Lunch with our French guests seems to have passed without incident - which in this household must be counted a major success. Their arrival was a little too punctual for the chef's liking ( we still think in Italian time ie add an hour ) but while 'the font' screamed in the kitchen I poured a glass of wine in the drawing room and engaged in what I hoped was polite conversation. Wilf and Digby were for some quite unknown reason on their very best behaviour . They allowed themselves to be tickled and stroked without snarling (Digby) or dropping a ball at the visitors feet (Wilf). After lunch the two boyz trotted around the garden with toys in their mouths , heads held high, receiving a wealth of praise from the French visitors who trilled away and used words like 'adorable' and 'charmant'. If only they knew! The shaggy troubadors received an extra Ryvita each for doing their bit to cement the entente cordiale. Knowing 'they'd done good' the two of them rug surfed in the hall late into the night.
In the aftermath of the Anglo-French lunch we are off to Auch today to 1) look at the cathedral 2) have a glass of wine and 3) choose a new range to replace the 40 year old lump of brass and iron that dominates the kitchen. 'The font' has made it entirely clear that if we are ever to have visitors again then the behemoth with its dicey thermostat and explosive,hair singeing, gas jets must go. My observation that the old oven has character and seems to work just fine ( viz the wonderful lunch) was met by the retort ' well you cook on it then!'. So much for my diplomatic skills.