Thursday, 22 June 2017

Woodland Foraging

which way round for luck?

This morning Rick took us up past Monsieur Hichard’s farmhouse, past the teacher’s house and up into the chestnut woods overlooking our hamlet.  Our new walking boots felt very comfortable. The  first thing we found was a shiny horse shoe, I think it had only recently been thrown. I picked it up and brought it home to hang on the barn door, they are supposed to bring you luck aren’t they?

Then I noticed the spotted woodland slug feasting on a mushroom.  It reminded me of the hookah smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. There were mushrooms everywhere.  I gathered a few that looked edible to take home, I shall check with Philippe to see if they are okay to eat.

extraordinarily large slug on a mushroom

are they safe to eat?

new draught excluder for the door

petunia display on the barn wall

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Who Let The Dogs Out

Philippe, our neighbour, has four dogs.  When they are not locked up in his kennels they are left to roam and explore the neighbourhood.  They are all bitches and they are all madly in love with Rick. This morning we set off for our early walk and were immediately joined by the chasse hounds, Diane and Sybelle.  Rick was not in the slightest bit fazed, even though we had to keep him on his leash while the others ran loose.  We adjusted our route to stay away from the roads as the other dogs do not have good road sense.  I rather hope this doesn’t become a regular pack walk.

On the way home the sole of my trainer started to come apart, I ended up having to walk in a most peculiar manner as I flipped and flopped along.  I might try and mend it with some super glue but as they are nearly a decade old we decided to take a quick trip to the shoe shop this afternoon (nothing else to do in this heat) and buy ourselves some sturdy walking boots.  I have never owned a pair of proper walking boots in my life!  The ones I bought are very comfortable but look like they belong on a building site!  

The temperature has reached 36 degrees outside.  We have the fans running indoors and are considering switching on the air con unit.  Unfortunately I have just discovered a bat sleeping on the window sill; this is the window that has been modified for the air con unit outlet hose and I can’t bring myself to disturb him. I might have to get myself a cold beer instead.

bat on the window sill

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Early Morning Walk

Rick is keen to go

Another early morning walk, down the hill, through the farmer’s wheat field and into the shade of the chestnut woods.

There are clusters of beehives everywhere amongst the chestnut trees at the moment, and the bees are buzzing away collecting nectar from the flowers.  We are careful to keep Rick well away from the hives.


sign warning of bee danger
The heat feels oppressive this afternoon, we are all indoors now waiting for the relative cool of the evening before we venture outside again.

home in sight

Monday, 19 June 2017

Hot Dog

I like it hot but not this hot.  The thermometer is showing 35 degrees but there is a strong wind so it feels much hotter.  We have slunk indoors this afternoon to keep cool.

We were up early today, just after six.  We took Rick for his morning walk through the woods and then we left him at home and set off for a 45 minute cycle ride.  This was the first time we had left him for any length of time so it was a bit of a test.  When we returned he was stretched out by the door and seemed perfectly happy.  No barking or whining.  So I’ve had my fair share of exercise today – walking, cycling.  Just need to have a swim this afternoon and that would make my triathlon complete!  Or I could just stay slumped on the sofa and write my blog!

Rick loves his tennis ball

I noticed this morning that ‘Appy, Mr Escalier’s dog, has been shorn of his shaggy coat.  I’ve been concerned that Rick will become too warm in this heat with his long coat but I don’t want to send him off to the groomers until we know him better.  However, since doing some research I feel a lot happier about leaving him shaggy for the time being.  Apparently their long coats give them insulation against the heat and sun.  I just need to groom him regularly to keep his coat fluffy.

Rick doesn’t jump up on the furniture but somehow he managed to get himself onto Paul’s lap this afternoon.  He starts off with one paw, then two paws, and gradually creeps forward until he’s completely up. Not a great way to stay cool!

Sunday, 18 June 2017


On Friday, while waiting to collect Rick from the refuge, we had lunch in Cahors at the Auberge des Gabares.  We sat outside on a lovely wisteria clad terrace overlooking the River Lot. (Gabares are the old sailing barges that were one used to transport goods along the river, nowadays they just transport tourists).

The last time we ate at this auberge, tucked away up a flight of stairs, we were greeted by a rather gruff old host who plonked a bottle of red wine in front of us and barked “boeuf ou porc?”  The subsequent meal was an absolute banquet with tureens of soup and cheese platters passed from table to table.  The auberge has now been taken over by a young couple after the previous owners retired and they follow a similar theme although there is now a small a la carte menu if you don’t want the dish of the day.  We had a delicious quiche followed by fish pie, then a generous selection of cheeses and finally a fantastic choice of desserts (I had strawberries and panna cotta).  Fifteen euros each!

After lunch we wandered past the cathedral and through the old, narrow streets of Cahors.  A new bronze statue, L’Ange de Lazaret, has been installed outside the cathedral, rather grotesque but still fascinating.

The sculptor, Marc Petit, quotes:

These old faces and bodies are not decay; on the contrary, it shows a vision of a loved one.  This is not torment.  When you get older the bodies are transformed and through it there is also a beauty
The cost of this installation, just a mere 150,000 euros.  
I like walking these back streets; I call it the sewing quarter because there is a big, old fashioned fabric store and then further on several artisan studios producing haute couture.  I felt a little under dressed in my shorts and t-shirt covered in muddy paw prints. We don’t visit the city very often so it was a pleasant interlude. 

(Rick seems to be enjoying his new home, it is very hot this afternoon so right now he is indoors, stretched out on the terracotta tiles having a snooze.)