Thursday, July 29, 2021


Most mornings we turn right out of the gate on our first walk of the day. This morning we are forced into going in the other direction by a large combine harvester that is blocking the lane and spewing out chaff. The wheat field on the other side of the lane is about to be harvested. A number of farmers stand around watching. They are too engrossed in what's going on  to notice us.

Dog and master do a full circuit of the village walls. The moorhens are all well as are the goats, geese, cows, horses and donkeys. Today,  the Anger Management Mans chickens  have escaped from his garden and have to be shooed back in. Sophie treats her duties as village guardian with studied seriousness.

The Manhattanites manage to reach me as I'm sitting with Sophie on the storm drain. We talk about masks, the new Chinese ambassador in Washington and the never ending saga of the infrastructure bill. While I talk Sophie maintains a watchful eye out for dragonflies.

Soon it's time for us to head home. Outside The Old Farmers house a white van. It seems our  neighbour has invested in a new television. The electrical store in the small market town has shown up at seven thirty to install it. ' I thought we'd come while it was still cool' says the driver who has been ringing the door bell to no avail. Our old neighbour has segued into 'unusual' sleeping patterns. He has dinner, then dozes until the small hours , then falls into a deep sleep. This morning I bang on his shutters to wake him. He finally emerges onto his balcony in a thick red plush dressing gown. A little later I see the old television being carried out. It is a venerable thing in a faux wood Formica case.  The replacement is a thin widescreen. I quietly wish the installers the best of luck with teaching him how to use the controls. I shall expect a call later in the day asking how to turn it on so he can watch the Olympics.

Morning routines in a quiet village made all the more quiet by a pandemic and the onset of the holiday season.


  1. One day the manufacturers of TVs etc. will twig that there's a market for goods to suit the cohort of elderly but technology-baffled customers, many of whom have plenty of money to spare. Let's hope Angus is up to working the Old Farmer's new telly!

  2. If you are called, and there is more than one remote involved, I suggest you take some masking tape and write "1" and "2" on the remotes, and perhaps also write what each one os for... how do I know ... I've had to do that in this house, as there are 4 remotes, and they all have to be correct... one has "Channel control" in large letters, and the other "HDMD1=DVD, 2=TV" a third says "DVD Open/close+start" ... I did this after the just turned 2 grandson said to me, pointing imperiously "Try the other remote Grandma" ... and he was correct! SO, so embarrassing !

  3. Sophie looks to be in fine fettle today.
    Before reading Virginia's comment, I was going to suggest that The Old Farmer needed a nine year old to show him how to operate his new TV, but I see that a two year old would also be equally helpful! What's the betting that this new TV comes with the added complication of remote control from a smart phone!
    I have no idea what half the functions are for on my remote, but as I didn't need them before, I'm not too concerned. These days I am just happy that I can change the channels!

  4. Hari OM
    ...and once again one discovers that a distant Scot is part of the fabric in a village in France prefonde... YAM xx

  5. Venerable seems to the be style for everything in The Old Farmer's life. Our 90 year old neighbour used to ring my partner on a regular basis for assistance with TV viewing when they switched off terrestrial TV there. I really felt for him (the neighbour). I like Virginia's advice and might take it myself, my partner's collection of remote controls is beyond my comprehension and when he's not here I try to avoid wanting to collapse in front of TV because I know it it not going to end in 'entertainment'.

  6. After a week or so, if the Old Farmer still has trouble using multiple remotes, buy and give him the most simple single programable one I found which has only six buttons (Google "Easymote and remote" - Amazon sell them for under US$20). I got one for my 80 year old mother, and tied it on a cord beside her chair so it didn't go MIA. It stopped multiple calls day and night from my mother asking me what button to push or to drive 22km to change channels as her TV was broken, or her neighbors were changing her tv channels, etc. Best gift ever when she was unable to learn new technology!