Thursday, February 17, 2011

Old misery.

For Wilf a day to get acquainted with the new postman. The mail used to arrive around noon but now we're lucky if it gets to us much before three. A cheerful " I'll get the hang of it soon " from the young replacement. A bark from Wilf. In the evening the town council meeting in the village hall. On a podium by the kitchen , the mayor, the deputy mayor and the little lady in the purple hat. Some thirty folk sitting in the body of the hall. The new day-glo orange plastic chairs being used for the first time.

The mayor gives his review of the years events. At least that is what we think he did. The microphone, rigged up by the Chairman of the beautiful byeways committee , had chosen this very moment to start working intermittently. The mayor speaks softly. Very softly. His twenty minute summary of the high spots of 2010 , such as they were, sadly inaudible.

Then the questions. Will the roses by the war memorial be replaced ? What is happening about the dead pigeon in the clock ? Who is going to fill in the pothole by the speed bump ? Finally, a rather dour looking gentleman stands to ask what the mayor intends to do about the influx of foreigners taking over the village. A communal intake of breath. Embarrassed sideways glances at the two of us. It seems that not everyone is happy that non-French are present in the community.

A no-nonsense reply from the deputy mayor. If it wasn't for the foreigners houses would stand empty, there would be fewer jobs, and the tax base would be smaller. Then she turned towards us and said that half of the villages foreigners were present in the hall and were very welcome. Clearly, the old misery had no idea who we were.

Afterwards much apologetic mumbling from our neighbours and the mayor. We find it highly amusing. The two German billionaires in the chateau and now the two of us in the rickety old farmhouse. Watch property values fall if the influx of incomers continues. No two ways about it. The neighbourhoods going to the dogs. The Polish Lowland Sheepdogs.


  1. The public defense and the apology are refreshingly kind. Sounds like Wilf has wormed his way into the village's heart and taken you with him.

    Hope the archaeologists don't cause a problem along the lines of "you can't ever build or dig again" or "we have to dig up the whole property in case there's something valuable here." Have you brushed up on French laws on eminent domain? Treasure trove? Good luck!

    Jed & Abby

  2. Same here. Our little french cottage had been empty, unloved and unwanted by the french until we rescued it.

  3. It's so insulting, that 'going to the dogs' expression, isn't it?
    Toodle pip!

  4. So, the four of you are taking over. When you said that village was small, we didn't think THAT small.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  5. I dunno, Angus. Not so sure here that the old gents comment included you with the outsiders. When he drew the "them" and "us" line in the sand, I think you were included with the "us". After all, wasn't it the mayor and you together that discovered that pigeon anyway? And what is with that bird? After all of this time it is still intact? Was it mummified?

    Gone to the dogs? The village should be so lucky.
    We love you, Wilf.

  6. Hey Mongoose...
    If you ever feel sidelined, South Africa is waiting...and welcoming!
    By the way - PONS are welcome too! :)
    Sending lotsaluv

  7. You know, Daisy, Kendra and Bella "hit the nail on the head". Just like living in the southern part of the United states - if you are from the north, you'll always be from the north - and so will your great-great-great grandchildren.

  8. Good morning Wilf! You really do become more handsome each day. When I read the title I was afraid it was the old tummy trouble again. Glad to know that it isn't. I wonder if you could convince the new postman that part of his job would be a treat for you delivered daily?

    I also wonder if the dour gentleman was speaking of all the UFOs?

  9. I also find it refreshing that even in deepest France Profonde that some people have started to move past the (old) feelings that if you weren't born and raised in a community that you aren't welcome--The reaction from your neighbors and town leaders clearly shows that you, 'the font, and Wilf are valued and accepted members of your village, even if you are 'from the other side of the tracks!' :-))

  10. And likewise, unless you were born of several generations past Yankee Stock many New Englanders think you'll always be a "flatlander" from way down south! Too funny. Well Angus as they say, there goes the neighborhood. You've given me a good laugh this morning. Such funny ideas people get in their heads. Thank goodness Dogs are so accepting.

  11. I would have loved to hear the "silence" after the foreigners comment! Some people change slowly, I bet he is not a dog lover either. You two and Wilf would be very welcome in Iowa, we just love newcomers. The new picture of Wilf with the very pink tongue sticking out is just precious. Gotta love the happy face. Hugs to all.

  12. I'd say that the village "going to a dog" like Wilf is a wonderful step forward. I'm glad that your neighbors stepped up to make you feel welcome.

  13. And here I was dreaming about becoming your neighbor! I thank you for my good morning giggle today. Your little town is definitely much, much better than mine!

  14. Your community can breathe a sigh of relief that my former neighbor who was a hoarder moved to Arkansas with most but not all of her garbage instead of your lovely village! I can imagine the comments at the village meeting if she had blown into town!

    I wish we had a friendly mail person. We have had the same cranky ill-tempered fellow for all the years I have lived here. If there is some obstacle in front of the mailbox he will simply drive away, even if one is seen approaching. Never smiles, once asked me for identification to collect my mail because I drove up at the time he was delivering. And he has seen me for years. Strange, irritating man. I shake my head.

    Lovely pictures in this post as always.

  15. What a lonely life that man must lead, to have nothing better to do than complain about "foreigners" invading the town is truly sad. Embracing change and diversity is what keeps us all young! Has he met Wilf yet, if not he should, who could resist that beautiful face?

    Blessings and Love,
    Janelle and Maggie Mae

  16. I wish we had our neighborhood go to the dogs...Polish Lowland or otherwise. I'd rather have dogs as neighbors most days rather than humans....

    Keep going Wilf! You look remarkably handsome in your snaps today!

    Love, the Canadians who are bracing for a winter storm,
    Dianna along with Tor, Willow and Tucker

  17. PS I forgot to say, I LOVE the new header picture of Wilf licking his lips.

  18. I wonder if Mr. Misery knows that the Mayor planted a tree to shelter Digby, thereby making you most certainly one of "us."

    xxx Joan

  19. How funny that guy should ask what's going to be done about the foreigners. I hope you mentioned to him that you seem to employ half the town to fix up your home!