Tuesday 19 April 2011


We are slowly learning our new addition to the family. What she does naturally, what she will do if asked nicely and what she can't help herself doing. It is very early days but we are all learning.......slowly slowly. And mostly she's brilliant and we are very lucky.

Today we took her in the car to one of the local markets. Busier than usual because it is just before Easter. Impeccable behaviour. She's no problem in the car. She completely ignored other dogs and all the interesting smells of the market and sat patiently while we had a cup of coffee. We decided she must have been a town dog because all this was completely normal to her.

When she goes on a walk with one or both of us she is great. Pays no attention to other dogs/chickens/cats/animals in general. Comes when called and obviously loves it.If on a group walk with other dogs and people, she just has a lovely time and comes back to check and then goes off again.

Sleeps through the night. Doesn't move until we get her up at whatever hour suits us. Eats the cheapest dog food happily.

All good stuff.

On the down side....................

She and the cat are not enjoying a fulfilling relationship :-). They lead separate lives and if Sweety catches sight of the cat she's in full chase mode in the blink of an eye. The cat, not being stupid, keeps well out of the way.

Sweety loves shit. Can smell it miles away and loves to roll in it and eat it. The sloppier cow shit the better.

Chickens are there to be chased and eaten. One down, seven to go. Normally we would just let them fly out of the way but it is the season of chicks and the mothers are more protective and everyone more vulnerable.

Him Outdoors would like a dog that lay in the shade and kept him company outside. Sweety can't do that. Outside is definitely foreign to her and she can't relax, it's a continual patrol for her.

I was reminded today of our children at primary school. I remember discussing with friends that I would rather have children that were well behaved at school and didn't get into trouble there and a pain in the arse at home, than the other way round.

I guess it's the same with dogs.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Stair case

Apparently the insurers are going to pay the 1,000 euros required by the judge to appoint a judicial assessor. They will pay it direct to our solicitor and so it goes on..........................

So that will be three different people that have come to look at the staircase. This one will have the authority to actually decide what should be paid. Apparently.

Don't hold your breath.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Meeting a fellow blogger

I ws just going to write that today I met my first fellow blogger and then realised that that is not strictly true (sorry Jen) and being a pedant I will try again :-)

Today I have had a lovely lunch with a blogger that I follow. Our beautiful house was showing itself off at its best, the weather was kind and we had the best time. It is like meeting a distant cousin. Someone that you know stories about and have a basic relationship with. You don't have to have all the basic 'what do you do, where are you from, how long have you been here' conversations of a first time meeting because over the months of blogging you have covered all that stuff, so you can jump straight in.

We had a lovely time. A real pleasure. Thank you.

Sunday 10 April 2011

New York Metropolitan Opera in HD or "It's OK just not to 'get' things"'

Last night we went to the opera.

I have heard several people saying how wonderful the transmission of live opera from the New York Met is. The system is that in order to bring opera to the masses - or to make more money - various major opera companies are transmitting their performances to cinemas and other venues around the world. You get to see things close up, get good sound production, comfy chairs, reasonable prices for major works, interviews with the stars. Altogether worth a look.

OK so they do this at the cinema in Sarlat - about 40 minutes away - and also in a Chateau even more locally. As we happened to be in the place where you could reserve tickets for the Chateau and that sounded really romantic let's give that a go. Opera/chateau/gardens/beautiful evening...................

And it was a really lovely evening. The chateau has renowned gardens and we arrived in plenty of time to get our tickets and have a walk around the garden which has a cliff top view of two major rivers with the valleys sprinkled with lovely farmhouses.

Now it begins to slip away.

The few people that were wandering around seemed to be dressed for a live performance of opera. Very dressed up, very posh english accents braying across the lawns welcoming each other.

The room where the screen has been set up is a large stone walled room but not completely dark on this beautiful evening. The chairs are standard plastic with added very thin cushions - for a 3 hour performance. The screen is a roll down white one like Dad used to show slides on (bit larger but you get the picture).

The show is a live showing so we are all dutifully in place by 7 pm. And off we go...... And the sound is just slightly out of sync with the pictures - they look as if they are miming. They are also acting for the stage and we are seeing it close up.

The singing of the main male voice was lovely.

The subtitles for a french performance were, of course, in french even though the opera was sung in french. I had read a synopsis of the plot and told Him Outdoors but evenso we were struggling to know what was going on. Now ok maybe that doesn't matter much with opera since the plots are fairly silly anyway but ..............

So here we are sat in a room with no atmosphere, sound/mouths out of sync, no idea what's going on, stagey acting. Get to the end of the aria and everyone in the room claps......

Nope, sorry, just don't get it. But as Billy Connolly says "That's OK".

Thursday 7 April 2011

Dress Patterns

Someone mentioned that they were making a dress from a pattern and put up a 'vintage' Style dress pattern.

That's not vintage. I remember making that!

As a teenager we lived in a village about a 20 minute bus ride outside Cambridge and sometimes my Mum would spend the afternoon in town and I would meet her after school in the local Gordon Thodays. Gordon Thodays was a material and pattern shop that had an area set aside with stools and slopey tables where you could peruse the patterns.

I would have walked along the rightly named Long Road from school to the bus stop carrying a huge bag of books/games kit. Catch the 106 into town and walk into the shop to see Mum already there looking at the patterns. Dump all the stuff under the table and join her to assess the latest 'ensembles'.

We made pretty much all my clothes. She let me cut out my first summer cotton dress when I was about 9. We had to make a blouse at school in the 1 1/2 terms that were given over to dressmaking - way too hard for beginners and the wrong season for any choice of cotton fabric. I'm sure it put off most of the class.

In the material shop we must have already had a plan because we would search each of the huge heavy books. When we had decided we would huddle over the 'notions' required and the widths and lengths of fabric and head off to the material racks. Couldn't wait to get home and get the material laid out on the sitting room floor and painstakingly lay out all the required paper pieces the right way up with the right edges to folds of material. Lots of checking before making the first cut.

I remember I made a dress for my first school disco. A very 60s BIBA number in purple. Only to find when I got to school that someone else had made the same dress in the same fabric but they'd done more of the optional twiddly bits so I felt very inferior. Even thinking 'well I look better in it than her' didn't really help....

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Who am I writing this for?

One of the reasons we decided to get an older dog was that if it was older it wouldn't last so long if it all turned out to be a horrible mistake.

There are endless reasons for and against all ages and sorts of dogs and this was definitely taken into consideration. As against the vets bills involved in an ageing dog.

Put bluntly that sounds to me really unfeeling and unkind especially in the world of dog rescue where the main criterion seems to be an unlimited devotion to dogs. To me it is just a realistic decision in a world of which we have no experience.

But I find my need to seek approval from the world and be 'nice' is still at the top of my head even in my blogging space.

This afternoon Him Outdoors has taken Sweety off on a long walk and I have exactly the same feeling as when he used to take whichever kids we had swimming and I have some space................................... bliss


This week we have become the slightly hesitant owners of Sweety.

She is a ten year old french labrador retriever cross. Not a cross labrador retriever at all, bless her. She is a Sweety.

We have never had a dog in the family before and as is our way with decisions, have talked about having a dog in a general way for years and then done an 'oh go on then'. She was advertised on a website that hopes to join up dogs needing new homes with people needing new dogs. We have gone 'aaaah' at various puppies with soulful eyes but then decided that for a first effort we would be better off with a dog that knew what it was doing.

Sweety has been in a french home for ten years. Obviously well trained and eager to please. Then, apparently, one of the adults died, family downsized and dog put in the pound. From there she was rescued by Melissa who takes on two at a time that aren't obviously going to be rehomed from a viewing in the pound, and has them in a sort of half way house while she discovers what sort of personality they have and what they will need from their new home.

After a bit of tooing and froing with emails, we decided to go and meet Melissa and Sweety. This was talked about as coming to see Sweety to see if she was what we wanted but the assumption from the start was that we would take her with us. We went for a walk and had lunch with lots of chat and advice and then were sent off home with Sweety, a bag of food and a list of instructions. (And an email address and telephone number.)

Huge feeling of 'what have we done' and responsibility.

By the time we got home, we were all exhausted although she was as good as she could be in the car. But Sweety slept through the night and so far so good.