Friday, July 20, 2018

Finding the positive.

More thunderstorms overnight. Sophie, oblivious to the receding thunder,  rushes out to get her day started.

Bob takes a more cautious approach.

In the station car park a car sporting a Tupperware sign. Angus tells Bob he thought Tupperware was a 70's thing.

Bob and Angus go for a haircut. Or, to be more precise Angus has a haircut while Bob settles down for a nap. 'The Font' and Sophie head off to the market for flowers.

The barber is a gentleman of North African origin. He finds my French incomprehensible and I his.
He seems to think I come from Canada. Conversely he could be telling me that he's watching an episode of 'Rookie Blues' on a television that is playing in a corner with the volume turned down. He asks me to choose what setting I want on the electric clippers. I  stress, three times, that I don't want it cut too short. '' You need a five but I not have five " he replies. By the time I've translated this he's already hard at work shearing. This he does in straight lines starting at the nape of my neck and running upwards . '' I got a two " he says cheerfully.

The Font and Sophie are at the station cafe enjoying a coffee, a bowl of water and a shared croissant.  '' Goodness " says 'The Font' on seeing Angus. There is a moment of silence followed by the question "Did the barber have any other customers ? ". There is a longer pause and then '' It must feel better in this heat".  This is followed a few minutes later with the observation " At least you won't have to go again anytime soon ".

'The Font' always tries to find the positive in every situation.

And here is an interesting factoid from Deutsche Bank :

And some Friday morning esoterica . What did 17th century food taste like ?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Just one of those things.

5:50 am. Angus and the PONs are in the kitchen.

Sophie has a yogurt pot firmly clasped in her mouth.

We're not going anywhere until she's made sure it's not refilled itself.

This takes some time. The pot has to be rechecked ...

... and rechecked.

One of those things about life with a 'diva' which is too inconsequential for a diary but too much part of life to go completely unrecorded.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The way we like it

Cloudy and humid. There have been some humdingers of thunderstorms the last few nights. Sophie sleeps through them. Bob guards the house from the safety of the bedroom door. The Old Farmer and the Belgian lady set off on Tuesday for a trip to the coast in the venerable Ford Transit motor home. They had planned to be away for four nights but return after one. It seems the fibreglass repairs to the motor homes roof were not water proof.

Sophie notices birds. Bob is oblivious to them. Neither of them has the stealth characteristics needed to be a hunting dog. The head back and howl with delight approach would not serve them well in the wild. 

This morning we avoid the bakers and the temporary dog unfriendly assistant behind the counter. Instead we go to the centre of the little town for a coffee, a shared croissant and a bowl of water. Although it's high summer the square in front of the Abbey is hardly crowded. This is the way dog owners like it.

This street art made me laugh.

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'  :