Thursday, March 31, 2022

All is well with the world.....again.


Someone is remarkably pleased with herself. 

A highly honed herding skillset has located the missing part of the flock. A cursory examination of the airport and voila ! the miscreant was found...almost immediately.... in the arrivals hall.

On the way home we make a celebratory detour to the airport McDonalds. There is a chance for Sophie to have a comfort break in the car park and share parts of a whole wheat muffin. This has the added advantage that the rush hour tail back of traffic from the motorway has eased by the time we set off again.

All is well with the world.

There is a blog for everything :

$40m. You'd think someone might have noticed :

Wednesday, March 30, 2022


Some curly croissant ends and a tour of the bakers car park to keep Sophie busy. These diversions can't hide the fact that the family diva is still missing one of her flock.

Lots and lots of walks provide some distraction from her unhappiness. There will be a trip to the airport this evening to find her errant charge. By seven pm the universe will once again be in balance. It can't come a moment too soon.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022


All is not well with the world. The first hour of Tuesday morning is spent looking in the garden for the wayward member of the flock. The search will continue after breakfast.


Monday, March 28, 2022


Out at the cafe for a shared croissant with Sophie. Then it's home to pack. Angus is suffering from pandemic lethargy.  The thought of having to go to London to talk to two sets of 'serious' folks is something that seems exceedingly dreary.  Mask wearing, immigration lines, flight delays , security inspections all combine to make staying at home infinitely more appealing. British Airways briefly went to four flights a day to London but is now back to one. Angus can't be the only one who finds pandemic era air travel to be a pain.

Ties. Should I wear a tie for the after dinner chats with the Los Angeles and New York folk ?  It's been more than two years since I last wore a tie. There must be a hundred, possibly more than that, ties hanging in my wardrobe. It seems a shame to throw them all out but my need for them has evaporated. 

I opt to wear a suit but shall go tieless. My preference would be to dress as I do here at The Rickety Old Farmhouse but this idea is vetoed.  'The Font' is not sure that the shaggy tramp look would be understood by the 'serious'  American financial community.

On the staircase we have a picture picked up in Moscow many years ago. It was painted in 1944. 'After the battle. Women tank crew of the 4th Guards Army bathing in the sea near Odesa'. One of their tanks can be seen behind a shattered pillar.  Plus ca change ....

Sophie suddenly becomes aware that Angus is putting on his black lace up shoes. She remembers that these are 'going away shoes. She turns into Miss Glum.

Music, place and time combine to make this beautiful beyond words :

Seriously off grid in Scotland :

And last night we dined ,virtually, in LA :

Sunday, March 27, 2022

The clocks change.

Is there anywhere in Europe ( barring the far North )  as quiet as rural southern France on a Sunday morning ? We're out for an hour and see neither people nor cars. The fact the clocks changed last night and folks are coming to terms with getting up an hour early might have something to do with this mornings preternatural silence.

More of the weird and wonderful daffodils are sprouting in the garden. I've noticed here that things hibernate for two or three years, you think they're dead, and then they unexpectedly re-appear better than ever. These daffodils seem to have been sleeping for at least twelve years. The heavy start of year rain seems to have brought them back to life again.

Sunday ephemera :

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Spring has sprung.

Bonjour ! Spring is here. It's a warm and sunny morning.

Our morning tour of the village takes us past the 16th century pottery kiln and what remains of the village ramparts and the pond. Anger Management Man is getting into his car on his way to work. He looks grumpy. We nod and pass in silence. His relationship with the German billionaires builder seems headed for the courts .... again.  Sophie watches a moorhen head off into the shrubs at high speed. For some reason the PONette has a fascination with all things that live on the water. 
We are out of saffron. It is difficult to get in France. 'The Font' finds this supplier :

Friday, March 25, 2022

The poltergeist.

Angus wanders into the drawing room to open the shutters. The strangest thing has happened. Overnight one of the sofa cushions seems to have been flattened. Closer examination would indicate that something has used the sofa as a bed. Whatever it was must have been about two feet long and heavy enough to flatten the cushion feathers. 

We have never allowed any of the PONs on the furniture. It hardly seems conceivable that  at the age of nine the family diva would suddenly start to break all the canine boundaries. Certainly none of the male PONs would have considered such a thing. Must be a poltergeist.

The 'poltergeist' is loaded into the back of the car. This morning, by seven am,  she has greeted the council refuse workers, had the curly ends from my croissant and  enjoyed a lengthy walk through the onion fields. To top it off she has fished ( ineptly) for minnows in the stream and had a chin drenching drink from the small waterfall. Add to that the vicarious pleasure of sleeping on a forbidden sofa and it can safely be assumed that life for her is grand.

Rhodes Scholarships get 12,000 applications each of whom must supply no less than eight letters of recommendation. 99.3% of applicants are rejected. This seems like a huge waste of time . There must be better ways of doing things :

Thursday, March 24, 2022



Spring is here. 13 degrees this morning. 20 degrees forecast for this afternoon. Winter is finally gone and with it the banshee winds. Surprised by the warmth I head indoors to take off my jacket. 

Sophie is loaded into the back of the dog car. Black and white C-A-T choses this moment to head out of the barn and walk slowly towards the apple orchard. Sophie is, thankfully, oblivious to its appearance.

We walk along the berms by the suspension bridge. On the other side of the river the 6:30 am goods train sounds its horn which causes the egrets to take flight and makes Sophie look up.

Down by the water we spend more time than you would think possible studying a log. The log is given a good long glare. It is finally deemed to be 'non-threatening'.

We ignore the yacht that broke free from its moorings in the winter gales and has now been retrieved by its owner from a sandbank down river. It looks worse for wear. Much worse for wear. Sophie finds a dead cormorant on the side of the river. Angus retrieves it from between her jaws. It is thrown far out into the water. Sophie makes it clear that she considers Angus to be a spoil sport. Why shouldn't a girl start her day by savouring a large dead bird ? 

Croissant heaven. A 9.3/10 this morning. For Sophie the curly croissant ends compensate, somewhat, for the disappointment with the putrefying bird.

'The Font' observes that this year we have some truly unusual daffodils.  Have they cross pollinated or has this years heavy rains reinvigorated some long ago planted bulbs ?

Last night we dined, virtually, in Harry's Bar in Venice. We think its must be at least  thirty five years since we were last there :

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Look carefully.

PONs have important tasks to accomplish and are not noted for sleeping in. There's no chance of sleeping in this morning as two Rafales from the big air base near Bordeaux hurtle a couple of hundred feet over the house with their after burners on. They do this at five forty five.  This must have impressed the villagers.

This morning Sophie checks the village pond for signs of intruders. All is well. Down by the waterfall she sniffs the mud that's been churned up by overnight visitors. Boar, deer, civet, badger and fox scents all dutifully noted. Look carefully on the other side of the stream and you might see a purple patch of wild crocuses coming into bloom. Tomorrow I might wade across and take a photo.

Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse Sophie chases black and white C-A-T through the hyacinth beds. To be more precise Sophie ploughs through the hyacinth beds. C-A-T, sensibly, has headed off at right angles through the laurel hedge and out of the garden. The absence of C-A-T does nothing to calm Sophie's enthusiastic and decidedly non-stealthy hunting technique. 

There's a large magpie nest in the higher branches of the plane tree near the swimming pool. One of the garden robins has been found by them and is lying on the ground beneath the tree. Poor thing. Maybe next year I'll think about 'diverting' the magpies to another location.

After a morning of hyper activity like that Sophie settles down by the front door to 'rediscover' her inner karma. Soon we'll head off for curly croissant ends. Angus has agreed to speak in London to two groups of serious people next week. One group from LA , the others from Manhattan. Having agreed to do this he now regrets it.

Last night we dined, virtually, in Utah. We once changed planes there but apart from that our knowledge of the state is minimal. Angus was rather worried that alcohol might not be available. 'The Font' informs me that Utah is the Beehive State although where this unusual and singular piece of information came from is long forgotten. This is the menu we found under 'Utah fine dining' on Google. Not every day you see elk and bison featured. The menu helpfully has photographs and calls deserts 'sweets' . Is this a regional thing ? :

We have been to the village but never to the play :

Tuesday, March 22, 2022


We say hello to both the man with Anger Management issues and the old mayor on our start of day tour of the village. Each  of them comments on how windy it is . After three days of non-stop gales everything has been covered with a fine layer of sand blown up from the Sahara. The local car wash is having a bumper season.

The swans are bobbing around on the river. The winds have brought them closer to shore. Sophie can't get her head around these large white things that seem oblivious to her presence. We stand and stare for a full five minutes. Sophie is transfixed by them. Completely transfixed.

Croissant normalcy has been restored. 8.7/10 today.

As we leave the municipal refuse workers arrive. They shout out a hearty 'Bonjour Sophie' as they get out of their vehicles. Swans, curly croissant ends and adoring fans. The life of a PONette in deepest, deepest France profonde is rich beyond measure.


A must for the garden :

Last night we dined, virtually, in Baltimore :

Monday, March 21, 2022


Sophie greets the farmers dogs. They are very pleased to see her.  They would spend more time with her but she wanders off to smell the tractor tyres. A girl has her priorities.

Then it's off to the market town and the trendy modern bakers. The young woman behind the counter greets me with Eliza Doolittle English. ' Moanin yewir Lordsheep. Wot can I gets yewz toodays ?' This is mildly grating. I smile. Today we get given two croissants. They're straight out of the oven and are apparently imperfect. They taste better than usual. Why they are considered imperfect is beyond me but I'm not going to complain. Nor is Sophie who thinks we should get two croissants every morning. Her tail goes into hyper-wag mode. The croissants get  8.5/10.

We detour to the greengrocers. The first fresh peas of the season. They're puny things. More pod than pea. Maybe next week ?

We do however rejoice in the arrival of the first of the years local grown strawberries.

 Angus is an early bird. 'The Font' less so.

Do dog bloggers fall in this category ? The guy who writes 8 book reviews a day probably :

Sunday, March 20, 2022


The year started off unusually wet. Now it's unusually windy. 

Sophie joins me in a sunrise tour of the garden. I look to see if any tree branches have come down in the night. She keeps a look out for C-A-T-S.

The daffodils now out en masse. Sophie is oblivious to daffodils. 

The small garden snails seem to be attracted to one double headed  variety . A cursory, and non-scientific, check would indicate that it's only the double headed ones that attract them. All the other varieties are snail free.

It's getting warmer now. The temperature in double digits as we head off across country. Over the last couple of weeks it noticeably brighter in the mornings and lighter at night. The non-human world bursting with joy. We have been up super early talking to serious Bostonians and Manhattanites about Ukraine so walking a dog across country in the sunrise is a balm.

Sophie would not be good at this. Any patient coming in with a snack would distract her :

The beans for this chocolate come from small farms in southern India  :

Saturday, March 19, 2022


Saturday morning. Our walk by the river sees Sophie stopping in her tracks as two swans paddle by. They go to join three swans further downstream. Sophie stands mesmerized. Completely mesmerized. This is a five swan morning.

A young black labrador rushes over to interrupt her reveries. He is told in no uncertain terms where to go. The young labrador seems surprised by the vehemence of her response..... as am I. Clearly nothing must interrupt swan watching.

At the bakers the normal staff have returned from their skiing holiday. We stand at an outside table, enjoy the view of the car park and share a croissant . I am glad to say these are returning to pre-holiday standards of excellence.

This mornings example is given an 8.2/10.

After a shared croissant and walk by the river the PONettes fur has developed a damp but not sodden 'lived in' look. 

This thing was huge. The video was probably designed for 8 year old kids but I enjoyed it :