Walks and Christmas Lunches

It’s that time of year when my life goes like this… Sleep. Make Fire. Have Breakfast. Walk Dogs. Have Christmas Lunch. Teach. Sleep. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a little busy at the moment, though I can’t complain about Christmas lunches.

Well, maybe I can a little. Today, I had a thing for my dessert that I guess was supposed to be a panna cotta of a flavour or other but resembled jelly made with carnation milk and tasted like lightly flavoured bra inserts. Whatever you hear about catering and food in France, it’s not ALL true. What made up for it was the fantastic company. Although I was dry-humped by a couple of ladies and I still feel a little dirty. One of them said I was ‘comfy for twerking.’ That’s a worrying thought. Is twerkable even an adjective? Spell-check says no.

Twerking, for those of you not in the know, is a weird, sexual display girls do for boys now when they dance. Forget what your parents told you about disco dancing being the ruin of a good maid, or a jive leading to fornication. Twerking just puts it right out there on the table in a vaguely unappealing way, a bit like my flaccid panna cotta.

Miley Cyrus popularised the twerk this year with an entirely unappealing ‘dance’ for my current nominee for Man-I’d-Most-Like-To-Vomit-Over, Robin Thicke, a smarmy Simon Cowell Canadian fella who did a terrible song called ‘Blurred Lines’ which I’m just waiting for some date rapist or other to quote in court. That’s one hell of a sentence.

In fact, should you want to, if you google ‘Twerk’ you will see the adorable Ms Cyrus on most of the images. She took a stripper dance to a whole new level. I hope her epitaph makes that clear. Mind you, if blogging existed in the 16th Century, probably some old prude was saying that about the Waltz.

You can imagine my dismay, then, to be twerked (and once when I was not looking) by two rather upstanding members of the community here in France. Sometimes, I’m surprised we don’t get thrown out of more places.

Anyway, that’s one Christmas lunch down and about ten to go. In the New Year, I shall mostly be dieting, I imagine. Although if today’s pink dessert was anything to go by, I won’t have put on much weight.

The other part of my day has been racing out to walk Heston and Tilly. I regularly sign up to online goal tracking activities where you set a challenge and then record your progress. Last year, I set one and managed about 80%. This year, my target was to walk a minimum of 15km a week with the dogs – something I’ve done 9 out of 10 times so far. Plus, I’ve walked 200 km in 10 weeks. That’s from here past Poitiers. I’m pretty impressed.

Of course, it was not made easier by Heston’s escapade the other week and I’ve dialled it back a notch in terms of routes. There’s no way I can give him enough exercise on a lead, not even if I did 35km a week and exercises between. That means it was back to basics with recall training, so we’ve started whistle training. He’s okay as long as it’s not too stimulating, so no more forest for a while. We’ve been doing very ordinary routes, like this one.

IMG_0026Cutting through fields on tracks means I can keep an eye on him, keep an eye on any potentially interesting things (though he gave good chase to a hare on Monday – and bless Tilly, my American cocker, who has no chase urge in her body, even she got excited and ran after it, back legs a-flying) and it’s outside, but it’s not too stimulating. Heston can manage to pass cows without barking at them, can now ignore crows, his former bête noire and can run in his usual big strides up and down the paths without ever going out of eyesight.

On the minus side, these paths are often exposed to the elements and a little cold.

The good thing is that they are extremely well marked and very well planned. And even though they might not be my usual woody scenes, they’re not unpleasant.


This one is at the top of my village, which essentially sits in a long valley about 2km across, carved out by the Tardoire. On either side of the commune, there are gentle hills and flat prairies. You really do feel like you are at the top of the world. I guess the elevation is about 130 metres – so nothing to speak of!

Many of the paths are part of the departmental plan of itineraries and routes and are well marked.

IMG_0144And the forest itself is split into segments, all of which are marked out. Useful if you have a map of the parcels of forest land.

And if you don’t, the instructions are pretty clear. Three paths here. If you’re following green or blue signs, you’re going the wrong way! White or red, straight ahead!

IMG_0145But though it seems pretty straightforward, it catches me out from time to time, mostly when I think I know where I am going and I really don’t. Luckily, I now know the roads well enough to know where I’ve come out and which way to walk, but even so, I’ve sometimes come out in places I was totally not expecting to and then ended up with a longer walk than I anticipated.

Still, it has been good walking weather recently, even though it is cold, and despite my deliberate choices of less stimulating places to go, Heston seems to be enjoying them anyway. The only time he disappears is when there are trees, and then it’s more like I can’t see him and he doesn’t respond, but he might only be 100 metres away or so. I am desperately trying to work out all manner of routes through fields and down tractor trails instead of forest walks, though, which is a bit of a shame.

Anyway, today it is all teaching and no Christmas lunches. Tomorrow there are a couple of markets on and I will be hanging around those admiring the works of my talented friends.


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