Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Sophie starts her day by studying a molehill. Any moles are long gone but this doesn't deter her. What better way for a girl to start her day than to sit and stare at a pile of freshly excavated earth ? After five minutes of nothing happening her patience wears thin. 

This morning we head down the ox track then up over the hill to the Holy Well. From time to time Sophie stops so her companion can catch up. She does her best to hide her exasperation .

After a lengthy circuit of the village we return home. The German billionaire is in residence in the chateau. A rather stylish ( and meticulously restored ) 1960's era Mercedes drophead a sure sign he's at home.

Carrots are back on the greengrocers shelves. Unfortunately, they're fancy ones with the stalks and soil attached. Back in the car I break an end off for my shaggy companion. It's clear from the enthusiasm with which it is wolfed down that this gourmand PONette likes a little grit with her carrots.

Closer examination of her beard shows evidence of curly croissant ends.


Monday, August 30, 2021


Monday starts 'vocally' with the discovery of an intruder in a flower border. When it comes to C-A-T-S Sophie is not an adherent of the 'live and let live' school of philosophy.

The Monday morning tour of the village is accomplished at speed and with a sense of purpose bordering on the theatrical.

This sense of purpose is still evident during our start of the morning visit to the bakers for curly croissant ends.... and in the exploration of the shopping centre car park afterwards. Two ducks are chased .... ineptly.

The greengrocer hasn't restocked after the weekend. We've moved Sophie onto carrot slivers as her 'in between meal' rewards. This morning, horror of horrors, there are no carrots to be found. The greengrocer promises to have them back on the shelves tomorrow. I ask him if their absence is something to do with the lack of delivery drivers - a problem that is causing supermarket shelves in the UK to go empty. Nothing that exciting. He simply hasn't got round to ordering them. The two remaining carrots in the fridge are going to have be carefully doled out.


Sunday, August 29, 2021


Sunday morning in deepest France profonde. A time for the villagers to sleep in. Sophie doesn't recognize the term 'sleeping in' so we have the village, the lane and the ox track to ourselves. On the news this morning a story that France and Britain are proposing a safe zone in Kabul for those Afghans who worked for them over the last twenty years but couldn't get out. This could be an improvement over the 'We can't evacuate you but we'll put your name on a list' strategy that's been in place until now.

Goats, donkeys, geese all greeted. A charge through the rapidly wilting sunflowers and then it's off to the bakers patio for a coffee and a croissant. Sophie waits with some semblance of patience while I order. While waiting for the waitress Sophie whiles away the time by emitting a variety of back of the throat yodeling noises. Thankfully, there is only one other customer and she seems oblivious to the sounds emanating from my shaggy companion.

Todays croissant a 7.8/10.


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Like a racing car.

Dog and owner segue into their morning routines. The family diva checks the garden for signs of visiting C-A-T-S. Her companion checks the chemical levels in the pool and grapples with the 'temperamental' clock on the irrigation system. The 'temperamental' irrigation system clock is supposed to operate on a 24 hour clock but  Guangzhou Irrigation System Clock Factory #7 seems to have manufactured it to operate on a 27 hour cycle. This is one of lifes small irritants.

We do a tour of the village .Not a soul to be seen. The villagers are drifting back but so far there is neither sight nor sound of the 'tykes' who remain with their grandparents in Ste.Etienne.

The Old Farmer seems to have embarked on a daily routine of keeping himself resolutely busy. Yesterday was wash and polish the Mercedes day. Today is a day for working on the venerable Ford Transit motor home. This, he informs me, is built on a chassis designed in Cologne. 'The handling is like a racing car'. This seems improbable but Angus keeps this thought to himself. The Old Farmer has lost a hub cap on a rear wheel. This morning he is heading off in search of a replacement. 

'The Font' returns. The flight completely full. It's a UK Bank Holiday. Sophie has a vocal soft shoe shuffle moment then settles in the kitchen in readiness for normal culinary service to be resumed. Sophie exudes happiness in a way that only a sheepdog that has single handedly found an errant sheep can exude happiness.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Pride and joy.

High summer. The mornings start of cool but the heat soon builds. Sophie patiently checks the garden for C-A-T-S while her human companion makes sure the irrigation system is working. We chat to 'The Font' who has refused to pay £38.50 for continental breakfast in the hotel ( + 20% VAT) and has opted to go to a Pret a Manger where coffee and porridge came to £6. 'The Font' thinks the hotel pricing is outrageous. Angus thinks ' Welcome to London'. 

The Old Farmer is out and about at first light. He cut his lawn twice yesterday and twice the day before. It's now reduced to buzz cut length - which may explain why it's rapidly turning brown in the sun. This morning he's resplendent in a white tee shirt, opened toed sandals and blue track suit trousers held up by a pair of clip on braces. He shouts across the road ' Would you like to see the engine in the Mercedes ? ' We spend a full ten minutes having the workings of this three and a half litre marvel explained to us. Angus makes , what he hopes, are suitably impressed noises. Sophie settles down for a doze. The venerable Mercedes is my neighbours pride and joy. We agree that they ' don't make them like this anymore'.

Having been regaled with a description of the technical workings of a thirty year old Mercedes engine, Sophie is ready for a lengthy drink from the zinc bath by the village pond.

So starts a new day in a small village in deepest, deepest France profonde.

 The French love dogs :

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The cascading impact of great events.

The weather warm, dry and bright.  Sophie's coat starts the day looking almost presentable.

The cafe full of folk enjoying the blue skies. We manage to get a table by the entrance. Sophie is quite oblivious to the people at the other tables. She is concentrating on curly croissant ends.

Afterwards half an hour spent wandering down through the sunflower fields to the stream ... and back.

'The Font' heads off to London. Toulouse airport quiet now that the peak holiday season is past. Parking near departures easy. Presumably this is because the Airbus factory is still on vacation. Security and emigration a doddle. For some reason the BA flight is forty minutes late coming in but the ground staff get it turned around quickly and it's only twenty minutes late at take off. The airline is now operating two flights a day to London. This is up from one but not quite the four a day they used to fly.

Heathrow a zoo. The queue to get into the UK stretching way back into the terminal. Seems a large percentage of the frontier force have been taken and redeployed to deal with the stream of people on Afghan repatriation flights coming into Terminal 4. The government is  hurriedly getting as many flights out of Afghanistan as they can as they're expecting Kabul airport to be closed later today. This leaves regular processing 'short staffed'. A man in a day-glo orange vest  wanders down the line saying that there's a forty five minute wait to have vaccination certificates checked . Thankfully, someone sensible orders  all the passport e-reader stations to be opened. This gets things moving and the wait turns out to be just fifteen minutes, which isn't too bad. When people hear the reason for the hold up the grumbling (largely) ceases. Even distant lives are shaped by the cascading impact of great events . 

Angus and Sophie head off to buy some ice cream. In the store they notice Swedish meatballs. Angus and Sophie will try these at lunchtime.


Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Up early to water the rose borders and watch the sunrise.

By the time we've walked to the storm drain, chatted to men in dark suits, greeted the donkeys and retraced our steps it's light. The old mayor drives by. He informs me that the field below the storm drain was where 'le bon vin' for the chateau was grown in the middle ages. The aspect is perfect. Wine growing came to an end in 1956 when the temperatures fell to -26 and snow, a metre thick,  lay on the ground for a month.

No less than nine moorhens can be seen on the pond this morning. There is much rustling in the poolside foliage which hints there may be more.  They seem to be practising water take offs. Angus manages to catch some of them before they disappear into the safety of the water lily leaves. There is something reassuring in the knowledge that these long suffering village inhabitants are not only surviving but thriving. Earlier in the week I heard this minute long 'Moorhen' insight  https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b03mzv60 on the BBC. Priceless.

The British Test and Trace system 'pings' me with the news that someone on the flight back has contracted Covid.  A quick trip to the pharmacy is arranged. The pharmacist sees me straight away. Another 'ticklish' moment with a pipe cleaner inserted in my right nostril. Five minutes later the results appear on the phone. 'The Font' also has a test ahead of the trip to London. Thankfully, both negative. 

They play this on the radio this morning. I'd forgotten how 'classical' the arrangement was :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdA6oG3JVc8

This menu seems like fun :https://www.rosesluxury.com/menus/#menu

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


Through the fields and down into the valley. Sophie runs ahead. The accumulated mud from the fields may not do much for a girls coat or paws but why let a little dirt stand in the way of fun ? 

The flags on the war memorial are still up. I notice the Old Mayor has replanted the corrugated concrete  troughs on the memorial steps with fresh flowers. Could this be a gentle hint to the new mayor  ?

Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse Sophie takes up her guarding position by the front door. Any C-A-T-S that wander by are in for a shock.

There again the gentle snoring sounds emanating from the family diva may indicate that any passing C-A-T-S will be quite safe.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Drifting back

Monday morning. It's suddenly much darker now. Autumn stirring. Angus and Sophie sit on the storm drain and put the world to rights. Sophie nestles in close for an ear chook. The population of the village is starting to return. The Anger Management Mans car parked outside the church and the German Billionaires Builders shiny 4x4 tucked safely away in his drive . 

The Manhattanites are up late. They are worried that events in Kabul will spur the worlds 'mischief makers' onto testing out this administration in one of a hundred places. They may well be right.

The sunflower fields now past their best. A week or two of sunshine to dry them out and the combines will be back for the final harvesting of the year.

On our way home we find the horse farm is having an early visitor . Sophie doesn't seem to be alarmed by the arrival of the horse. She trots past without breaking her stride. Go figure !

Pineapples in short supply in the greengrocers. They only have the Togolese 'Bread Fruit' variety which have a taste that is too sophisticated for this sugar loving palate.

The family diva gets a lengthy walk  around the car park. How sophisticated is that ?


Sunday, August 22, 2021

End of week wrap.

Good morning from Sophie who has segued back into her early starts. 

Today we head along the ox track to the Holy Well which sits under the shade of the Holy Oak. Sophie has a lengthy drink from the Holy Well but there is no discernible sign of a diminution in her mischief making abilities.

At a gallery in London a drawing of an allium by Dali. Not a style you'd usually associate with the artist.

A coffee with one of the AI people to talk about robotic learning. My croissant looks the part but comes from the staid and stodgy British side of the viennoiserie family.

'The Font' heads back to London next week to see the dentist. Angus has to return a week after that. He has cracked a tooth while biting down hard on a cherry stone and the crack has run into the root. The best prognosis is that root canal treatment can save the tooth . The more likely result - it will need to be extracted. Having a tooth taken out was not something Angus imagined he would have to suffer at his age. The dentist , who seems to be remarkably relaxed about this prognostication, is wearing what appears to be a Star Trek style uniform .

At the time of finishing off this mornings blog it's clear that Sophie's Holy water experience has boosted her happiness quotient. The PON smile is quite something.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

A natural herder.

Angus returns. There is an 'emotional' reunion. Sophie is delighted to have found the errant member of her flock. Proof positive she is a natural herder ( in her mind at least).

This morning the family diva and her master are down in the valley by seven. What should have been the perfect morning is slightly marred by the presence of a group of young and playful calves. The calves stare at Sophie and in return Sophie stares at the calves. We hurry back home with Angus carefully placed between the family diva and the young cows. A girl can never be too prudent when it comes to bovine neighbours.

There's time for a quick grooming before we head off to the bakers for a celebratory croissant. We are entering the dried seed head stage of the year. Dried seed heads and Sophie's fur attract each other like iron filings to a magnet.

I forgot to mention that on our start of the day tour of the village we stumbled across a group of village C-A-T-S asleep on the track by the village pond. I expect my companion to bark but she's so overcome by their audacity that she remains silent. This is a first.