Tuesday, September 29, 2015

They don't know yet.

Bob and Sophie don't know it yet but later on this morning they will be heading off for a weeks fun filled holiday in the K-E-N-N-E-L-S.

Their owners will be heading off to Hong Kong for a quick break. 

See you this time next week.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Another sunny morning. Despite having been up late watching the lunar eclipse Sophie is raring to get started. 

There is a man with one of those over sized chess boards outside the church. What he's doing there so early in the morning a mystery. We would have stopped to talk to him but Bob is eyeing up the chess pieces as if they need de-threating. This is perhaps not the best way to break the ice. We head off to the bakers.

The Tunisian clothes sellers make an appearance in the market. They only seem to sell ladies trousers and tops in one design but in a variety of different colours. There is something slightly ghoulish about their severed legs display.

Through it all Bob remains, irredeemably, Bob. 

The Old Farmer, having returned from visiting his fathers grave in Belarus, has replenished and repaired the venerable motor home. He now plans to drive to San Sebastian in Spain. '' The weathers too good to be stuck around the house " he informs us. We watch him load the US Army surplus trailer with four cases of wine and enough sausage to fed a dozen. He plans to take his two cats with him for company. Proof that good cheer gets you through anything - no matter what your age.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Community PR.

Sunday morning. That wonderful time of the year when the mornings are still warm but the air is clear and hints at winter and endless skies. Sophie waits impatiently for her brother.

On the telephone wires hundreds of swallows sunning themselves and chatting distractedly away. Can birds be happy ? From the joyful cadences the journey ahead is viewed with delight.

In the little market town the local firemen are displaying a collection of historic fire engines. Bob de-threats the tyres. Thankfully, nobody notices. Or, if they do, they don't say anything.

The road safety organization has a little Peugeot mounted on a gimble. This spins the car round head over heels five time to simulate an accident. There are certain ages when you can have breakfast and then be spun rapidly around. Angus has reached an age where this is definitely not advisable. 

As we leave there is a small drama. A six year old child, male, has been allowed to clamber onto a fire tender and try on a fireman's helmet. This is what is known as community PR. The fireman turns his back and next thing you know the six year is shimmering up an immensely long ladder. When we hear the screaming he's clambered up fifteen feet or so. Six is an age where fear has yet to make an impact on the psyche. Mother is apoplectic, Father is wishing he'd stayed at home , Fireman is agitated, Child is oblivious to the pandemonium below. One wonders how parents of young males ever make it into middle age with their sanity intact.

This happens tonight : http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/09/supermoon_lunar_eclipse_september_2015_blood_moon.html

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jingling bells.

Saturday morning. The angelic duo are up early and ready to enjoy their best day ever.

The flags have been put out on the war memorial. We can't think of any reason why they should be there.

The cafe on the Square is still valiantly putting out all its tables in readiness for the long departed tourists.

The newsagent has a display of headgear for the Rugby World Cup.  You can have a viking hat with France on the front ( as if the red, white and blue stripes weren't clue enough ) or one covered with jingling brass bells.

Bob and Sophie are greatly taken with the jingling bells. The lady behind the counter looks at me with a look midway between pity and alarm as I demonstrate the jingling hat to Sophie.

Friday, September 25, 2015

What's keeping you ?

Seven am. The angelic duo are already waiting for me .

There is some confusion over whether the car is inside or outside. This uncertainty is finally resolved.

After our morning trip to the bakers there is time for a game of tug of war with Furry Fox. 

Tug of war is conducted in near silence. Sophie has learnt that you can't hold Furry Fox in your mouth and bark at the same time. 

What better way to start a day ?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Non verbal communication.

Blue hair. 

Bob and master share the same view of the latest cleaning lady applicant. 

It's not only humans who use non verbal communication .

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fresh air day.

It's a fresh air day. Swedes are big on fresh air days. All the doors and windows in The Rickety Old Farmhouse are flung wide open. Bob and Sophie see this as an invitation to run in and out of the house. You'd think they'd soon tire of this game. You'd also think they'd soon stopping howling with delight. How wrong you'd be. 

After lunch Sophie liberates Furry Fox from Bobs secret hiding place. Much excitement ensues.

Life in the fast lane. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Every morning Bob rearranges the Solar System fridge magnets on the dishwasher door.

This morning he licks Jupiter then nibbles Neptune.

Then he gives the Sun a good swipe with his nose.

The Universe finally in order he settles down for a nap. What must he think he's doing ?

The dog in this advert looks familiar https://www.thegrommet.com/330-pawplunger-portable-dog-paw-cleaner?utm_campaign=20150921&utm_content=2166&utm_medium=email&utm_source=CC&trk_msg=G85I6NICM4F4FAA63UTU6GO7GC&trk_contact=MSLKVL1GU4FPR5GR50O6T5VOVG

Monday, September 21, 2015

The gamut.

It's darker in the mornings. We now head off down into the valley at seven thirty. This means running the gamut of the children waiting at the war memorial for their school buses. The little one greet Bob and Sophie with a polite 'Bonjour'. The older boys say 'Bonjour' to me then bark at the PONs. 

The angelic duo race around the hay stacks for an hour. Bob decides to de-threat each of them. There are more than a dozen which requires a special kind of diligence. Task done he exudes a contemplative happiness. Sophie ferrets in the drainage ditches.

The miserable bakers wife is in a particularly miserable mood. 

'' What do you want ? " she asks by way of greeting. We buy a pear flan. There is no small talk. 

Ordinarily, 'The Font' takes one mouse sized bite of a desert and then leaves the rest to Angus to polish off during the week. This time however the flan is said to be both light and delicious. 

Bob and Sophie spend the rest of their day barking at tractors, chasing red squirrels and generally making sure that the universe is as it should be. For dinner there is chicken, rice , green beans and gravy. No dishwasher could clean their bowls as thoroughly as they do. The PONs start their day happy. They end it even happier. They go to sleep knowing that tomorrow is going to be even better.

Just one of those quiet days with dogs. Too unimportant for a diary but too important to go completely unacknowledged. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A clash of civilizations

Bob is up and about bright and early. Sophie isn't. She comes to the front door wearing her '' Do you know what time it is ? " look. Once again I start the day surprised at just how different brother and sister are.

By the time she's harnessed up Miss Grump has turned into Miss Charming. She bestows a pre-breakfast kiss on her owners cheek. Bob has no time for public displays of affection. He exudes seriousness.

In the little market town a large crowd has gathered.

The Toulouse Ferrari Club have stopped off for breakfast in the Square. Despite the early hour it seems that every male from the age of eight to eighty-eight  is there. Farmers wives comment on the sports cars impracticality and tut. The Ferraris decidedly less practical than the white Peugeot vans that are the standard means of transportation in these parts. A real clash of civilizations. 

Finally, the cafe empties. The drivers rev their engines. Faced with a wall of noise Bob looks up at me for encouragement. '' Is it alright ? ". Sophie hides behind my legs. We buy our croissants and head home. PONs are not fans of noisy Italian sports cars. Sedate Skodas are more their natural habitat.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


If a dogs nose can tell you anything about their state of health then Sophie is in good form.

Bob isn't far behind.

No builders today so the PON duo have a quiet day. They clearly miss having morose lads standing in the flower beds smoking Gitanes .

Here in the village life drifts gently along.
Each day The Very Old Farmer is rolled out  to enjoy the early afternoon sun while his lunch is made.
Our search for a replacement cleaning lady moves slowly and unsuccessfully along. The latest applicant wanted a formal contract, paid holidays and health insurance.
The second cinema en plein air was scheduled for tonight but has been rescheduled due to a clash with the Rugby World Cup. A widescreen television has been installed on the village hall stage and a beer tent erected on the petanque court outside.
On Thursday The Old Farmer is due to return from his trip to Belarus.
Last night Sophie found a very large and very prickly hedgehog in the garden. She shoved it with her nose. This is a mistake she will not repeat. Her yelps of fury were 'remarkable' for their intensity and duration.

Friday, September 18, 2015


A bright and breezy morning. The temperature down to a bracing 11 degrees. We see a flock of swallows, maybe a hundred of them, darting back and forwards over the ridge. They must be congregating before heading off on their annual migration to North Africas winter warmth. Another of the years comforting routines.

After their morning walk the PONs take up position on 'their' table. This is an excellent spot to monitor the comings and goings of workmen. Bob remains silent. After a minute Sophie's patience is exhausted and she lets out a shrill yelp. This is a sign that she'd like the workmen to acknowledge her presence.

The wind picks up. Sophie soon ends up looking like a tumble dried vision of frightfulness. Bob looks like Bob.

By tea time the builders have finished replacing the roof tiles damaged in the big storm. The gutter men have repaired the down pipes. The Rickety Old Farmhouse should now be warm and dry for the coming winter. I'll close up the pool on Monday. The PONs have spent a large part of their day playing ' throw the Furry Fox ' with the morose lads. They are happy. The morose lads seem equally happy .

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Who are these people and what do they want ?

The builders are at the front gate at seven, the gutter men half an hour later. Miracles do happen. '' I said we'd be back when it was dry " says the senior builder with disarming enthusiasm. 

After a full-on Marie Antoinette moment ( who are these people and what do they want ? ) Sophie retires to the kitchen. She is suffering a rampant hair day. Bob shepherds the morose lads and their ladders across the courtyard. 

Bob also takes the opportunity to cock-a-leg and de-threat the wheelbarrows. Afterwards he looks at me confidently as if to say '' That's shown them. You never know what mischief wheelbarrows can get up to ". 

A watchful eye is kept on the trailer parked on the lane outside the front gate. 

All in all an impressive display of multi-tasking, PON style.

Finally, brother and sister settle on the lawn. Sophie catches up on her beauty sleep. Bob appears to be awake but his head is nodding and there is a suspicion the 'on' switch isn't fully in the 'on' position.

Sometimes humans fail to recognize how busy and full of responsibility a dogs day can be.