Thursday, June 30, 2022


Sophie starts each day in the unshakeable belief that Angus is going to go into the kitchen and unload  the contents of the refrigerator on the floor. Each day she is disappointed. This in no way impacts on her optimism that tomorrow will see her dreams fulfilled.

This morning, as recompense,  there is a shared croissant. Angus gives it a 7.8/10 ranking. Sophie, who is an adherent to the quantity over quality school of croissant judging, gives it a 11/10. It would get 15/10 if only there was more of it.

The road through the village has opened up again. This may only be a temporary reprieve. The new mayor stops to tell me that there is subsidence in the valley and this keeps on disturbing the new fibre optic cabling. Stabilization works may be required.

On our early morning tour of the village we not only see the new mayor but we also chat to the farmer at the crossroads who is up early with a trailer to start harvesting his garlic crop. ' I'll drop some off at the gate when I'm done ' he says cheerily.

Has anyone ever seen a crosswalk flag ? I checked to make sure it wasn't April 1st :


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Idle !

Sophie has had a mid-summer trim. I'm hoping that what it lacks in finesse it makes up for in comfort. She doesn't seem too bothered. I reassure her that ' it'll grow back again'. 

Sporting her new super 'svelte' look the family princess undertakes her start of day tour of the village. 

Goats, geese, hens and donkeys are all greeted - or to be more exact - glared at. There can be no doubting who is the chatelaine of this village ! We stop for a while by the concrete storm drain to look at the view and set the world to rights. Sophie soon gets bored with this and strides purposefully off to explore a rustling by the water hole. Life is too short to be idle !

The road through the village is due to be opened up again today. It's been closed for a couple of months so that the new fibre optic line can be installed and a subsidence problem resolved. Sophie has got used to having the lane to herself.  Soon we will be back to the rush hour bedlam of two tractors an hour rushing by. Angus is hopeful that the end of the roadworks will mean that the internet signal might be available for the whole day. There have been days when the connection has gone missing only to reappear late at night.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Louisiana weather. Under the clouds the heat is building and with it the humidity. Sophie and Angus have a long walk by the side of the river where the cool breezes linger. 

This morning the swan family are proudly displaying two tiny cygnets. They paddle backwards and forwards twenty yards off shore. The cygnets - two maybe three days old - are as white as snow.  Sophie stops and stares with walk pausing  incredulity. There is something at once innocent and reassuring about these new arrivals. I find myself laughing aloud and saying 'thank you' to no one in particular. One of the benefits of advancing 'maturity' is the ability to express ones gratitude  about unexpected joys without embarrassment.

Here at The Rickety Old Farmhouse we've left an area where the nettles can grow wild. The bees love it. Our numbers seem to be up  :

Monday, June 27, 2022


Our start of week call with the serious Manhattanites means we're up and about mega early. Roe v Wade and Hillary Clinton start the conversation which makes a change from Ukraine, Russia and Iran. Someone quotes a line by Mary Oliver - 'Everyone knows the great energies running amok cast terrible shadows'.  America remains a land where poetry is quoted - that used to be the case in France.

The Old Mayor and his side kick, the village Christmas decoration coordinator, have finished installing the new church door  lock. It took them four hours. For some inexplicable reason the new lock has been put in upside down. Opening it requires more concentration than you might imagine.  The key has to be inserted ' teeth up ' and then turned  counter clockwise 360 degrees - twice. This is basically the reverse of every other lock on the planet. The new lock also has a degree of  'movement' in its alignment which requires pulling the door 'firmly' towards you whilst  turning the inverted key in the hope that bolt and lock will somehow match up. This is NOT an improvement over the old lock.

Having opened the church and discovered the idiosyncratic nature of the new lock,  dog and owner head off to the modern bakers in the shopping centre. It's showery so we share our croissant in the back of the car. In a dry spell Sophie explores the grass verges, glares at pigeons and chases ( ineptly ) a pair of mallards. What a great Monday morning.

So starts a new week in deepest, deepest France profonde.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Presumably deaf

The tikes and their friends finished partying in their swimming pool at a little after half past two this morning. We know this because this is when the screaming and belly flops finished. The tikes parents are away and they are being looked after by their ( presumably clinically deaf ) grandparents.

Sophie did not find the early morning belly flopping to be conducive to a good nights rest. Every hour or so she would wake and let us know there was 'activity' in the village.

This morning she is bright and full of energy. She is certainly brighter and more full of energy than her sleep interrupted companion .

A 'so so' collection of cakes at the bakers and a 8.3/10 croissant at the cafe start our overcast and heavy Sunday morning.

The Old Mayor is up early. He and the man who is responsible for the Christmas decorations are hard at work on the church door. They plan to install a new lock to replace the current one which has a temperamental mechanism. I shall be given a new key when they're finished. The Christmas decorations man has a collection of power tools in the boot of his car. 'Get it done in no time' he says cheerily while holding a drill in his left hand.  I leave them as they discuss where they might find an electrical  socket .


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Counter intuitive


Another hot, sunny day forecast. Dog and master are up early to enjoy a tour of the village while the air is still cool.

On the other side of the lane the first of the sunflowers is in bloom. 

This year all the fields round The Rickety Old Farmhouse have been planted with sunflowers. We shall soon , literally, be afloat in a field of gold. Sophie has discovered that the young hares shelter from the sun beneath the sunflower canopies. This provides an added sense of purpose to her morning exploration. 

Nervous readers should be reassured that the hares are in no danger of being caught by the PONette on one of her hunting forays. Impenetrable shade, thick sunflower stalks and Sophie's counter intuitive hunting technique keep the leverets completely safe.

The Old Farmer sits on his balcony and watches the world go by. Regular as clockwork he settles down on his deck chair at first light. He watches the villagers set off for work before going inside mid-morning to change out of his pyjamas and get dressed. He reappears after lunch and is there until the later afternoon when it's time to head off in the venerable Mercedes to the supermarket in the neighbouring village . He arrives at the supermarket ten minutes before it closes. It at this exact time that the 40% off stickers go on the products that have come face to face with their imminent 'sell by date'. The Old Farmer considers 'sell by dates' to be a modern frippery.

This was the piper who played outside the wee house - a link was posted earlier in the week. The sound of Scotland the Brave was a twice daily accompaniment to my recovery from Covid. Little did I know he would play at his own graduation ceremony . What a small world :

Friday, June 24, 2022


5:34 am and the morning rush hour. A small army of snails climbing over the gate and into the garden. They're in a hurry to get into the shade before the sun climbs higher and the heat builds.

Give it another four days and the sunflowers in the field opposite The Rickety Old Farmhouse will be in full bloom. They've already grown to six feet in height. Sophie finds that exploring the canyons formed by their stalks is a great  way to start her day.

This mornings croissant strives for excellence but falls short. It looks the part but the dough is 'unexceptional'. Sophie is not bothered. For her the experience of going out in the back of the car for a curly croissant end with Angus warrants an 11/10. For the family diva life is one layer of excitement piled on another. The municipal refuse  workers in day glo orange dungarees greet Sophie by name. Angus is not so honoured. 

The weather weird . Long periods of sunshine followed by suddenly grey skies and showers. Thunder grumbles away in the distance.

Sophie checks the garden for C-A-T-S, chases a squirrel and barks at the collar doves. Soon it will be time for a restorative napette. Life at The Rickety Old Farmhouse has returned to normal .... and not a moment too soon.