Reappearance of a different sort just before lunch . ' The font ' and yours truly were happily sequestered in the downstairs kitchen watching the wedding on the tiny television. I had just got a bottle of champagne out of the fridge in readiness to toast the young couple, when the bell rang. It was the mayor and two of the over sexed ladies from the Friday morning arts class in the Salle de Fetes. " Are you watching the wedding on television ?" . After eighteen months in our little village even Angus knows that this is French shorthand for ' can we come in and have a glass of champagne ? '. So it was that the royal couple were wished all the best by a group of French fifty something ladies ( another five of them had laid down their brushes and mysteriously appeared in the kitchen ) , the mayor of our little commune and his wife with the whistling hearing aid, two workmen in blue coats, a portly electrician and a plumber who , for once , was not smoking. Oh, not to forget the buxom young lady from DHL who amidst all this festivating delivered a parcel from Libertys. She stayed just long enough to wish everyone a ' bon mariage ', enjoy a slice of hastily warmed up quiche lorraine and do justice to a glass of Gosset Celebris Extra Brut . Wilf, who thrives on attention and dropped quiche, is hoping that this will become a daily occurence.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
A motor home has been parked on the village green for the last two nights. The owners get up around ten, set out a table and two chairs and sit down under a flowering tamarisk to enjoy breakfast. They then go through the same routine at lunch and dinner time. Last night they brought out a primus stove and fried liver in a large pan. An action which immediately attracted Wilfs attention and required a detour on our evening walk . They're still there this morning. How bizarre. The village might be pretty but would you really want to sit on a folding chair and look at it for three days ?.
In the absence of an electrician we shan't be watching the wedding on the wide screen television upstairs. Instead we shall be forced into following events on the small screen in the kitchen below. As the trumpets march up the stave and the choir readies itself to sing the words of the opening hymn , ' I was glad when they said unto me ', the champagne will be brought out of the fridge in readiness for a toast . Wilf will get half a croissant.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The good news is that the mayor has had an acceptable quote for repairing the church clock. The bad news is that he and the Floral Village committee want it replaced by a modern, electric, silent , definitely non-chiming system. The Beautiful Byeways committee are equally adamant that the old mechanical , chime thirteen times on the hour, every hour, twice, mechanism must be replaced. " Perhaps M'Ongoose you could come to the next town council meeting to give your advice ? ". I said that I would be delighted to do so if I wasn't travelling at the time . The reality is I'd prefer to stick my head in a gas oven than get involved in a dispute between these two mutually loathing groups of villagers.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Real south west weather. A young Belgian couple set up a picnic on the village green. Stunningly beautiful young mother, trendy father, a new born, and a three year old. No sooner is everything laid out than a thunderstorm breaks overhead. From clear skies to torrential downpour in under five minutes. Screaming children, distraught parents. Welcome to Tarn et Garonne. ' The font ' runs across the lane and invites them to come over and enjoy their picnic under the shelter of the terrace. He a lawyer in Brussels. She a doctor on maternity leave. They're on pilgrimage to Compostella to ' remind themselves that there's more to life than work '. No pretentiousness. No proselytizing. Nice folk. Exceptions to the rule that people who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them . After Digbys experience I'll always have a soft spot for pilgrims who wander past even if I don't understand them.
Formatting on blogger becoming more and more difficult. Gaps between photos and paragraphs set, then reset. Still they come out all over the place. It's been going on for two weeks now. This gremlin proving mighty difficult to shift.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Easter Monday. A national holiday here in France. The only activity a dozen or so blackbirds grubbing under the oak trees and an old blind dog ambling slowly across the village green. Even the quarrelsome frogs have entered into the spirit of things and fallen silent. And what silence it is. In Britain or Italy you'd always catch the sound of a petrol engine buzzing away somewhere in the far distance , but here, nothing at all to disturb the measured calm.
It won't last. Yesterday two large tour busses arrived mid-morning to disgorge a hundred or so pilgrims from Munich. They get off here, walk the eight miles to the abbey church at Auvillar, have lunch in a Michelin star restaurant and are then whisked off in air-conditioned comfort towards another unsuspecting little village . By Tuesday night they'll have made it across the Pyrenees, along the northern coast of Spain and be within an hours walk of the great pilgrimage church at Compostella. It seems that another two bus loads of red cagouled wanderers are going to arrive here this morning. Pilgrimage the modern way.
Wilf continues with his own unhurried journey. He sleeps a lot, enjoys his three times daily ventures along the lane and positively relishes meal times. Thankfully, the anti-inflamatory injection coupled to the Atropine have reduced the swelling in the eye. No need , at this stage, for surgery. Sometimes he gets frustrated with his blindness, an inability to understand why doors aren't where they're supposed to be or why his water bowl has moved. Overall though he's happy. No pain, a lot of trust. Taking each day as it comes.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
While I'm saying farewell to 'the gannets' Wilf frets. No less than four pit stops last night. One very tired ' font' dealing with those rampant blood sugar levels. When I get back from the airport he looks at me sternly. " Where do you think you've been ? ". Strange . While we worry about him, he worries about us. Guess that's what makes a family dog.
Friday, April 22, 2011
On the way back we have to slow right down to a snails pace to manouevre round Oliver , the old widows labrador. Today, he's moved from his usual position on the front door step and is dozing , unconcernedly, in the road. Ever since the old farmer died thirteen months ago he's sat outside , day in , day out, patiently waiting for his masters return. A dogs devotion . Untarnished, undoubting. As we pass the old fellow looks up hopefully to see if the car is going to stop. Seeing faith like that I can't help but smile and wish Oliver a ' good, Good Friday '.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Out with Wilf for our morning constitutional through the village and along the lane. Another sunny but windy day in this little corner of paradise. As we pass the gates of the chateau we're greeted by three high pitched barks and the sudden appearance of a furry, ginger and highly proprietorial dog. From the long line of large black Mercedes parked along the drive and spilling out onto the road I'm guessing that the German billionaires have arrived for the Easter holidays bringing their dog with them.
Old blind Wilf ploughs stolidly on quite unaware of the furry, ginger beast following him . He takes time to mark the chateau wall and push the wrought iron gates with his nose. This leisurely audacity drives the chateau dog insane. She darts backwards and forwards challenging Wilf to look her in the eyes. What he stops to christen, she stops to christen immediately afterwards. I manage to grab two quick snapshots of her. She's a sweet thing that looks like a cross between a wheaten terrier and a PON but is probably a very rare and very expensive breed. The thought of German-Polish reconciliation and taupe coloured puppies springs inadvertently into my mind. Within thirty seconds the encounter is over and Brunhilde ( as I've decided to call her ) has rushed back up the driveway to the safety of the barbican. She might be an uptown girl but this morning our downtown boy was quite oblivious to her charms. Having said that he returned home with a look on his face that said ' I'm a charmer '.