Thursday, October 19, 2017
300 kmh tail winds all the way so we get back an hour and a half early. London airport doesn't open until six so we circle for an hour.
After an emotional reunion the PONs settle down for a restorative nap. Their owners will soon be joining them.
At the Apple store in Georgetown the staff open the doors and cheer and clap the waiting customers inside. Angus buys a new i-phone 8. Loading pictures requires new software. Why is upgrading technology never simple ?
This is interesting sign of the times:
Sunday, October 8, 2017
The PONs spend an idyllic Sunday lazing in the sun, having the small rugby ball kicked for them ( always more interesting when it's kicked rather than thrown ) and barking at passing pilgrims.
At six they're shipped off to the k-e-n-n-e-l-s for a week. Angus explains that sometimes the human part of the family also needs attention. Bob is unimpressed. He layers on his '' And I thought you loved me " routine.
The PONs owners face a night at the airport hotel. We'll be back from the States early next week.
Here's some happy music :
Out as the sun is rising. PON owners aren't allowed to sleep in on a Sunday. Bob pokes a cold wet nose in my ear at five fifty to let me know it's going to be the best day ever.
The Old Farmer and the Belgian lady head off early in the venerable Ford Transit motor home. They're going to the Pont du Gard in Provence for a few days. '' I've changed the brake linings' volunteers The Old Farmer. Some of the recent fibre glass 'improvements' to the motor homes body work remain unpainted. As they disappear along the lane I note that new curtains in a jolly multi-coloured swirl pattern have been fitted. A feminine touch.
Walk over, the angelic duo sit waiting, with barely concealed impatience, for their morning trip into town for a bowl of water and an illicit 'bakery' tasting.
The drawing room ceiling is now almost finished. The awful yellow replaced by a calm white. The walls are ready for their first layer of undercoat. The ladies of the Women's Cooperative tidy up and go. They are hosting a workshop on spinning and won't be back for two weeks. This works out quite well as we have to go off to the States for a few days and the thought of them in the house unattended sends a shiver down my spine.
The lawn mover has died. Angus buys a new one. Bob tries, unsuccessfully, to get into the back of the car to check it out.
The thickness of the berries on the trees is really quite remarkable.
Some Sunday morning music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a23945btJYw
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Then and now. October 6th 2016 and October 6th 2017.
What a difference a year makes. Sophie is one feisty lady.
There is probably a little 'more' of her now despite our best efforts at restricting her calorie intake. 'Recycling' and a gourmands delight in owl dropped voles and windfall pears make strict diet control impossible.
Her brother still has a slight problem with the droopy left side of his jaw....
.... but nothing that interferes with a mischief filled day.
Sometimes all the justification a blog needs is as a reminder of why and how dogs become such an integral part of the family. Their ' I know you'll make it better ' trust is absolute. In return they dispense 24/7 laughter.
A Saturday morning hum along Scottish song : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbb9aRSQpsY
Friday, October 6, 2017
Another Friday. Where did the week go ? On our pre dawn walk we see Neptune, Mars and Venus all glinting in a line above the horizon. Venus sparkles like a diamond. Over on the other side of the valley the fat jovial harvest moon ( and what a moon ) merges with the dawn. Owner and dogs, in their different ways, recognize this is going to be a great day. The Old Farmer is standing on his balcony in his pyjama bottoms looking at the sky. '' C'est magnifique " he says as we pass.
The PONs hurtle down the hill towards the stream. They'll be five in January. You'd think that their energy levels might have eased off by now but not a bit of it. Zest is what it's all about. Squeezing as much into life as they can.
Zest is not a word I'd associate with the ladies from the Womens Cooperative. The drawing room isn't finished but two of them have mysteriously started work on the end bedroom. They inform me in a somewhat peremptory tone that the bed and a wardrobe need to be shifted. A hallway full of furniture means there's no scope for rug surfing or touch rugby. There is some good news. Bob has taken to curling up and spending his nights asleep on rolled up rugs. This is both comfortable and quasi illicit. What could be better ?
A truck and a man on a mechanical digger roll past the house. The PONs watch from behind the safety of the gate. The mechanical digger excavates three holes. We cannot possibly imagine what they're for. Bob and Sophie make it plain that they'd like to be involved.
Such is the the excitement of life in a French village.
'Tasted the sweet perfume of the mountain grass'. There is something rather innocent and out of time about this. Springsteenesque music : https://youtu.be/7Qp5vcuMIlk
Thursday, October 5, 2017
This morning Sophie finds some over ripe windfall quinces in the bottom of a drainage ditch. These are tasted but fail to generate the same degree of enthusiasm she's shown for over ripe windfall pears.
Bob sits by me on the storm drain. We talk about the British Prime Ministers coughing fit. Angus feels sorry for the poor woman. Bob leans into me as we discuss why some people are angry that the Spanish King didn't say a few words of Catalan in his speech to the nation. 'El Sueno de la razon produce monstruos' says Angus using a line made famous by Goya. Bob wanders off to see what his sister is doing. Bob, it seems, is not keen on quinces.
A group of thirty or so pilgrims wander down the ox track at the side of The Rickety Old Farmhouse. They sing as they go. The singing elicits a response from the PONs. The pilgrims sing more loudly. The PONs up their game.
The ladies from the Women's Cooperative work away. The sound of Aude, the bi-polar decaratrice, chatting away happily to herself drifts onto the lane through two open windows. Why the other windows in the drawing room aren't opened is presumably something to do with the light. Progress remains steady but glacial. There is another late morning break for chanting.
Singing pilgrims and chanting painters. No wonder the PONs think it's been the best day ever.
The perils of free samples : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/dogs-poisoned-by-sainsbury-s-promotional-chocolate-samples-a3645806.html
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Our day starts, as every day here starts, with the PONs hurtling out of the front door. This morning Sophie takes the lead. She can be glimpsed disappearing at a remarkable turn of speed into the six am darkness.
The great thing about having a blog is you can go back a year and see what you were doing then. A year ago Sophie had been through one operation and was waiting for her second leg to be seen to. Bob was displaying his mysterious Bells Palsy/Stroke like symptoms. They are both now in ferocious good health.
Later this week we shall take a video clip of a fully recovered Sophie to the vet who did the two legs. We've both suddenly got to the age where we're thankful for all those people who do their jobs day in day out with quiet dignity and who rarely get remembered or thanked.
The Women's Cooperative ladies are here at nine.
Yesterday and today they've been filling in cracks in the walls and ceiling. Angus thought we might have seen more progress but decides to keep this thought to himself. The dungaree clad ladies are being paid by the hour. This surely can't have anything to do with the glacial rate of work ? At eleven they stop work and chant for half an hour. The PONs are as bemused as Angus by this development.
At moments of stress Bob finds a shredded lamb is a perfect aid to relaxation. I decline his kind offer.
The angelic duo are right pawed : https://theconversation.com/ive-always-wondered-can-animals-be-left-and-right-pawed-83716
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
The PONs have two attitudes to wet weather. The '' You must be joking ! I'm not going out in that '' attitude and the '' Isn't this wonderful. Let's stay out in this downpour for two hours '' attitude. Today, the PONs demonstrate the second of these approaches to life.
Back home they are given a lengthy toweling dry and are then shepherded into the kitchen. They choose not to lie on the warm blankets, preferring instead the bracing embrace of the cold floor tiles.
The ladies of the Women's Cooperative were due to start work redecorating the drawing room a month ago. When they didn't show 'The Font' chased them up only to be told ''We've got an outbreak of finger arthritis. We couldn't possibly start until November ". That surely ranks along with 'the dog ate my homework' for creativeness. It is with some surprise that Angus and the PONs observe a blue Peugeot van with ladders strapped to its roof come slowly down the drive. Four dungaree wearing members of the Women's Cooperative - the decorating team - have shown up ; unannounced. There is presumably some logic to their time keeping but Angus has yet to determine what it is.
The lady scaffolder, who is very thin, wears a flat cap and has an addiction to chewing tobacco, looks at the furniture in the drawing room and says '' this will need to be moved''. She then glares at Angus in a way that tells me she's not going to do it. Aude, the bi-polar decaratrice trills happily away to herself. The sofas and armchairs are pushed by the homeowner into the centre of the room, the rest is carried out into the hall . ' I'll just have to work around those sofas " says the scaffolding lady with grim determination.
It's going to be a fun week. The PONs check on the visitors every half an hour or so. Where there's paint there's an inquisitive PON. Angus steers well clear of the decorating team.
Angus has three glasses of wine with dinner. 'The Font' reassures me that the women of the Women's Cooperative are brusque with all men - not just me.
This is computer generated but an Afghan swimming underwater would be a never to be forgotten sight : https://twitter.com/planetepics/status/913071392043782144