Monday, July 26, 2021

Olympian satisfaction.

One picture might say a thousand words but it can't capture the noise that erupts from the family diva when she spots this miscreant in the garden. The sheer audacity of it ! 

After five minutes Sophie returns with a ball that she's found hidden under a walnut tree. Hidden treasures recovered and a intruder told in no uncertain terms who's boss around here. Not a bad start to a Monday morning. The PONette exudes Olympian satisfaction.

Another unseasonably cloudy day. The mayor might have been right when he said that ' if it rains on Bastille Day it will rain for 40 days thereafter'. The  cloud cover means that the sunflowers are all a kilter not knowing where to turn. Also out of kilter are the flags on the war memorial. They went up on the 14th and are still there. The new mayor certainly adopts a more relaxed approach to these things than his predecessor.

Redcurrants and rhubarb make an appearance in the greengrocers. I'd consider buying some rhubarb for a crumble but it's too hot and humid.

A plaster lamb shows up in the cheese shop. Do small ceramic animals still have a place in advertising budgets anywhere else in the world ? I think things like this disappeared in Scotland fifty years ago but will be happy to be proven wrong.

Why you would invest in one of these is beyond me. It seems to collate data from the Internet of Things. This in turn enables the owner to access and mine some form of Bitcoin. I'll put my reticence and ignorance  down to being generationally challenged. :

Smectite clays. Discovery of the day. This video is worth watching. In fact the whole of this Indian gentlemans Twitter link is worth looking at :

Sunday, July 25, 2021


The camera on the new i-Phone is better, much better, than the old one. However, it is still hard pressed to capture the family diva in high speed pursuit of a C-A-T that has been asleep by  the pool. The C-A-T goes left. Sophie continues in a straight line. This photo also speaks volumes to the quality of Sophie's twin titanium knees.

An uninspiring croissant from the bakers at the shopping centre. We sit at a table outside by what must be the worlds noisiest air conditioning unit. Angus is surprised to see that if you spend E30 on bakery products you can choose to receive either a place mat or a hat as a gift. This is the first time I've ever seen a hat as promotional give away.

Back in the village Sophie sits with me on the storm drain. The donkeys are down at the end of the field. Sophie can smell them but can't see them. There is much nose twitching.

Games of hide and seek in the sunflower fields have one major drawback : Bugs. Sophie is enticed into the bath for a rubdown with a medicated shampoo. Somehow, despite our very best efforts at subterfuge, she knows what is being planned. The family diva settles on her passive resistance approach to being bathed. This entails flopping on the floor and becoming a dead weight. The 'I shall not be moved' approach to water. She is 'encouraged' under the shower. After an hour , several rub downs and a walk to the war memorial she looks merely bedraggled. A reminder that a PONettes fur can absorb at least twice its body weight in moisture.

During the bathing process the bell at the gate rings to announce -  1) the onion seller - 2) the French teacher delivering some magazines ( the village residents recirculate their subscriptions ) - 3) The Old Farmer to tell us his television isn't working and 4) the  delivery man to tell us he's going away on holiday for two weeks ' but don't worry they'll have a replacement driver while I'm away'. This stream of visitors doesn't make the bathing process any easier.

Saturday, July 24, 2021


We watch a little of the Olympics opening ceremony. Maybe it's the lack of crowds, maybe its the acoustics of an empty stadium but after twenty minutes I find we're getting bored. Sophie is more than  happy to get up and go and sit outside by the pool. Why be indoors watching television when you can be outside keeping an eye open for C-A-T-S ?

This morning the lingering humidity and a lengthy detour through the sunflower fields combine to give Sophies coat a 'carefree' air. 

At the crossroads sunflower fields to the left, right and straight ahead. Peak sunflower season is upon us.

This morning there's a young horse in a head shroud at the next door neighbours farm. Although it can't see it trots over towards us. I'm sure there's a good reason for the head shroud but it's a rather sad thing to see on a summers morning.

After a drink from the waterfall and a paddle in the stream dog and master head off to the bakers.

A  'Religieuse' and a coffee eclair our choices this morning. Sophie hopes that the bakers wife will go back into the kitchen for some choux pastry but she's disappointed. I also buy a slice of peach pie. This is for The Old Farmer who has returned to living in the village full time. The heat and pandemic have put paid to the relationship with his 'lady friend' . ' I needed some space ' he informs me. This morning I shall help him get his house in order . 


Friday, July 23, 2021

Sensible thing to do.

Our day starts with a trailer load of cow dung being towed through the village. It will be spread on the field by the crossroads. Sophie thinks this is the Chanel No.5 of mornings. Angus is less sure.

We stop to admire The Old Mayors recent flower plantings. The concrete trough on top of the village well now looking resplendent in a multi-coloured display of begonias and pansies. The  committee that awards points in the ' Best Floral Village' competition are due any day. Whether their tastes and those of The Old Mayor are in synch is yet to be seen.

Mother and three baby moorhens scatter as we approach. They seem to have moved their nest from the shrubs that line the edges of the pond to the water lily leaves in the centre. In this heat that's an entirely sensible thing to do. The chicks have grown from ping pong ball sized to double that in the space of three days. They spend their time paddling contentedly around the pond under the ever watchful eye of their mother.

On our way home there's time for a quick game of hide and seek in the sunflower fields . 

Then it's down to the bakers for a lunch time desert. Today we opt for a small Brasilia which looks right for these hundred degree plus temperatures.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Massed ponies

Hot and humid this morning. A layer of cloud keeping yesterdays heat from escaping. As we head out the church and the lime tree on the village green are lit by the morning sun. This seems to be a cue for the bees to start humming. I note that the flags on the war memorial are still up despite it being more than a week since Bastille Day. The new mayor has a more 'relaxed' approach about putting them up and taking them down. Perhaps he tried to borrow our ladder but we were out ?

Sophie is of a mind to get as much mischief into her day as she can before it gets even hotter. High 30's forecast for this afternoon. This is not PON weather. She observes a C-A-T asleep under the lime tree. The bucolic peace of the village comes to an abrupt head back, tail waving end.

The horse lady is also up early.The ponies in the field at the crossroads are enjoying their breakfast and are much too busy to pay much attention to Sophie.

My companion picks up her pace and doesn't slow down until we've safely passed this intimidating group. Positioning herself carefully behind me she gives them a cursory glare then heads off to the safety of home. 

After that there's the consolation of some curly croissant ends. Well deserved rewards for outstanding bravery in the face of massed ponies.

In a French village everyone waves at their neighbours as they drive by. This can be a little confusing if you don't know what cars your fellow villagers drive.  We've taken to waving at every vehicle we see. This means we can never appear 'aloof ' or partisan ( important during the current court case ). Today , we greet three white farmers vans, the young Garagiste and the lady who helps out with cleaning the chateau in high season. We also wave at a man in a large white flatbed truck who may, or may not, be a villager. The Dutch vacationers , being non-residents, get a nod of the head and a smile.

A company that makes good quality external paint that can withstand a French summer :

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


Our morning walk takes us out along the ridge, down through the donkey field and along the valley floor. A Dutch couple are renting the cottage by the crossroads for the summer. The husband waves at us as he heads off for their morning croissants from the bakers in the small market town. He's clearly understood that in this heat early rising is a necessity. By mid-morning the only sensible thing to do is shelter indoors or hang out by the pool.  

Sophie in particularly fine fettle. She's raring to go. My companion plays hide and seek in the shade of the sunflower stalks. She emerges on to the path looking 'disheveled'. Charging through sunflower fields will do that to a girl.

Coming back through the village we manage to avoid the Anger Management Man and by the skin of our teeth the German Billionaires Builder. The sooner this court case is over and done with the better. 

The final leg of our morning walk takes us across the village green and past the front of the church. Sophie bounds on ahead. She has picked up the scent of a C-A-T.  A girl can never find a moment to relax with those critters around. 

New style travel writing :

Travel e-mail of the day :

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Sophie waits, impatiently, while I finish off a pre-walk cup of coffee. The Manhattanite men in dark suits have been on the phone early. A sudden, and belated,  recognition that while the Upper East side may have been vaccinated most of the world hasn't. They have instituted a system whereby only those who have been fully vaccinated are allowed into the office and masks must be worn in public areas. Compliance is, as they say, mandatory. They work from home Mondays and Fridays.

We're out and about early enough to catch the two youngest moorhen chicks paddling unconcernedly on the village pond.

One chick heads quietly into the water lily leaves as we approach. The other is oblivious to our presence then panics and hurtles off in pursuit of its sibling. At this age their feathers are still black and their feet humorously and disproportionately large and orange.

The lime tree on the village green is covered in thousands of bees. It hums happily away.

After all that excitement the best thing for a girl to do is opt for a restorative nap on the doorstep before clambering into the car and heading off for some curly croissant ends.