Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sounding sirens.

After breakfast ( devoured with gusto) the invalid is slowly walked from the kitchen into the garden. Draped in a warm woollen blanket she can monitor the comings and goings along the lane.

Big brother seems quite happy to spend his morning guarding her.

The display of pumpkins at the greengrocers becomes ever more festive. Grey ones join the more usual yellow and orange.

Persimons arrive. The French word for Persimon is 'Kaki'. One of those rare instances when the English is so much more attractive than the French.

Bob continues to be on a four walk a day routine. This good for him and his owners. The stress related itching has died away.

For the last five days the police have been on strike. They block the streets in the centre of Toulouse and sound the sirens on their patrol cars at midnight. The French seem to take a Police strike in their stride. What the local residents think about a hundred police cars sounding their sirens goes unreported on the morning news.

Having ignored her wound for the last three and a half weeks Sophie has now decided to start nibbling at it.

The chickens belonging to the man with anger management issues get out again. They scatter across the village green clucking merrily away. The angry man waves his arms and shouts. The chickens seem remarkably oblivious to his hyperactivity. Bob watches from his vantage point on the stump seat by the front gate.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

C'est tout grace.

Some mornings the sky is just so blue.....

.... and the air so clear

..... and the wind so soft. You just have to marvel at the purpose behind this perfect symmetry . The Very Old Farmer used to say that mornings like this were 'C'est tout grace'. It's all grace. A phrase which combines a countrymans practicality, philosophy and piety in equal measure. The essence of France profonde.

Then, as if there's any doubt that this is the best day ever, the PON boy runs through the fields, fishes inelegantly for minnows in the stream and finds malodorous excitement at every point of the compass. He is having a legs tangled joy overload.

His sister is busy destuffing a toy hog. The squeaker was the first thing to go. Removed and discarded in thirty seconds.

And that in short is the wonder and constant laughter of a dog owners life on a quiet Saturday morning.

Friday, October 21, 2016

She'd have prefered an hour.

Sophie isn't the only one to have the occasional 'bad hair' day.

A cloudy morning but the rising sun manages to light up the window in the upstairs hallway. For two or three minutes the inside of the house bathed in a bright red then orange light. Such a simple thing but something to be enjoyed.

Bob is getting four walks a day. Two in the morning. One after lunch and another in the afternoon. On our first walk of the morning we live the Enid Blyton lifestyle and stop to watch the horses, the cows and the donkeys. Satisfied that all is well with his universe Bob turns for home.

Some mornings he christens every third plane tree along the lane. Today it's every second one.

After breakfast the family fellow heads off with me to the hardware store. We stop en route at the modern cafe in the shopping centre. Wednesdays debate being analyzed on television. The pretty waitress brings Bob a bowl of water and a crust from a wholemeal loaf. She chats away to Bob. Bob bestows a long lick on the girls hand. Nothing like a crust from a wholemeal loaf to win a boys heart. We laugh. 

When we return home Sophie lets it be known that she would have liked to join us.

Can't help but notice that for much of the day the divas been unusually quiet. The inactivity getting her down. She's been laid up since September 15th. The new Adaptil collars arrive in the post. Hopefully, that will cheer her up. Late at night I take her for a walk in the main garden. The harness with two handles means I can keep her rump and leg supported. We walk for five minutes. She'd have preferred an hour.

The X-rays confirmed for Tuesday. We book her in for surgery on the other leg on November 2nd. The surgeon who did the first operation isn't available until December. We decide it's better to go with another surgeon rather than wait. The usual discussion about why one surgeon is available so much earlier than the other then ensues.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Maximum security.

Turn your back for a moment and Sophie will be off chasing something. This morning it was a small fluttery thing in a bay tree. I'd bent down to tie a loose shoe lace - my eyes distracted for three seconds at the most - and she'd leapt up and was racing across the grass after her prey. Thankfully, the little angel was apprehended before she could get too far . Sophie is a maximum security patient. 

On Tuesday she goes to the specialists to have her leg X-rayed and get a date for the second leg to be operated on. We're hoping for a date in early November.  This would mean we'd have a  largely ambulatory diva for Christmas

Big brother keeps a watchful eye on his sister from a sensible distance. His concern for her is palpable - which is interesting canine psychology. We think it unlikely that Sophie would display this level of devotion if it was her brother who was laid up.

At the moment she can sit out in the fresh air with a blanket draped over her shaved legs. There is a certain mournful Dickensian look to her sitting on the grass. Soon it's going to be too cold for her to be out for more than an hour in the afternoon.

A chocolate and banana cake in the window of the bakers. This is a combination that Angus finds less than appetizing.

Bob is steered through the market at high speed. The Chinese clothes seller glares at us. We don't want any repetition of the male PON christening the display of ladies jeans ...

... or the Moroccan mans display of woven baskets. We've never seen the Moroccan man sell a basket. The display always seems to remain the same. A de-threating  of his products with Eau de Bob wouldn't make them any more attractive.

So passes another of those days with a nightmare patient and her affable brother in deepest, deepest France profonde. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Almost none.

Out for an early morning walk with Bob down by the river. Rain is forecast but it turns out to be one of those mild but cloudy days.

We see a fisherman by the bridge. Bob is keen to say hello but I  hurry him past.

'The Font' heads back to London for the day. Sophie suddenly realizes , to her horror, that she may have to have dinner cooked by Angus.

In the greengrocers the new seasons apples arrive. All are grown in France. Granny Smiths a big favourite here.

The Citron Caviar down to four impossible to shift pots.

Bob sits on his stump seat. He's much better today. Almost no biting of his fur. The Adaptil collar and the anti-histamines doing what they're supposed to do. Now, if only he could get back to savaging his sister all would be well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Sophie is a quart of energy in a pint pot. She is keen to get on with life. Open the door of her pen and she's off. Only another six or seven weeks of this close confinement to go.

For much of the day the web doesn't work. Either Google or Orange have been hacked. A French government page saying that we've accessed a terrorist site is all we can access.

La Blue Belle potatoes make an appearance in the greengrocers.

In the afternoon Bob is taken to the vets. He's bitten the hair from his back by the tail. The family boy sits, unmoving, on the examination table. Bob does not enjoy going to the vets. The manic biting diagnosed as a combination of a reaction to insect bites and being stressed over his sisters strange behaviour. A course of anti-histamines should do the trick. Isn't it odd that he should be stressed while his sister isn't ? We've ordered another Adaptil collar. In the meantime we've taken Sophie's and put it on Bob.

So passes a quiet day with dogs in deepest , deepest France profonde.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lunch follows.

The petanquistes are back in force. They have a 'bless the boules' petanque mass at eleven. This is followed by a minutes silence at the war memorial at twelve. Lunch follows. Interestingly, there are no female petanquistes. Wives, girlfriends, meaningful others and non-petanquistes are entertained in the beer tent by a singer who has modelled herself on Dolly Parton, although Dolly Parton presumably doesn't wear lycra canary yellow pant suits or have a strawberry red wig. The chanteuse has four songs. I will always love you, Total eclipse of the heart , Barbara Ann and You lift me up. At the end of each performance she mutters Merci, merci, merci into her microphone and bows from the waist. She then has a glass of wine and sings the same songs again. She is booked from three to five so we get to know her repetoire quite well.

Bob sits on his stump seat. To say he is engrossed in monitoring the petanque tournament would be an understatement. Does he want to chase them all away ? Or, is he wondering if he could abscond with the petanque boules ?

Sophie remains confined to the side courtyard. Her cage set up on the fresh turf. To ward off the cold she has a blanket draped over her.

Sophie loves the blanket. She gives me her best '' does this suit me ? " look. The patient continues to heal. She can now stand on her own, walk twenty paces unaided across the grass and scratch her ear with the leg that's been operated on. The real issue is keeping her from chasing after her brother or wanting to stand on her hind legs and look at passers by.