Things I never knew :https://www.livescience.com/mice-fear-bananas
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.
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Things I never knew :https://www.livescience.com/mice-fear-bananas
Monday, May 30, 2022
Good morning from Sophie who by five thirty has chased the black and white C-A-T from the woodpile and glared at the village goats, geese and horses. After that whirl of excitement she sits and watches as Angus tops up the water in the pool. We read in this mornings FT that the ' US has the highest number of civilian fire arms per capita ahead of Yemen'.
At the shopping centre the small wooden hut that sells gaufres is open. It has been acquired by two enthusiastic young men who have extended its opening hours. The previous owners opened at noon. The new proprietors open at six. They seem to believe there will be a start of day market for office workers stopping off for a sugar infusion. I wish them well but, looking at a largely deserted car park, have a sneaking suspicion this is a business plan that hasn't been thought through. Enthusiasm may have trounced rationality.
Dog and owner move on to the modern cafe where Sophie settles under the table and glares at the audacious sparrows who hop expectantly around. She is torn between reminding them who's boss and staying still and enjoying the morning sunshine. The sunshine wins. The young lady behind the cafe counter ( she of the execrable but enthusiastic English and the cheerful Downton Abbey style greeting 'Gude mahnin yewir lord sip' ) slips a mendiant onto the tray for the family diva.
Cherries make an appearance in the greengrocers.
Monday morning reading :https://inference-review.com/article/the-riddle-of-the-mountain
And things I didn't know ... or need to know :https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/genyornis
A dog device that can throw treats :https://us.eufylife.com/products/t7200121?ref=navimenu_3_img
Sunday, May 29, 2022
Another five am start to our day. Dog and master saunter contentedly through the onion fields to the waterfall. Our arrival surprises a group of adolescent deer who aren't used to seeing humans - or dogs - up and about so early.
This morning choice comes down to a Black Forest Gateau or a Fraisier. We opt for a Fraisier. Sophie gets some surplus apple pie crust. How good is that ?
Sunday morning reading :https://theconversation.com/wild-animals-are-evolving-faster-than-anybody-thought-183633
Saturday, May 28, 2022
Friday, May 27, 2022
Late on Wednesday afternoon the workmen start digging up the road. They work for an hour. During this time they sever the villages power line and the fibre optic cable. They then leave.
Thursday is a bank holiday in France. The power and the phone companies aren't working. French holidays are religiously and rigourously observed. The utilities answer phone message tells us to ' call back later'.
We are without power - which 'The Font' thinks is romantic in a ' eighteenth century' type way. We dine outside by candlelight and cook on the barbecue. The allure of cold showers is short lived.
Earlier today we are reconnected to the electrical grid.
A few moments ago the internet and phone sprang back into life.
Sophie has risen at first light and gone to sleep when the sun sets.
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Lip smackingly wonderful.
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Sophie absorbs the news that she's not coming to the village funeral with an air of disbelief. She will be left alone for an hour to guard The Rickety Old Farmhouse.
The funeral is more of a black jeans than black tie affair. The two sons acknowledge each others presence with a nod but otherwise remain frostily silent. Each embarrassedly tries to pretend the other isn't there. One sits with his wife on the left hand side of the church, the other ( in a shiny blue track suit and open toed sandals ) sits on the right . Three ex-wives sit together with a smattering of what are presumably their children. The word 'unruly' springs to mind.
I ask The Old Mayor about the sons 'unusual' names. One was named after John Wayne and the other after Warren Beatty. In the France profonde of the early 1980's naming your children after foreign movie stars betokened an exciting openness to all things international and new.
Sophie enjoys having company. She hopes that the visitors will drop their canapes. None of them do. It is clear she considers this to be the height of bad manners.
Monday, May 23, 2022
Last night we dine , virtually, in California :https://themadronahotel.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Madrona-Dinner-Menu-April-21.pdf
Sunday, May 22, 2022
Louisiana weather this morning. Hot and clammy. The PONette is not a great fan of hot and clammy.
While we're in the cool of the kitchen the bell at the front gate sounds. It's the strawberry lady. The Gariguettes are finished for the year. Instead she delivers a kilo of some local variety that is sweet and soft. They are a poor substitute. The strawberry lady reckons she has another weeks worth of picking to go before the crop is finished for the year. How time flies !
Then it's into the car and off to the bakers. Sophie enjoys having the aircon turned up to Arctic levels.
We buy a Frasier. Sophie gets some discarded choux pastry from this mornings eclair production. Her tail wags in that that manic ' I've gone to heaven ' way it does when she's overwhelmed with joy. The family diva has to be told to leave the shop three times. Selective deafness is a PONette trait triggered, in this case, by the presence of viennoiserie.
This article reminds me that Sophie and her humans exist in the happy pretense she's fully trained ...... or at least ( let's not kid ourselves ) adequately trained. Sophie is of course 'selective' in how and when she applies her training :https://www.sciencefocus.com/nature/dog-training-myths-busted/
Saturday, May 21, 2022
The heat continues to build. Monsieur Bay is up and about in the pre-dawn cool. He informs me that the recently deceased villagers sons are called Wayne and Warren. This seems highly improbable but it was apparently chic in the 70's to give your children American soap opera names. Wayne is the son with four wives. Fireworks are to be expected at the funeral. Over the years Wayne has promised ownership of his fathers house to each of his spouses. Someone is going to be disappointed. I'm sensing the village is expecting a 'volcanic' funeral .
After opening the church Sophie sprints off to the war memorial. There is a C-A-T lurking in the shrubbery.
This new place is an hour down the road : https://www.troplong-mondot.com/en/
And one day we'll stay here. Every time we've gone the road has collapsed and we've had to back track to Pebble Beach :https://deetjens.com/. Then there's this place which comes recommended : https://www.theinnatnewportranch.com/
Friday, May 20, 2022
History we all recognize.
'Bonjour' from Sophie who alerts Angus to the fact that it's almost six and it's light outside. Why waste a moment of a perfect day ? There may be C-A-T-S to chase.
We head across the village green to open up the church. The bee tree isn't yet in full bloom but it's humming merrily away. The bee tree is one of the seven auditory wonders of the world. Moses had his burning bush. The village has its humming tree.
The Old Mayor has shrunk. He's smaller and thinner. I ask him if he's alright. It seems his wife, who he refers to as 'the love of my life' was taken into the Old Folks Home yesterday. She'd got a serious urinary tract infection after her fifth hip operation and was 'confused'. She didn't know who he was.
Over the last couple of days she'd fallen out of bed four times. His wife was too heavy for him to lift so he'd had to call the Sapeurs Pompiers. The young doctor in the health centre didn't come out to the house but arranged for her to go into the home and have 24 hour care. 'We've slept together every night for sixty eight years' he tells me in that peculiarly intimate way the French do. He quietly folds in on himself and weeps . I find myself standing in the lane with my arms around this old man wishing him ' bon courage'. He doesn't think she'll come home again.
This blogger sometimes complains that nothing ever happens in this little corner of paradise - but pages are always turning and chapters opening and closing. This is a hushed history we all recognize and share.
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Wherever and whenever
Sophie has been left alone with Angus while 'The Font' is visiting the far North. The standard of the food on offer has taken a decided turn for the worse. Sophies face says it all.
Although it's barely gone six the local courier driver drops of some cases of the wine at the front door. The family diva watches as the cases are unloaded. Sadly, there are no Jaffa Cakes on offer.
We open the church doors. The dry air seems to have evaporated the water that's leaked from the roof onto the floor tiles near the door. There's going to be a funeral tomorrow. The reclusive old man who lived in the cottage by the Holy Oak was rushed into hospital on Sunday night. There were, in the words of Madame Bay, 'complications with his legs'.
Yesterday, a motor home from Anjou stopped outside the village hall. A couple got out, wandered round the war memorial and finally made their way into the church. They spent all of two minutes inside. These are the first visitors I've ever seen go into the church.
Heading home from opening the church doors we say hello to Anger Management Man who has bought a newish black Toyota. ' Goes like the clappers ' he informs me in a tone of voice that is uncharacteristically jovial. We also stop and chat with The Old Farmer. He has taken to spending much of the day sitting in the shade on his terrace in nothing but a string vest and a voluminous pair of woolen drawers that extend below his knees. I promise to bring him one of the bottles of the wine that have just been delivered. He'll put it in the fridge to chill down and will invite his mate ,who served with him in the Army in Algeria, over for a nightcap. They will sit there, as they usually do, until well past midnight putting the world slowly to rights.
Sophie doesn't even make it onto the stoop this morning. After that manic social whirl she just drops on the brick paving outside the door. A girl has to take her sleep wherever and whenever she can.
Norways one and only dinosaur fossil : https://sciencenorway.no/dinosaurs-fossils-oil-and-gas/norways-only-dinosaur-find-was-a-complete-accident/2024542