Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Let's get the day started.

Garden checked for C-A-T-S. Village goats/horses/donkeys all greeted. Breakfast devoured.  The PONs are ready to head off and collect their master. They do their very best to hide their impatience. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Why not ?

Angus is heading off to talk to men ( and two women ) in dark suits. There's time for a walk along the ridge and a chat on the storm drain before he has to get changed. Bob gives me his '' Why ? " look. Sophie has even more of a judgmental air. There will be people who tell you that dogs can't communicate displeasure. They're wrong.

A detour for a bowl of water and a slightly burnt espresso at the modern cafe.  The PONs each get a curly croissant end and a shared mignardise.  This, in some small way, compensates for the interruption to a carefully crafted routine.

Piotr, the head Polish plumber, sees us as we head back across the village green. ' Two bedroom bathroom done. Two more bedroom bathroom to do ' he announces triumphantly. I ask if the owners of the house will be able to move in before the school holidays. '' I am seeing no reason why not " he replies with studied imprecision.

Two more election posters have arrived on the village notice board.  A rather jaunty one of smiling people for the Presidents party. They are promising 'rebirth' - another popular but difficult to pin down word from the political lexicon.

There is also a rather less smiley poster for a party with a hammer and sickle. The party of workers against big business. They appear to be vying for the same vote as Ian the Communist candidate.

Does the architecture of this bookstore intimidate ? :

Monday, May 20, 2019

A thousand times.

Another grey and cloudy start to our day. The jet stream is way off course and dragging cold winds all the way down from Norway. The PONs, despite their summer cut, love this brisk weather.

More posters for the European elections have gone up on the communal notice boards.  Lots of words like 're-establish', 'change' and 'together'. The international lexicon of politics. We notice there is an animal rights party. The use of beagles in animal testing a big - and controversial - thing here. 

The Communists also have a jolly looking poster. The Europe of the people versus the Europe of the wealthy. Don't think I've ever seen a Frenchman with the name Ian. 

In a surprise twist we have been able to vote by post in the British Euro elections.

On our way off to get the morning croissants we're held up by an accident. No one is hurt but a woman has driven out of her drive without looking. It goes without saying she's pulled out straight in front of an oncoming car. 'I've done it a thousand times and there's never been anyone there' I hear her saying. 

At the sausage and ham stall in the market the PONs are convinced they've died and gone to heaven. Bob has to be 'encouraged' along no less than three times. He has his mind set on a particularly enticing boudin noir. 

Outside we make a detour to avoid the dog that belongs to the cheese shop. She might be small but she is very proprietorial.

This is quite something. Sophie , with her metal legs, is quite a bouncer  :

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Water rites.

Sunday morning. The worst of the wet weather seems to be behind us.

The old zinc bath by the remains of the Roman wall is filled to the brim after last nights downpour. Sophie has a long , slurpingly noisy, drink from it. The PONs will happily drink from an old zinc bath but will turn their noses up at water left in their bowl if its more than a couple of hours old. Go figure.

A smattering of early morning market goers in the little town. PONs and master settle down at the cafe on the square to watch the world go by. Todays croissant scores 7/10.

On our way back to the car we pass two more newly empty shops. A hairdresser and a shop that used to sell ceramics. The hairdresser is closing because the owner is retiring. The ceramics shop is closing because it sold a variety of black and white vases and little else. Speciality retailing taken to an extreme. The little Balinese restaurant round the corner has also been shuttered. Balinese cuisine presumably not a big thing in deepest deepest France profonde. Sometimes you have to wonder if anyone produced a business plan for these failed enterprises. Now the downward spiral is being fueled by the arrival of online shopping. These retail changes happened long ago in the US and UK but have been slow in coming to France profonde. I'd reckon a third of the towns shops are now closed with the omnipresent ' A louer' signs posted outside. Hope springs eternal.

An iconic piece of airport architecture turned into a hotel . Almost, but not quite, convinced about the two new wings.  There was a time when TWA was the airline to fly . Angus is of an age when he can remember using this terminal:

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Men kick, women throw.

Wet and unseasonably cold. The jet stream is doing strange things and has brought a blast of chill air down from the Arctic.The rain starts to pelt down around midnight and is still cascading down when we set of on our morning walk. By the time we return from greeting the goats Sophie has developed that  'frizzy hair' look. Big brother hasn't.

After a brisk towelling dry , the PONs are loaded into the car and set off to the strawberry farm for two punnets of Gariguettes. We've taken to eating seasonally - strawberries, then melons, then peaches. We're still in the strawberry season with no sign of it petering out any time soon. The strawberry lady says this is the coolest, wettest May she's known. It will extend her picking season for another three weeks.

At the supermarket a strange form of sexism is alive and - quite literally - kicking. A detergent company is having a competition. Men are asked to kick a ball into  a net in order to win a free sample of a new 3 in 1 pod.

Women are supposed to throw a smaller ball into a fake tumble drier.This  is presumably based on some supposition that men are better at kicking and women are better at throwing things. 

This being France the respective male and female attendants seem to be much more interested in flirting with each other than in marketing pods to passing detergent buyers.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

A lady with a mission.

A purposeful start to the day as Sophie heads out of the front door to search for errant C-A-T-S. She is clearly a lady with a mission.

On our early tour of the village we stop by the second of the village ponds ( the one with the large Pike in it ) and stare at frogs. The builder drives by in his Land Rover. He winds down his window and tells me that he's still suffering pain after his hernia operation but is about to start pain management classes. 

Then it's off to the village green to stare at pigeons.

The elections for the European Parliament in two weeks time. Notice boards have been put up for posters. So far there's only one - a poster for a fringe party advocating that France leave the EU. A sovereign people in a free France. The lady's hair style is perhaps the most memorable thing about it.

After breakfast Sophie retires to the lawn and has a quick nap untroubled by her oaf of a brother.

So starts another sunny day in a French village of 67 souls, 2 Polish Lowland Sheepdogs and at least 20 proprietorial cats.

Adapting to her environment ? :

Thursday, May 16, 2019


A quiet morning. The village recovering from yesterdays 'special needs' karaoke day. The prim matron of the old folks home seen on the village green  dancing with some of the residents. Madame Bay and her friend Renee also there helping in the kitchen. The PONs stand by the gate as the sound of laughter and  Gladys Knight drifts across the lane.

At the cafe this morning the dust cart pulls up. Four dustmen get out and sit at a table. Bob and Sophie are greatly interested in the dustmen's boots and trousers. Croissant ends, a bowl of water and tantalizing smells - how's that for the best day ever ?

The angelic duo wait in the car while their master rushes into the supermarket in search of rice cakes.Sophie loves rice cakes and we're nearly out. We've found that a strict treat regimen of carrots and/or rice cakes works wonder for their health.

We return to find all the doors in The Rickety Old Farmhouse wide open. It's a chilly morning. The electricians have adjusted the new security sensors which had the habit of going off when one or other of the PONs went on a nocturnal walk about. Eagle eyed readers will notice that the old  hallway sensors and wall mounted control panel remain in place. '' Sorry Mate. We can't touch them. More than my jobs worth " says the chief electrician. The company that fitted the old alarm has gone out of business as has the manufacturer . Installing a new system is ( relatively ) easy. Getting the old one taken out is an altogether more challenging task.

Intelligent podcasting :