Monday, February 28, 2022


Venus and a sliver of a new moon glowing brightly on the horizon as we head out for Sophie's start of day comfort break. They seem huge in the sky but the i-Phone can barely capture them. As an economy measure the new mayor has reduced the street lights to half an hour after seven in the morning and a couple of hours at night. This is fine by me. Pre six am the skies are completely unpolluted by light.

Today we're off to the greengrocers. Now Covid rates are falling it's back into the old routines. Ahead of me at the check out a couple ( without masks ) get into a shouting match with the check out woman about the price of spaghetti. ' It says it's 2 for 1 ' screams the woman. 'It says it's 2 for 1' says her male companion almost in unison. They are told they've read the wrong sign. The couple swear profusely, throw the spaghetti on the floor and storm out. I try to maintain a safe distance but fear their 'miasma' lingers in the air.

'The Font' goes into the modern bakery. Angus and Sophie have a tour of the shopping centre car park. Sophie finds a mallard asleep in the hedge. She pursues it at high speed, howling as she goes. For a lady of a certain age sporting two titanium knees she can accelerate and maintain a surprising turn of speed. Angus follows her. At the far end of the car park the mallard decides to retrace its flight path . We follow. Sophie is put on her lead. 

'The Font' observes how healthy Sophie is. Nothing is said about my brisk cardiovascular workout. This morning Sophie shares her croissant while being firmly attached to her lead. A third sprint along the full length of the car park is not on the cards


Best job title in the world courtesy of the US government ? :

This was played on the radio this morning. I'd not heard it before and certainly hadn't seen the words. Public sentiment has changed quickly and profoundly in the space of a week :

Sunday, February 27, 2022



Good morning from Sophie. And what a morning it is. Blue skies and sunny. There's even ( despite the early hour ) a hint of warmth.

The family diva has found something gloriously malodorous under an olive tree. She reluctantly, very reluctantly, leaves it and clambers up into the back of the car. A mental note is made of its location so that it can be found again on her return.

Off down a largely empty motorway to the really good bakers.

The first time we've been there in three pandemic filled months. I'd forgotten how good their croissants are. Although it looks a little battered the taste and the freshness warrant a 9.8/10. Sophie gives it a 15/10. She loses control of her tail which morphs into hyper-wag mode.

The bakers makes three batches of bread every morning. They've taken to selling loaves from the last, slightly stale, batch at a 25% discount. They have only started to do this. I wonder why ?

A very trendy and very minimalist new house in Greece. Where would you keep your keys ? You would need to be exceedingly tidy to live here  :

Pet ownership is good for you :

Saturday, February 26, 2022


A bit cloudy when we set off. By the time we're down by the river it's brightening up. The rowing club are out and about at the crack of dawn for a second day. There must be a championship in the offing. Sophie makes a bee line for the rowers shoes which have been piled up by the riverside. She is 'encouraged' away .

In a sign of the times three Rafale fighters from the airbase near Bordeaux hurtle , noisily and low, through the morning skies. The rowers aren't the only ones busy practising.

A little later we come across a large mechanical digger . It's excavating the 16th century canal that has become overgrown. Having made sure Angus is close behind Sophie assumes an air of quiet indifference to this mechanical monster. It is ignored ..... although we pass it at a super fast pace.

So starts a quiet Saturday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde. It's been one of those weeks when peace and routine have been worth their weight in gold.

This was taken and posted this morning. Remarkable bravery  :

Friday, February 25, 2022


The donkeys have escaped from the barn and come into the garden. During the night they've trampled the daffodils. Sophie is not entirely sure that having donkeys in the garden is a good thing. The PONettes face tells you when she is uncertain.

On our morning perambulation she finds that the rest of the village is donkey free. This is a HUGE relief.

Much excitement down by the river.

The rowing club are setting off for an early morning practice session . Boats are carried down to the water. People mill around chatting and laughing. Sophie is rivetted to the spot observing this activity.

The rowers leave their foot wear in piles on the slipway. What an olfactory treasure trove. Sophie sniffs each shoe. Some are sniffed more enthusiastically than others. When she tries to make off with a sneaker she is firmly told to return it. She  makes it clear that she considers me to be a killjoy.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

And so it begins.


Another four thirty start to the day. For the people of Kiev the long expected has begun.

We leave the house to find that winter has gone. Spring seems to have been forgotten. This morning it's straight into early summer. Blue skies and double figure temperatures as Sophie and Angus head off on their tour of the village. Something about lengthening days and warmer weather that puts a spring in your step.

We're not the only ones up and about early. The old mayor is taking down a Christmas wreath from the front of the town hall. Meanwhile no less than six municipal workmen are having a conversation with the new mayor about trimming the shrubs on the village green. Four of them cluster in his small office. Two have to stand outside.

En route to the river we stop the car and explore the pre-Carnival preparations in the little market town.

A large 'Palace of laughter' on wheels has taken up one entire side of the square in front of the church. Angus looks at some of the decorations. The painting of the man under the 'Amusement' sign is particularly alarming in a Hannibal Lector sort of way.

Back at The Rickety old Farmhouse Sophie waits patiently for some of 'The Fonts' porridge. This morning there is some honey with it. Beat that if you can ? There is much jaw chomping.

Porridge, honey and sunshine. Life for a PONette is wonderful. Doubly so if you can lie on the stoop, in the morning sunshine and watch the world go by.

Some Tchaikovsky. Music for a morning like this :

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Santas sleigh.

There's been a landslide  on the hill. A large circular patch of bare earth has appeared in the farmers field. This probably has something to do with the heavy rains that were here pretty much every day in January.

The municipal workmen have arrived to remove Santas sleigh. They also remove  the remains of the town hall Christmas tree and the straw stuffed  bib overalls that made up Santas body. Santas head went some time ago. The lights in the village hall window have been left to glimmer away, as have the Christmas wreaths and the yet to be illuminated Joyeuse Noel sign on the church porch.

Three workmen come over to say hello to Sophie. You know you're in France when municipal functionaries stop what they're doing to chat with a shaggy dog. Sophie is happy to make their acquaintance but is disappointed to find they are not bearers of Jaffa Cakes. She tires of their adulation and wanders off.

Home for some of The Fonts scrambled egg. Then it's time to sit by the front door, nose out- rump in, and have a restorative napette. We've been up since four thirty talking to serious folks in dark suits about 'events' so a PONette napette is overdue.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Briefly visible.

The 100 mph gales that have been whistling across the UK have made it over the Bay of Biscay. This morning it's not merely windy but blow your cap off stormy. Sophie's windward side is buffeted. The fur on her leeward side remains largely in place.

Sometimes the wind drops , the fur subsides and Sophie's eyes become briefly visible.


Monday, February 21, 2022


An Atlantic gale blowing this morning. It shows.

Down in the valley we meet the farmer driving along on his tractor . He's pulling a trailer with the young prize bull standing in it. The young bull is being taken to field at the crossroads with the herd of cows. 'He' got a busy week ahead of him ' says the farmer cheerfully as he passes by.

After a walk along the old Roman road we head off to the drive thru bakery for a croissant and a coffee. The young lady who insists on speaking heavily accented English sets aside two small mignardise for Sophie. We sit in the deserted play area by the DIY outlet, share our croissant and put the world to rights. This morning putting the world to rights takes rather longer than usual. Sophie discovers a tunnel that runs through the concrete mound in the centre of the play area. How exciting is that ? She tries it again. My furry companion thinks we should return to the drive thru bakers for more mignardise but is 'encouraged' back to the car and driven home.

En route Sophie gets a comfort break at the motorway rest stop . The picnic area, which has a less than sylvan view of the lorry park, is home to this unusual concrete chair.  It looks stylish but, after trying it out, I can report the concrete is cold and hard and the circulation altering  angle of the back and foot rests have been modelled on those in an Apollo moon capsule. Having a concrete chair like this in a motorway service area is a very French thing.

Today we've driven off in the big Volvo. I'm beginning to wonder why we have two cars. For some reason the little dog car seems to get 90% of the use. The space for Sophie in the back of the big car is capacious.

Time to change the kitchen sponge :

The first time we've seen a 3% wellness surcharge on a menu :

A place to stay for Jane Austen fans :

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Seven litres.

The number of Covid cases continuing to fall. Down to 34,000 a day in the UK which sounds reassuring. Here in France the daily tally has come back from 500,000 to 49,000. Sophie has zero interest in such things. All she knows is that she has two humans 24/7 in the house which is the way it should be.

We're up and on the phone at 5:00 am. Amidst wars and pestilence the calmness of life in a small French village has its attractions. Sophie wanders into the office and falls asleep on my feet . Wirth advancing years Sophie has taken to snoring. None of the serious folks in dark suits has ever asked what the background noise is to our morning chats. Perhaps that's just as well. 

After the wet winter the village water tower (all French villages have them ) is coated  with moss on the  rain bearing side and pristine on the other.

The Old Mayor is up and about weeding the gravel round the war memorial. His arthritis and Madame Mayors painful hip operations ( she's had five ! ) combine to get him out of the house early. He chats to Sophie who instinctively knows the old mayor is a dog person. How is it some folk pass muster while others don't ? I've ordered some Dahlias and some Peonies from Peter Nyssen for the border in front of the church. Last year we ordered some giant white alliums but they've not taken. 

He tells me that the Anger Management Mans grandfather used to drink seven litres of wine every day. 'Surely you mean seven glasses ?' I respond. "No! Seven litres. And he lived to eighty nine ". The two of us stand and roar with laughter. Sophie wanders over to inspect the tyres of the silver VW Golf that has lost the last of its hubcaps.

 So starts a sunny Sunday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Healthy distance

A hearty good morning from the inhabitants of our small village. Goats, geese, donkeys and horses have all been greeted. In the case of the horses my canine companion has glared at them from a safe distance. 

One of the first things the new mayor did was consolidate the villages three, small, bin sites into one large communal bin site. At the time this appeared to be a sensible solution. The refuse truck would only have to make one stop rather than scoot from one end of the lane to the other with a dog leg to the old widows cottage by the crossroads. The problem is that the new communal bin site is on the road that leads from the regions two small market towns . Fly tippers have discovered the site and despite installing an ever increasing number of bins ( far in excess of the number 67 folks could ever use ) the place is becoming more and more unsightly. 

The feral C-A-Ts have taken to gathering there. Suggestions have been called for and an 'emergency' citizens gathering has been scheduled for March 24th.

A brave woman and a real American heroine. Is she known in the US ? Amongst the dross Twitter has some wonderful insights :

Friday, February 18, 2022

Half hearted.

A somewhat tentative start to Friday morning. Sophie emerges and sniffs the air to determine whether there are any C-A-Ts about . She looks at me in a way that makes it clear a girl can never be too careful. The Old Farmer wanders out onto his balcony to inform us that he's up early because he can't sleep. The damp weather is making his hip replacement ache. Could we get him some milk and the local paper when we go to the bakers ?

The number of daily Covid cases in France has fallen below 100,000 for the first time in ages. If it carries on falling at this rate the last of the travel restrictions should be gone and a trip to London to see the dentist will be on the cards.

Up over the hill and then down to the river. There's some half hearted drizzle that's constant but can't quite decide whether it wants to be mist or rain. 

A white buoy has been swept down the river and has grounded on the sandbank by the pontoon. It bobs away merrily. The buoy is glared at intently to make sure it's not a threat. For some reason things on the water seem to pique Sophie's interest so the glaring takes a good three minutes.

Back home and into the car for a trip to the bakers for a shared croissant. I tell Sophie she has a look that's memorable. She seems to take this as a compliment. Milk and the mornings La Depeche are dropped off at The Old Farmers. It's supposed to clear up and be sunny later today. That should sort out our neighbours discomfort.

Apart from the woman at the 24 hour store and the girl behind the counter at the bakers we don't see another soul. February in deepest, deepest France profonde is quiet. 'The Font' is greatly taken with Wordle. This morning takes five goes, yesterdays word a mere three.

Thursday, February 17, 2022


Half term. No school bus this morning. No village children standing by the war memorial to greet the family diva. Our early morning tour of the village undertaken without  sight nor sound of another soul. The tikes are presumably sound asleep. We live in the Marie Celeste of villages.

An early rising moorhen is surprised by Sophie's appearance by the village pond. It squawks with alarm and heads off into the reed beds at high speed with wings flapping. Moorhens can move at quite some speed when they want to. They also waggle their tail feathers when alarmed. Sophie would give chase but experience when a puppy has taught her that the village pond is wet and Sophie tries to steer clear of anything 'wet'. 

Down by the river dog and master watch the sun rise. And what a glorious sunrise it is. Geese  and a solitary swan are glared at.

Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse Sophie is towelled dry and heads into the kitchen to determine what 'The Font' plans to cook for lunch.

Life is wonderful.