ?

Finding Lamb on a Rope in the lavender beds and then .....

..... running round the garden with it at top speed while your brother watches in impotent fury .....

...... and then doing it all over again.

The skill is in making sure your brother can't get it.

Six am and there can be no doubting that this is a house with two lively and happy ( and vocal ) PONs. This morning the female PON is happier than the male.

Soon we'll head off to the bakers for some karma restoring croissant slivers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Best to say nothing.

A new website informs me that 'Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are happy,alert, clever and fearless. They have a good memory and are intelligent,making them easy to train '.  Bob is told to 'sit' while I open the back of the car. He looks at me bemusedly. The word 'sit' treated as if it's a new addition to his vocabulary. For a moment I wonder about the clever and intelligent part of the PON description. Sometimes it's best to say nothing.

The family fellow is finally harnessed up and made ready for his early morning walk. The sunlight making the usually dull looking tamarinds glow.

The Miele washing machine celebrates its second birthday by giving up the ghost. Calls to the support centre met with a dozen options all of which cut you off. A quick trip to the local electronics store. A new machine is bought, put in the back of a van and delivered. Buying is easy in France, it's the after sales service that is non-existent. Both delivery men have their cheeks smeared in blue, white and red paint ahead of the World Cup match against Belgium. They can't fit the machine because they're missing the tube that connects the machine to the drain. '' Don't worry Monsieur. We'll come back tomorrow ". Hmmmm.

This chart from The Independent is interesting. No wonder Europeans don't understand us :

How billionaires honeymoon : https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-02/secrets-of-honeymoon-planners-for-billionaires