Thursday, October 27, 2016

The first flight.

Angus is off to London to talk to men in dark suits. Rather than drive down to Toulouse at four in the morning for the first flight he opts to go to the airport after dinner and check into the airport hotel. The hotel proves to be rather like an upmarket version of Alcatraz. The windows don't open  and there's no view. The designer clearly had a thing for orange - bed spread, drapes and carpets all accessorized in this 'cheerful' colour.

Sophie is happy to lie in the courtyard savaging a Kong while she luxuriates in the warmth of a blanket.

Big brother chooses today, of all days, to have a stomach upset. This is put down to a dead gold finch that was found in a drainage ditch and proudly carried along on the morning walk . 'The Font' wasn't quick enough to retrieve it between uttering the words 'Bob put that down ' and him swallowing it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Onto the village green.

Bob is told in no uncertain terms that he cannot have Sophie's carrot.

'The Font' drives the family diva to the clinic. The second operation is delayed for three weeks and rescheduled for November 22nd. No problems but after seeing the X-rays the specialist would be happier to have the bone set a little more. '' She's the type who's prone to jumping " he says - perhaps stating the obvious. There is a worry she might put all her weight on the new joint. The surgeon who did the first operation will be attending to her. Two months, it seems, is the more prudent gap between operations. For the first time Sophie cried a little in the waiting room.

In the late afternoon a  'welcome home' walk onto the village green.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

There will be retribution.

From the corner of her eye Sophie can see that her brother has found Furry Fox.  He is proudly rushing round the garden with it in his mouth. She is left speechless with frustration.

When she is fully recovered there will be a day of retribution.

This afternoon she goes to the hospital in Toulouse to have her leg X-rayed. 

Monday, October 24, 2016


Out of the front door for a 'comfort break'.

Then into her pen for a doze. Woollen blanket keeping those shaved limbs warm.

Sophie being an intelligent girl has discovered that a wall or door can provide useful support for all sorts of purposes, drinking water being one of them.

Bob and Angus tidy up the garden. The last of the pool furniture stowed away in the garage.

The family fellow joins me for a trip to the bakers. While I choose a Chocolat Royale he coyly charms the waitress into giving him a crust of bread.

In the 1880's some reforming bishop ( of the type that always has to be doing something ) had many of the regions 13th century churches demolished and replaced with identikit buildings more in keeping with the times. Octagonal towers, five rows of windows, two tiers of bells. Cheap to build and unremarkable to look at. Last night at quarter to seven I was out in the side courtyard with Sophie, a side of the house we rarely visit at this time of the day.  As the sun set the church tower glowed a most amazing bright red. The orange bricks suddenly transfused with light. Even the most mediocre of structures can look like a cathedral with natures help. The old steeples moment of glory lasted for all of five minutes before fading away. It seems the air is full of light refracting dust from the Sahara that's being blown our way. This morning the cars covered in sand. 

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.