Wednesday, April 30, 2014

We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.

It's grey and wet when we make it down to the market. More like mist than drizzle but definitely not sitting outside weather. '' You've brought the Scottish rain back with you " says the greengrocers wife. The cheese lady and the fish lady say exactly the same thing. Angus resists pointing out that this would be considered a perfect summers day in many parts of his homeland. Bob and Sophie each get a piece of carrot at the greengrocers and a small lump of St.Nectaire at the cheese shop. They don't get given anything at the fishmongers but they still enjoy the visit.

For the angelic duo an afternoon spent redesigning the garden. This involves lots of enthusiastic digging. Both of the PON's are in a particularly affectionate mood. Why is it dogs want to kiss you when they're filthy ? They become less affectionate and try to become invisible when they realize a bath is on the cards. 

In Scotland, not so long ago, this used to be the most popular tune for the first wedding waltz :

Now it's this :

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In the end , we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Bob and Sophie remain shell shocked until lunchtime. After that they revert to normal. They are however quieter than usual. They go to bed, exhausted, at nine and sleep until six thirty.

'Yes' campaigners out on the streets of Scotland. The polls are tightening and are now too close to call. It will be decided in the disindustrialised regions of the country where third generation unemployment has become the norm.

The place where Kate met Wills. The small print adds 'for coffee '. 

The Royal and Ancient Club House. The Mecca of golf. Outside, the traffic stops for a family of ducks. In someways Scotland will never change.

The ending detracts a little but this charming video was posted by someone who understands dogs :


Monday, April 28, 2014

In adversity therefore o traveller, be not so much dismayed for piety may surmount a rugged road.

Bob and Sophie collected from the kennels. Bob seems to have enjoyed himself. Or, if not enjoyed , at least coped with the ordeal . He was in no hurry to leave. Sophie by contrast was out of her pen and into the back of the car at the speed of light. A bit of a cut under one eye. Probably the result of some rough and tumble with her brother.

The two of them spent an hour digging up the garden and have now fallen into a deep sleep. In fact it's not so much sleep as a coma. Their joy at being home is enough to light up the sky. 

Happiness like this too inconsequential to be put in a diary but too important to be forgotten.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I am certain there is too much certainty in this world.

Scotland was wet. At times it was merely wet. At other times it was extremely wet. The sun came out briefly in St.Andrews but after twenty minutes it retired, exhausted, behind ten layers of cloud.

Lambs everywhere. Gamboling, joyful, laughing lambs. Is it a sign of age that pleasure can be found in such simple things ? The sight of Black lamb triplets, playfully boxing like mad March hares, causes us to stop the car and stand laughing like children in the rain .

Outside a wine merchant signs of a very  good Saturday evenings business.

A young Canadian couple in the Rent a Car Terminal unpack their suitcases and don every piece of clothing they've packed . Can it be that even Scots Vancouverites find the homeland cold ? 

Everywhere we go we see Hugh Grant. Same flights, same hotels. We also see the parents of  a Duchess. Queueing something royalty doesn't do. I'll say no more. 'The font' exchanges words.

Bob and Sophie will be collected tomorrow morning at eight. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

We know who we are, but know not what we may be.

We're up at first light. While Bob and Sophie have breakfast Angus loads the bags into the back of the car and prints out the boarding passes. Afterwards there's just enough time for a quick walk across the village green before we have to be on our way to the kennels and the airport. We'll be in Scotland until Sunday.

Bob, tail wagging twenty to the dozen, is gloriously unaware that there's a change to his daily routine. The same cannot be said for his sister. Sophie has a canniness that belies her tender years. She is doing an impersonation of Miss Glum.

'' It'll be a great adventure " I find myself saying to 'the font' and Bob and Sophie as we head off.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Mountains are calling and I must go.

I ask for two punnets of strawberries. The strawberry lady gives me four. She's done this every day this week. A bumper harvest this year after the rains. Thankfully, Bob and Sophie love strawberries. 

Last night the village budget meeting. Farmers, feral children, Jack Russells , all crammed into the Salle des Fetes. Babies cry. Dogs and children wander in and out of the French windows. Everyone talks at once. The mood not helped by the exposure of a scandal in the French Presidents entourage. One of his advisers has been popping into the wine cellar at the Elysee Palace and choosing €600 bottles of fine vintage wine to have with his lunch. 

'' That's Socialists for you " says the sour man who disapproves of foreigners. '' All these politicians are the same. Scheming jackasses " adds the Very Old Farmer pointing at the mayor. '' The Very Old Farmer qualifies the word 'politician' with a choice adjective. The lady in the purple hat tells him to mind his language - ' there are children present ! ' . The mayor tries to review the items in the budget. He finally gives up. After two hours of Sturm und Drang we slip out while the Chairman of the Beautiful Village Committee bemoans the price of bedding plants.

'' That was interesting " says 'the font ' with more than a hint of understatement. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Bob has worked out that he's been put on this earth for two reasons :

1) To guard his flock ( little sister included ) and 2) To have fun. 

He's also worked out that these two roles are not mutually exclusive. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Men have become the tools of their tools.

Muddy paw prints on a mat in the bathroom. Matching paw prints on the floor of the shower. That 'forbidden fruits are fabulous ' look on Sophie's face. So much for the rule that bedrooms and bathrooms are out of bounds. When caught in flagrante delicto Sophie seems to believe she's invisible. Either that or she's completely shameless.

Post lunch a wander down to the stream. Bob tries his hand at fishing. Then a saunter along the valley floor to watch the young calves in the fields ( Sophie does this from behind the safety of her owners legs). In the afternoon the PON duo chase squirrels. They don't know it yet but their first taste of kennel life is only three days away. Our betting is that Sophie will adjust more readily than her brother.

This raised an eyebrow :