Dog Days

Today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you by the great sounds of 80s disco with The Communards and Never Can Say Goodbye

There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let go of 2013 because it’s been such a very, very good year. I’ve done lots of amazing things and had one of those years where it seems most things have been good. That is a good thing because it seemed like the year began in the most rubbish of ways, with the death of a friend and then this permanent, long, dreary winter that seemed to stretch on for ages and ages and ages.

Mostly, it has been a year where my life in France has put down roots. If before, I was some little year old sapling that could have blown over in a storm, now I feel well and truly rooted. I can safely say I know where I am now. Three years in any place (well, jobs wise!) has been enough to send me running for the door and I seem to have been on this endless three year loop. Three years in my first teaching job. Three in my second. Three in my third. One in my fourth. Three on my own in England. And now three here. And now, I’m pretty sure I have found the place and time I want to be in, surrounded by the people (or some of them!) that I want to be surrounded by (though I would do anything to uproot my friends and family from back home and drop them in just up the road!)

I’ve been out for a good few Christmas lunches over the last couple of weeks and each one has felt like those Christmas lunches you have with a group of people you feel very comfortable with, where you are so relaxed and in sync with each other that you do nothing but cry laughing. If I missed anything about working on my own, that was it. That sense of fun you get from spending a lot of time with a group of people who come to know you very well indeed. Of course, when they are friends rather than work colleagues, you don’t have to put up with the whiney ones or the lazy ones. That’s even better.

And I have a few days without work over the Christmas period, where I get not only to spend it with friends whom I love dearly, a pair of maracas and my doglets, but to have a bit of time to do something I wish I had more time to do… dog walks!

Today, I took the Heston biest and the Tilly out for a wander early doors. Tilly impressed a solitary hunter out with his beagle as she flushed out yet another bird – a partridge this time. Four birds in two weeks. She’s getting good at this. Not only that, but she always remembers where they were last and gives a good hunt around some well-known pheasanty dwellings. I think he wanted to swap his beagle for Tilly.

Then I met up with Madame V. And Much Love to Madame V who has taken a puppy home for Christmas, as well as an old lady dog with arthritis. She is a one-woman rehoming MACHINE. I reckon she has rehomed a puppy every two weeks this year. I’m surprised there is anyone without a puppy in this area. Obviously, she started with me, since I am a soft target, and convinced me to take Heston. But if you want a dog, she is the woman to know.

We went down to the dog refuge in Mornac again this afternoon to walk a few doggies and for her to pick up Priska, the old lady lab, and a puppy. I think she should call the puppy Pedro. She said that was a silly name for a dog. I did find two huge versions of Heston – one who looked like he had been severely mistreated and was in a pen on his own. I guess he is bullied by other dogs on top of his other problems. I palmed old Vito off on a lady who met up with us there and hopefully she had a good walk with them. For every dog we took out, I got the bouncy puller and Verity got the calm and gentle one. Either that or I just have a way of making dogs over excited. It wouldn’t surprise me. The two big Hestons are called Iron and Geronimo. I might swap one for Tilly, give her to the hunter man to find pheasants, as she currently has her head in a bag of dog food, even though she has just been fed.

Anyway, I shall be down the refuge all week except for Christmas Day. One thing is for sure – I need gloves! I have big blisters on my hands and my body is in need of a bit of TLC!

It is hard to leave though – I can’t lie. Every time I go, I fall in love and wonder at how dogs can end up in pounds and refuges, abandoned or alone. Still, there were plenty of people there today picking up cats and dogs, walking various animals and helping out in every way they could. I guess that’s another thing that has helped me find my roots – lovely dogs!

And, from here on in, the days get longer, the nights get shorter. What is there not to love?

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