Thursday, 25 August 2016

It must be the heat

I have just shed tears over a dead mouse. 

We had just showered after our morning cycle ride and I was dressing in the bedroom.  I looked up and saw a mouse scuttle along the edge of the bath in the en suite.  I squealed, as women tend to do, and slammed the bathroom door shut.  Paul came upstairs to find out who was murdering me and seemed unperturbed by the news of the unwelcome guest in the bathroom. 

“I’ll sort it later, I’m in the middle of making a tomato sauce for lunch.”

I finished dressing, cleaned the bathroom and as I was standing at the basin washing my hands the little devil ran across my feet.  Again I squealed and fled the bathroom.  Paul didn’t even bother to come upstairs this time.  I told him the intruder was much bigger than a mere mouse and must surely be a rat!  He continued to make the tomato sauce.

I went outside into the garden, and picked more tomatoes.  Paul took some mouse traps up to the bathroom .  When he came downstairs he was not happy.  I had left the tap running in the bathroom and nearly flooded the house.  Oops!  The temperature was still rising and a hot wind was blowing from the south, too hot for lunch outside today.  

We ate indoors in the cool gloom, the tomato pasta was delicious.  While I was clearing the lunch things Paul came downstairs carrying a dead mouse.  Not a rat, just a poor little mouse.  I don’t know why I cried. It must be the heat.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Dog Attack

"Shall we cycle to Bonaguil today?"

"Are you crazy – it’s going to be 35 degrees by eleven o clock."

"We’ll be back long before then."

"Okay, let’s do it."

We set off just after 8.00 a.m.  Through the woods and out onto a rough gravel and sand track, it’s a short cut to the road we wanted.  Ahead of us was a jogger with his two dogs running loose.  We carefully passed the jogger with a cheery bonjour.  He half-heartedly called his dogs but they had other ideas.  Two cyclists were fair game and those ankles and shapely calves looked like a tasty meal.  Unfortunately we could not outpace the dogs as we were now on a steep incline and the loose stone did not make for easy riding.  No matter how fast we pedalled we could not lose the snapping, barking animals.  Should I stop and attempt to pacify them?  Not on your nelly, one of them may have been a playful chihauhau but the other beast definitely had a look of pit bull about him.  

The adrenaline finally gave us the surge we needed and as we crested the hill we finally managed to lose the little devils.  After that our ride was relatively uneventful and we were home by 10.15 a.m.

We had lunch on the terrace (salad followed by raspberries and delicious ripe plums from the garden) and have been chilling out on the terrace this afternoon listening to some jazz.  It’s not a bad life.  I'm just thankful my ankles are still in one piece.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016


Today we rode high and marveled at the beautiful green countryside all around, chestnut forests and sunflower fields as far as the eye could see, with the occasional chateau thrown in for luck.  We dropped down a steep road into town and stopped at a railway level crossing just as the bells starting ringing and the gates closed.  I waved to the driver as the local two-carriage train trundled by.  I was rewarded by a toot.  I always wave at trains.  Paul pretends he is not with me. 

railway crossing at Sauveterre

We stayed fairly close to the railway line as we headed up the valley passing several railway cottages at signal crossings. (Many of these properties were sold by the French national railway after automation of the barriers.) The householder of one these cottages was reclining in a deckchair enjoying the sunshine, oblivious to the busy road just a few feet away.  The garden is a very narrow strip of land sandwiched between the railway line and the main road and the scene reminded me of a crazy film I watched once on a long flight. 

scene from Home (2008)

The film was called Home and I watched it because it was the only one available with sub-titles, albeit in French.  It was about a family whose rural life was upended when a major highway just a few yards from their property, constructed 10 years before but apparently abandoned, is finally opened. The elder daughter continues to lead her life of sunbathing out on the front lawn in her bikini, despite attracting unwanted attention from passing motorists.  It was a completely off the wall film with hardly any dialogue but seeing that guy in his deckchair today reminded me of it.

Monday, 22 August 2016

An Evening of Culture

On Saturday evening, feeling suitably mellow after whisky and chocolate, I was flicking through the tv channels and chanced upon the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. The orchestra had just started playing Ravel’s Bolero and I was suitably entranced, humming along to that famous melody.  Wonderful stuff.  This was then followed by Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3.  Well, I’m sorry but I just couldn’t stay with it.  The young Uzbek pianist, Behzod Abduraimo, gave it his all, squirming away on his stool, fingers flying across the piano keys.  To me it was just a series of unrelated crescendos; I did not shiver or tremble, it did not move me to tears, I just didn’t feel the passion.  I couldn’t even hum along to it.  I realised I had got bored with the piece when I started studying the hair styles of the musicians.  Each time the pianist stopped playing and I mentally started clapping he would start up again.  It went on forever.  Paul googled the concerto.  It lasts for about forty minutes.  We switched over and watched the Taekwando on the Olympics instead.


There has been a lot of curtain twitching going on here, well, there would have been if I had curtains at the window.  Joel appears to have moved in with Monique, our pretty French divorcee next door.  Yesterday he unloaded two vintage vehicles from a trailer, an American jeep and a bright red Alfa Romeo sports car.  Things are definitely hotting up around here.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Salon des Antiquaires

This weekend is the annual Salon des Antiquaires in our local town.  Paul and I decided to have a wander around although we knew we wouldn’t be remotely tempted to buy anything, especially at dealer prices.

Salon des Antiquaires

The first thing to catch my eye was an oversized pair of bronze lamps.  Tempting but I didn’t want the incense burner that was part of the set.   

We moved on. And then I saw them.  Love at first sight.  A pair of vintage red leather recliner chairs.  They were immaculate, and exceedingly comfy, complete with drinks holder.  
red chairs just visible in the background

The dealer wanted 2,500 euros. He mentioned a French designer. We ummed, we aahed, we ummed a bit more.  And then we walked away.   They might still be there tomorrow.