Everyday life in a rickety old Scottish farmhouse with a very happy Polish Lowland Sheepdog. A record of those unimportant little things that are too important to be forgotten.
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Sound of silence.
Saturday, February 27, 2021
The perfect playground.
For those who think dogs only communicate by barking :https://twitter.com/dog_rates/status/1364971588098027521
The hotel gives you a wicker basket. You go to the market. The chef cooks what you've bought. First time I've seen this :https://hotel-de-toiras.com/fr/basket-market.html
Hong Kong cakes :https://www.duddellscny.com/
Friday, February 26, 2021
Bad hair day alert ! In fact a mega bad hair day alert !
Some days a major grooming isn't planned. This morning plans change. Sophie has chosen to follow a scent through, rather than round, the ceanothus bushes outside the church. She is hoisted onto the garden table for an emergency, post walk, brushing. Angus once again informs her she's a walking advert for short haired breeds. He is ignored.
So much remains unknown but 70,000 ? :https://www.livescience.com/thousands-unknown-human-gut-viruses-discovered.html
The Scream yields up its secrets :https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/who-wrote-cryptic-graffiti-edvard-munchs-scream-180977075/
Can't think I've ever, knowingly, had Korean food. The number of restaurant operating Korean expats in Scotland a small demographic. This sounds like winter food :https://www.insidehook.com/article/food-and-drink/chef-judy-joos-korean-galbi-steak-pie-recipe
Thursday, February 25, 2021
The days longer, the weather warmer. Yesterday, for the first time in ages, Sophie could lie in the sunshine at the open front door without being told she had to move.
The man with anger management issues and the German billionaires builder are still waiting for a court date in Toulouse. It's been delayed ( to our knowledge ) three times and has been postponed again due to the courts pandemic reduced timetable. Both protagonists have settled into a routine where they 'blank' each other out . You'd think this might be exhausting but they seem quite adept at it as they drive off to work , staring straight ahead, unsmilingly, in the morning.
The old widow has been taken ill. We walk by as they roll her out of the house on a gurney. The retired mayor had stopped by her house, as he does every morning, and found her on the kitchen floor. ( They were 'sweethearts' sixty five years ago before he went off to do national service in Algeria ). The sapeur pompiers were there within eight minutes. Not a bad response time in the depths of the countryside. As she was loaded into the back of the paramedics truck the old lady sat bolt upright and held out both arms as if she wanted to hold onto her home. This gesture went unnoticed by the busy medical team. One of those whispered ' turning of the page ' moments. Through it all the retired mayor stands by her side, his red tartan pork pie hat clasped to his chest.
By the 'Y' junction the man with the fancy bungalow has laboriously shoveled all the leaves from the drainage ditch onto the grass verge. This is a strange thing to do as come the next windy day they'll all blow back into the ditch again. There must be some logic to his labour but what it might be escapes me.
The tree surgeon will be here later on this morning. The end tree by the barn has developed a rather jaunty angle in the latest gale. It looms threateningly over the barn roof and the big Volvo.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Best in the world variety.
This is something I don't get :https://monolithtracker.com/
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
A sense of accomplishment.
Will there be an Olympics or won't there? We get an e-mail from this hotel which may be a sign that reservations are being cancelled :https://en.palacehoteltokyo.com/restaurant/grand-kitchen/
Monday, February 22, 2021
An unreported success.
A morning to fill the lungs with fresh air and stride out purposefully . Both Sophie and her master are ever so slightly sleep deprived. Angus because the wind was so strong it forced one of the shutters in the drawing room open at 3:26 am. Sophie because three of the village cats decided to shelter from the wind by the front door. Having returned to bed after sorting the shutter Angus is called upon to deal with the errant cats. Can Sophie smell them through the thick wooden front door ? Or, can she hear them ? She is told that there's no way anyone is heading out to deal with the C-A-T-S in the middle of a gale .
The UK plans to have vaccinated it's entire population by the summer. Here in France the roll out continues at a leisurely pace. So far a third of over 75's have been vaccinated. When asked when we might be eligible the receptionist as the medical centre informs us that ' You'll probably get it this year', Meanwhile in the US Walmart and Sam's Club will start vaccinating at more than 5,000 new locations. These American and UK successes are not reported on French breakfast radio .
A morning free of calls to men in dark suits. This means Sophie has my undivided attention. Down by the waterside she sees Mozart the amorous, if ageing, Spaniel. Her tail tells me this is an encounter she could do without. Some dogs she's happy to see. Others she disdains. Poor Mozart falls into this second category. Go figure.
At home there's time to clean out 'The Fonts' yogurt pot before it's time for a deep and uninterrupted nap.
So starts a windy Monday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde.
Sunday, February 21, 2021
The wind rarely, if ever, blows from the South East. For the last five days there's been a gale blowing from that direction. Winds of 60 km/h. The old mayor says he's never known anything like it. He's up and about early watering in the shrubs he planted in the flower border . By tomorrow morning the wind will once again have dried out the soil and he'll repeat the process.
Miniature irises springing up in strange, rarely visited , parts of the garden. We certainly didn't plant them. A dozen under the fig trees at the side of the barn. Four more under the bird feeder. How in heavens name did they get there ? Could it be we've missed them in prior years ?
3D map of rvery building in the Netherlands coloured by age :https://parallel.co.uk/netherlands/#13.8/52.39694/4.94231/0/40
Saturday, February 20, 2021
An arrangement that wouldn't work.
Another action packed start to the day. Angus and Sophie discuss Senator Cruz and his trip to Cancun. The thing that Angus can't get his head round is that the Senator was wait listed in First Class and his wife wasn't. She was presumably always relegated to coach. Angus isn't sure that's an arrangement that would work around here. It certainly wouldn't make for a calm holiday atmosphere. Sophie, for once, agrees.
A chat with men in dark suits about yesterdays G7 speech by Joe Biden calling for an alliance of democracies to call out China and Russia on human rights abuses. Merkel was in her usual wait-and-see mode and said nothing. Boris Johnson embraced the new agenda - the Anglo Saxon world tends to have the same view of the world as the Americans. Macron by contrast was Delphic : "I listened very carefully to president Biden and the common challenges. We do have common challenges: In Africa, in the Middle East." Problem - these are areas the American President didn't talk about- he talked about China, Russia, and cooperation "rooted in democratic values". Seems the Europeans aren't singing from the same hymn sheet as the US. Sophie snores lightly through all of this. She's still coming to terms with the Cruz families travel arrangements.
Eco dog toys. Desmond the Duck is a favourite :https://www.antlerdogchews.co.uk/dog-treats/eco-dog-toys/
A Norwegian furniture maker selling on Instagram. Tables with space for a plant :https://philippvonhase.com/
Fleurs de Cerisiers vases. How do they make them ? :https://www.lalique.com/en/selection/the-botanica-collection
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Billionaires : 1, Moor Hens : 0.
The countryside bursting into life. Daffodils flowering in the orchard. The grass verges along the lane covered in wild violets, gentians and buttercups. Spring may not be here but it's on the way.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
The grey haired spaniel.
The weather improving by leaps and bounds. Everything warming up nicely after the burst of cold we've just been through. Sophie is booked into the Vets for her annual checkup on March 5th. By then she will 1) have had a trim and 2) a thorough bath. Neither of these will be 'relaxing' family activities.
Goodness only knows what's been pottering around the stream overnight but whatever it is gets Sophie's undivided attention. She considers walking through the stream in pursuit of these intriguing scents but thinks better of it.
Sophie makes the acquaintance of Mozart the floppy eared Spaniel. If the grey tinge to his coat is anything to go by Mozart is advancing in years. This does nothing to prevent him trying to make conversation with Sophie. Sophie is having none of it. She emits a gentle but unmistakable 'rumble' from somewhere deep inside. Mozart gets the message. He saunters off but gives Sophie a look that says ' You can't blame a boy for trying'.
I have to admire Mozarts determination. He is clearly the sort of boy that sees the beauty within. It certainly can't be Sophie's post walk 'look' that's attracted him.
Late bloomers :https://commonreader.substack.com/p/the-case-for-opsimaths-maybe-late
A philosophical thought :https://gizmodo.com/how-do-animals-perceive-time-1846206287
Something for a Wednesday morning :https://youtu.be/_HX_jF1_Tgc?t=669