Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Summer cold.

Monsieur Bay, the retired gendarme, is down with a summer cold. 'The Font' has agreed to take Madame Bay and her friend Yvonne from Angouleme into the departmental capital for the Wednesday morning market. Our octogenarian neighbour likes the Volvo. It's high enough off the ground for her to slide down from the front passenger seat with relative ease.  Getting her up and into the car is less easy. Madame Bay and Yvonne from Angouleme are very taken with beige car seats although they are deemed impractical. Yvonne from Angouleme is wearing a broad brimmed straw hat which has to be taken off before she gets into the back. It takes some time for her to understand this. Madame Bay is wearing her trademark paisley patterned turban held together at the front by the Kohinoor diamond. 'The Font' has a look that tells me that even the abstemious may require a restorative/calming glass of wine for lunch. 

A bright sunny start to the day for the two PONs and their master.  The roofers return to finish off the work. Monsieur Noddie informs me that he starts work at six and finishes at one. '' To escape the afternoon heat ? " I inquire. ' No ! The wasps come out in the afternoon and we don't like being stung ' he replies with gusto. Sophie gives wide berth to the friendly pony that has escaped from the enclosure by the churchyard and is eating the primulas in a basket at the front door of the town hall. We lead it back into its field.  No sooner is it safely back than it tries to get out again. The pony makes it quite plain that eating the primulas was much more fun.

The regional authorities have built a new site for the rubbish bins on the edge of the village. This started off well but it has now been discovered by fly tippers. The bins are always full. This morning someone has carefully arranged a variety of containers full of engine oil and aerosols of used wasp killer around the bins. The PONs take great interest in the bins but are ' encouraged ' along.

At the greengrocers a variety of round aubergine I've never seen before.

The shelves brimming with local peaches.

So starts a quiet Wednesday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Mustard and Maroon.

The seasons moving on. A month ago at six am it was light. Now, the sun is just rising. The PONs circle the garden checking for C-A-T-S and squirrels. Sophie barks at the collar doves nesting in the palm tree. Her sense of purpose is palpable.

A small miracle. Monsieur Noddie arrives, unexpectedly, to repair some roof tiles that were dislodged in a storm three years ago. '' Bonjour M'Ongoose. I thought of calling but we were passing and it seemed a good time to get started '.  Angus quietly wonders whether he should ask 'What's three years amongst friends ?' but decides to keep this thought to himself.

Monsieur Noddie supervises the unloading of replacement tiles and an assortment of equipment. Two gentlemen clamber onto the roof while a third gentleman, with dreadlocks, stands by the van doing nothing in particular. The PONs are greatly taken with 1)  the ladders 2) the people climbing up ladders 3) the tyres on the van and 4) the gentleman with the dreadlocks. They are less keen on Monsieur Noddie who in a long and distinguished career in roof repairs has discovered the best thing to do with family dogs is ignore them. There are no biscuits.

The angelic duo are encouraged indoors. The workmen will have to  learn to manage without them.

We head off for our morning walk. Sophie glares at the pond. The Coots have got wise to her ways and have hidden under the water lilly leaves. We meet the German billionaire who tells us his collection of 17 motorbikes from the 1950's will be arriving this afternoon. The German billionaire is wearing a mustard coloured polo neck,  an unusual maroon coloured shorts/bib combination that might be better suited to a four year old, duck egg blue espadrilles and red and green striped knee length socks. Angus makes a mental note that mustard and maroon should never be seen on an adult male.

The PONs find all of this to be extremely entertaining. Life keeps on getting better and better.

Summer concerts in France.  Orchestra and organ in two places . A nightmare for the conductor:

Monday, July 29, 2019

For the avoidance of doubt.

For the avoidance of doubt and for those who have only just woken up and don't know it yet .....

.... this is going to be the very best day ever. Guaranteed !

A very French sound for a Monday morning :

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Out and about.

Grey and cool with layers of thick cloud. Some half hearted rain. 14 degrees . PONs and owners are delighted. It won't last but at least the air inside the house will cool down. By six all the windows and doors are wide open.

The PONs do a circuit of the garden not once, not twice but three times. Readers of a nervous disposition will be delighted to know there were no C-A-T-S. Bob sits on his stump seat and watches the young garagiste race past in his little Citroen with the raspy exhaust. Everyone else seems to be on holiday.

The little market town is humming. Pretty much all the tables at the cafe under the arcades taken. Toddlers and family dogs everywhere. The PONs settle down in a quiet spot and wait an inordinately long time for their morning croissant and bowl of water.

The book sharing club has taken some of the old street lights and put them to good use. The lanterns provide practical storage  (and easy access ) for a collection of thrillers and love stories. In the UK vandals would soon give the panes of glass short shrift.

One of the rundown old buildings has been restored. The architect has inserted a small glass extension  on the first floor. This is slanted about ten degrees off centre and is not quite symmetrical. Once you notice it you can't take your eyes off it.

In the recent heat these two remote Scottish vacation options suddenly become alluring :

Saturday, July 27, 2019

A scrum.

Hallelujah ! A cold front blows through bringing cloud and rain. The temperature back into the 20's. The angelic duo are delighted. They are also up super early to enjoy a day outside. A cold wet nose in my ear wakes me at 5:30 on the dot with the good news.

This morning when putting on Bobs collar I find a lump under the skin on his neck. Something that will need to be monitored. No point in worrying. 

'The Font' heads off into the supermarket. Today it's a scrum , presumably because folks have been penned up inside all week because of the heat and can now finally get out. Angus checks out the exotic foods counter. The Polish section is a sign of the times. Five years ago there wasn't one but as Polish builders, doctors and plumbers spread out across Europe the section gets ever larger.

Vodka chocolates. 'Liquer fills with vodka filling' as the packet says. Angus is undecided as to whether this may be a wonderful or not wonderful taste.

Smoked sprats in oil. The can informs me they are winter sprats. This presumably means there are summer sprats. Angus isn't sure whether he's ever knowingly tasted a sprat. 

Ducks galore :

40% of doctors approaching retirement. Others cutting back on their hours :

Friday, July 26, 2019

Dog days of summer.

Someone is surprised to find a pony looking at them.

A chilled yogurt a good cure for the shock.

Hot and with a stiff wind that has the flag in the car park billowing out. Sinus drying weather. 

En route for our morning croissant Bob diligently insists on sniffing and then christening all of the tyres on a VW Golf. Must be a farmyard car.

The hamburger outlet is doing a Venice Beach special. What it has to do with Venice Beach is a mystery.

The baker has produced a rather splendid lemon meringue pie. We are almost done with the post-birthday chocolate cake but not quite. Maybe we'll resume cake purchases tomorrow ?

What must it be like in Paris in this heat ? :

Thursday, July 25, 2019


The strange people that live in The Rickety Old Farmhouse are up and about at 5.30 opening windows and topping up the pool. Two shaggy dogs can be seen hurtling round the garden.

The grass which managed to stay green until the start of the month is now parched. Angus is rationing the amount of water that goes through the irrigation system . What's left of the garden would be well and truly finished off if the well was to run dry in August. Thunderstorms are forecast for Saturday. They will be welcomed.

From the poolside Angus chats to Japanese men in dark suits. We discuss the seizing of tankers in the Gulf . The world wanted a less engaged America. The world is about to get a lesson in getting what you wish for. The men in dark suits seem rather perplexed by change. The PONs turn on their backs for a quick doze.

Angus considers a strawberry tart in the bakers but we still have two thirds of a post-birthday chocolate cake to finish. The PONs get given a piece of choux pastry . Bob gives the bakers wife a look that suggests that she, and she alone, is the love of his life. Sophie is grateful but also disappointed that the choux pastry slivers don't keep on coming.

Before it gets too hot there's a post croissant walk through the sunflowers to the little stream.

So starts a hot Thursday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde.

Life's a blur :

I had never seen this before :

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Stamina and strength,

Boy is it hot ! Another five thirty start to the day. It  hit 44 degrees yesterday which was too much. How the Tour de France can carry on in this heat a testament to the riders stamina and strength.

The PONs are adjusting to the heat by having their second walk of the day at eight . By then it's nudging 30 degrees - hot but not too hot. The sunflowers provide glorious shade on the way down and back up the hill. The little stream is wonderful for cooling hot paws.

We stop and look at the Senegalese melon pickers. They're too far away to come over to speak to the angelic duo. It's also too hot for the angelic duo to consider racing off to see the Senegalese melon pickers.

Another cake malfunction. 'The Font' orders a chocolate cake from the young lady in the neighbouring village for Angus's birthday on Sunday. We get a text on Friday to say she's been taken into hospital. This morning we get a new text saying the cake is ready for collection.  It is now a post-birthday cake.

Flat peaches in the greengrocers.

French music for a hot Wednesday :

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Hot and humid.

No point in opening up the shutters this morning. Today is already hot ( 28 degrees at six am, 41- 42 degrees + forecast this afternoon ) and Savannah style humid. 

Time to head off for our morning croissant. The angelic settle in the back of the car. We hurtle along empty roads with all the windows down. PON ears fly upwards in the ensuing gale.

An enormous tiger mosquito zapper in the hardware store. It's priced at E619 which seems pricey for a bug trap. 

At the cafe the PONs and Angus sit at an outside table to share our croissant, bowl of water and cup of coffee. This morning we are joined by a family of fearless sparrows. The sparrows are sensible enough not to parade around on the ground in front of the PONs noses. Instead they sit facing me on the back of a chair and look imploringly at the croissant crumbs on the table. Each of the sparrows has slightly different plumage and its own unique way of standing.

The greengrocer has started to sell packs of insects as a pre-dinner snack. It seems unlikely that the conservative residents of France profonde will ever be tempted into trying out dried insects. Angus thinks it more likely that the greengrocer has a serious recreational pharmaceutical habit.

Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse the young postman delivers a registered letter. It's from Volvo informing us that there is a problem with a part in the engine  that ' may in very rare cases cause the vehicle to ignite '. They will write to us again when a fix to the problem has been discovered. Is this, or is it not, reassuring ?

This piece of writing made me smile :

Monday, July 22, 2019

Only possible time.

The village tikes and their big sister have had a party. We know this because the thump thump thump of disco hits floats through the air at two am. 'The Font' observes that Sunday night is an unusual time for a party. 'Not if you're ten years old and it's the start of the school holidays ' observes Angus. He could also have added that with the temperature approaching 40 degrees during the day the pre-dawn hours are the only possible time to party. Both of us, having listened to it endlessly, now know the words to this :

The PONs seem to not to have heard the noise.  They are both fully rested , 100% awake and brimming over with supercharged energy by half past five.

The garden is checked for signs of C-A-T-S or squirrels. All is well. Sophie barks for no other reason than she can.

A quick trip to the market for cheese ... and bread. Slivers and crumbs, respectively,  for my companions.

Then to the wine store for a mixed case of Marange and Blagny ...

... and finally to the bakers. Then there's time for a shared croissant and a bowl of fresh water before returning home.

Night shift medical residents food. What could this possibly taste like ? Has anyone ever seen one ? Real 7 Up flavour ! Only in America. Next time he's in the US  Angus will scour the aisles of Walmart to see if they have them on sale :

Not everyday we have something from Tehran. Not  everything is as it seems ... or is reported :