Thursday, September 23, 2021

A billion in a month.

A walk down by the river. Usually we go clockwise out of the car park, along the river and then cut across the fields home. Today we do it in an anti-clockwise direction. Sophie finds the novelty of this enthralling.

Two more bus loads of red jacketed pilgrims show up in the village. They stand on the ox track outside The Rickety Old Farmhouse before heading off across country to the Holy Well. The pilgrims are noisy and, for the most part, jovial. The department is arranging ' get out and walk' days for senior citizens after 18 months of lock down. We have become a feature 'halt' on these pilgrim tours. The Holy Well may be the official reason for the stop overs but the village hall lavatories may be a more compelling feature of our inclusion on this  itinerary.

Anti-clockwise walks and hordes of red jacketed pilgrims. Sophie can only wonder at the  warp and weave of life. From a PONettes perspective life is rich, varied and exciting. The prospect of curly croissant ends add further warp to the weave.

 A billion people vaccinated in a month. Now that's good news :

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The return of the pilgrims.

Two busloads of pilgrims arrive at first light. A total of sixty or so cheerful visitors. All are wearing identical bright red waterproofs. They disappear down the ox track to the Holy Oak. The village hasn't had this many visitors in at least two years. Sophie and her companion stand outside the church and watch them go. The bus drivers snatch a quick cigarette in the church porch. Angus notes that the buses are owned by the Bla Bla Bus Company.

The weather changeable. In fact highly changeable. At the cafe there have been showers and the bakers wife has been busy trying to dry the chairs. The French all sit inside. Sophie and her master brave the 16 degree temperatures outside. Angus leaves the door ever so slightly ajar. An inch max.  One of the interior patrons comes and slams it shut . The word  ' Idiot !' is used.  This mornings croissant an acceptable, if lacklustre, 7.6/10.

The summer wine that was ordered six weeks ago is delivered. Apparently Europe has a delivery driver problem.  It's getting a bit late in the year to be drinking rose but it will be gone ere long and certainly by Christmas. A dozen pink ceramic bottles are an unexpected part of the shipment. Apart from being a truly dreadful colour Angus wonders why so few wines come in non-glass bottles. Is it cost or fragility ?

Half an hour after the wine merchant has delivered the rose the Amazon courier shows up at the gate. Sophie alerts us to his arrival. Red Roulette is among the books. This months must read .

 A French company opens a new Italian restaurant in London. OTT or what ? :

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

HUGELY untoward.

This morning starts with Sophie alerting the universe to the fact that something HUGELY untoward is afoot. To do this she employs the three tools in her armory -  the PON stare, body language and a high pitched and concrete shredding yelp. The young farm dog on the other side of the gate, who is the cause of this turmoil,  seems completely oblivious to the family divas protestations. The young dog is much more interested in a squirrel that's clambering up the Old Farmers oak tree. Faced with not being the centre of attention Sophie redoubles her efforts. 

The village wakes early. Young dog wanders off to his home in the farm beyond the crossroads unaware of the chaos he's created.

Monday, September 20, 2021


The village quiet. Madame Bay stops by on her way to the health centre for an eight am appointment to check on her blood pressure. She thinks the judge has told both parties in the dispute to be adult and maintain a 10 metre distance from each other. This is difficult as their houses , although set back, face each other across the lane. Under the interim judgement the Anger Management Man isn't supposed to stop on the road outside the German Billionaires Builder and vice versa. Madame Bay says a full, formal, ruling is expected next week. There is a 'walking on eggshells' feel to this interim ruling. Both parties to the dispute are maintaining a low profile but you have the feeling they're peering out from behind their shutters to see who is speaking to the 'enemy'.

The weather has moved from rain to 'changeable'. It's dry(ish) as we set off along the valley floor but starts to chuck it down as soon as we're out of sight of the car. Sophie finds a squashed toad on the road which makes her day. Her companion is less happy about her find.

We are now in the season when the back of the dog car is amply stocked with water absorbent mats and a supply of towels. Sophie is soon dry and looking fit for a trip to the drive thru bakers.

At the greengrocers the first of the local pomegranates....

 ...... and winter squashes. The year just keeps rolling along.

Sometimes I miss London and its eclectic food shops. Good to see this one opening up again :

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Three layers.

It's drizzling and the air is decidedly 'fresh'. Soon, very soon, it will be time to put on three layers before venturing out. In Sophie's mind this is the perfect weather for a long leisurely stroll by the river. Her companion is less sure. By the end of this week the heating will be on. A month after that and it'll be time to light a fire. Angus shivers and makes a mental note to arrange for the chimney to be swept.

This morning the family diva carefully maintains a prudent distance from the waters edge. However, on the way back to the car she detours to walk through a large puddle. This is a text book example of canine logic. River water bad, puddle water good. Go figure.

Back at home she's toweled, vigorously, dry. Not that you'd notice.

There follows the PON ' What are we going to do now ? ' look. Our cue to head off en famille to the drive thru bakers. This will be  followed by a tour of the shopping centre car park and a trip to the green grocer for carrots and peach yoghurts ( a Sophie favourite - the glass jars make a wonderful noise on the tile floors ) .  Taste and noise - what better combination could there be ?

If approved this would be the worlds largest building :

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Unexpected discovery

We haven't been down to the little waterfall in a couple of weeks. It dried up in the  August drought and there hasn't been much rain since. This morning, after an overnight squall, there's a small trickle of water working its way to the sea. The ground on either side of the stream is churned up and covered in animal tracks. I'm guessing that pre-dawn wild boar and deer have been here in large numbers. Sophie has a drink then spends a full ten minutes exploring this treasure trove of scents. She seems remarkably pleased with this unexpected discovery.

Then it's off, tail high, for a walk along the valley floor. Being a Saturday it's even quieter than usual. Nothing passes us. This is just fine by me. A late working ( and now double vaccinated ) Manhattanite phones to confirm arrangements for a meeting in London in ten days. We shoot the breeze which is a pleasant thing to do on a Saturday morning.

By the time Sophie's loaded in the back of the car in readiness for a trip to the bakers her hair has taken on a gravity defying look. This is really quite remarkable.

Todays croissant looks good but is getting ever so slightly stale. I'd reckon it came out of the oven a couple of hours ago.


Friday, September 17, 2021


The summer heat a thing of the past.  Down by the storm drain dog and owner sit and watch the clouds scudding in from the Bay of Biscay. Sophie leans in, has an ear scrunch and is told autumn is on its way. She certainly has the coat for colder weather and bracing winds. 

This morning we talk to Manhattanites about booster shots, submarines and Joe Manchin. Angus still isn't allowed to go to the US so it's agreed that we'll all meet in London later this month. Quite why double vaccinated Europeans can't go to the US remains one of lifes illogicalities.

From the storm drain we head down to the Holy Well then back up the ox track to the village green. The overnight winds have brought down the chestnuts which carpet the tarmac in front of the war memorial. Sophie studies the chestnuts closely but decides they aren't to her taste. The men reroofing the outbuilding show up early. They don't have biscuits so Sophie ignores them but carefully sniffs each wheel of their van.

After a lengthy drink from the zinc bath it's time to return home.

On a bad hair day reckoning today is a 7.5/10.


Some beautifully sung Handel from  Africa :

Hats off to them. A new restaurant in London :