Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Duck burgers.

Sophie now getting three walks a day on the village green.

Today she pounces on a mole hill and eats a pile of recently excavated clay.

Mares milk in the greengrocers refrigerated cabinet. Who drinks mares milk ? Angus is thankful that he actually read the labels rather than pick up the first bottle that came to hand.

Bob is transfixed by the sausage counter. He goes very quiet. As in '' I has died and gone to heaven " quiet. The lady behind the counter gives him a tiny sample. He squirms with delight.

On our way back to the car dog and master notice that there's a new addition to the town scape. A duck fast food restaurant.

Duck burgers, Duck Club Sandwich and Duck Hot Dog among the culinary delights on offer. Angus reads out aloud the various options to his furry companion. Passers by glance nervously in our direction . Satisfied that I'm just a harmless foreigner talking to his dog they hurry along. As we head off Bob casts a longing glance back towards duck heaven. Maybe next time we'll pop in and try a Hot-Dog New Yorkais ?

Monday, January 16, 2017

A second small sliver.

It's turned cold. Not wickedly cold but naughtily cold. The thin ice that coats the grass in the mornings is warmed by an indifferent sun and gone by ten. There's something about the feel of frost on their paw pads that electrifies the PONs and awakes a deep DNA echo of chilly mornings herding sheep in Bydgoscz. Sophie rolls on her back - another milestone.

Here in the village the change in the weather coincides with a flu epidemic. The radio reports that thirteen old folk died from an outbreak in a nursing home in Lyons. You have to wonder why the old folks couldn't have been given flu jabs. Madame Bay, alone in her family, has avoided going down with the bug. She was an early recipient of an injection from the young doctor in the local surgery. '' He has such a lovely smile and strong hands '' she informs us as if these attributes alone would dispel germs. What the doctor must think when faced with a robustly healthy octogenarian wearing a faux Kohinoor diamond in her chintz turban goes unrecorded. While her family is laid up Madame Bay is overseeing 'the girls' in Sandrines, her daughters hair salon. 'The girls' in this instance are two '' perm and a gossip " ladies in their forties. We think it best not to ask how this managerial role is going. 

While Bob and Sophie sleep we go into Toulouse. One of the least known but most delightful of towns.

Being dog owners we're up and about before most sane individuals. Only one flower seller out at this unearthly hour.

In the market a Golden Retriever finds being next to the meat counter while his master chats to a friend is cruel and unusual torture.

The bakers are still making Gallettes de Rois. A table of freshly baked ones faces us. The French like to make Christmas last until the end of January.

We opt for an Opera. The taste and texture the same as they served in La Coupole forty odd years ago. Even 'The Font' is tempted into a second, small, sliver.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Feelings made plain.

Sophie wants to know why I'm planning to go off with Bob while leaving her behind. I try to explain that 25 kilos of enthusiastic big brother and a diva with a fractured leg in the back of a small Volkswagen wouldn't be a great idea.

Some people will tell you that dogs don't show their feelings. This dog owner would disagree.

Three small dead voles lying in a line by the front door this morning. How tiny they are ! Bob sniffs them but leaves them alone. The owls have been sitting, chatting, on the window ledge all though the night. At four the wind picked up and rang the old fashioned bell at the door. This startled the owls who flew off amid a torrent of bad tempered screeching. They must have dropped the voles in their haste to get away.

This morning Sophie is allowed to walk off the lead. Another milestone. She meets The Old Farmer and the mayor. The divas social circle is expanding. She also excavates a fresh mole hill. This is a cause for much tail wagging.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Good manners.

And so a new routine develops. Everything else stops in The Rickety Old Farmhouse while Sophie gets walked on the village green. To make this mornings walk even more exciting the weather has turned cold. A sudden hail shower sweeps across the valley and coats dog and master in ice. We shelter under the little Lime tree. Real PON weather. Sophie is in seventh heaven. Her master not so much.

The family diva's let off the lead at the gate and walks sure footedly across the courtyard to her water bowl. For the first time in five months we see Sophie and her brother in play mode. Heads down, front paws stretched out, rumps and tails sticking in the air. 

A day for checking that all the outside taps are lagged. Sub sub zero temperatures due here on Monday. There might even be a few snow showers. The little stream slowly turning into a little river with all the rain. Its moment of glory will come later in the year when the snow in the high mountains starts to melt and for a few brief weeks it turns into a roaring torrent.

In the supermarket a sign telling shoppers to smile has appeared at the automatic check out desk.

Another one informs us that everything goes better with a little civility. I've seen these signs in the UK and the US but these admonitions to basic good manners are the first I've seen in France. You'd have thought they'd go up at a manned check out desk.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Not hurried.

Off to the supermarket. Bob takes up his resident guardian spot in the back of the 'Loonj'. The dog car is now reaching the stage where white PON hairs are permanently entwined into the boot carpet.

The supermarkets festive taxidermy display has been taken down. The tableaux of stuffed wildlife eating other stuffed wildlife consigned to a store room. The Japanese ladies on the Sushi counter have returned. Where they go to in December and the early part of January a mystery.

The cakes on display in the bakers clearly indicating that the locals are still working off the excesses of the Christmas season.

A major milestone on the road to recovery. Sophie gets walked onto the village green. Her harness attached to a lead in case she gets any ideas of chasing a cat or a white van. We go a hundred yards there and a hundred yards back. Sophie has a lot of sniffing to do. The two hundred yards round trip takes the better part of half an hour. She will not be hurried.

When all this is over the diva, and her brother, are going to get a buzz cut and a major bath.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A rediscovered persona.

In the supermarket plastic domes are stacked in a pile by the vegetable counter. Closer inspection shows them to be little pots of germinating mushrooms in compost.

'The Font' thinks that Bobs eye is improving. Angus hasn't seen him blink but there again under that fur who would ? The drooling is now much better and the tilting of the head almost completely gone. We have however heard on the grapevine that the kennel owners closed for good at Christmas.

This morning Sophie is trying out her angelic ' I'm an orphan dog that has never been fed ' look. You can be sure that this persona will be used frequently when she is once again allowed out on early morning trips to the cafe.

The diva is also demonstrating her extreme boredom by waking at five thirty and singing. Her family will be every bit as glad as she will be when the all clear comes.

The computer company's after sales service continues to entertain the occupants of The Rickety Old Farmhouse . A gentleman from Bangalore phones to say how happy he is that everything is now fine and would we be interested in purchasing a new computer. '' The Font '' points out that 1) everything is not fine 2) the computer is only six months old and 3) it is in pieces with a high probability that all the data has been wiped off. In conjunction these facts hardly act an advert for buying another of their products. The somewhat surprised gentleman in Bangalore promises to have a supervisor look into things and quickly rings off. The response was clearly not something that appeared on his teleprompter screen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Undreamt of places.

Only two weeks to go before the next X-ray. For Sophie it can't come soon enough.

Bob is slightly drooly and a little lopsided but is otherwise the epitome of happiness.

Christmas trees still up in the the little market towns parish church. 'The Font' thinks its unusual to see a Christmas tree inside a church. This sparks a conversation which shows that neither of us know whether their presence is unusual, or not.

A pleasant development when a computer repairman phones at lunchtime to say " I'll be with you at four ". He arrives at five thirty. He's surprised to discover that the computer is in pieces. '' Did you do this ? I can't do anything if you've tried to repair it yourself ". 'The Font' explains the disassembling was done by a previous ''repairman'. He seems less than happy to hear this. Perhaps he thought he'd be home by six. 

The man whistles while he works. Or, to be more precise he whistles while he sits and looks at the computers innards. Whistling is not something that PONs feel they can ignore. They howl. At six thirty the whistling repairman announces that he'll need to go and get  part. '' They must have left it out in the manufacturing process '' he adds. This is the sort of stilted language that indicates he's been looking for a water tight excuse to leave.

When you call a French after sales number you begin a journey that will take you to places undreamt of.