Okay… two days late. Better than last time!
It’s been a busy week already. One of those weeks where everything that can go wrong will go wrong. On Saturday, some fool decided to open my gates and let the dogs out. I caught up with that fool, who lied, and then confessed. Yes, she saw the dogs, yes she heard them. Yes she slid the latch back. Yes she opened the gate. Yes, she closed it behind the three dogs that got out. Really, I should have a sign on the gate. I guess the right thing to say would be ‘Attention aux chiens’ or ‘chiens en liberté’ but if you can’t see there are four dogs loose, then a sign like that isn’t going to make the blindest bit of difference. Maybe I need a no entry sign. In four years, only a handful of people have ever come through those gates on the sly – and it does seem a bit over the top to have a ‘Dogs on the Loose’ and a ‘No Entry’ sign, when really I should have a sign that says ‘Idiots: None today, thanks.’
Luckily, I caught up with Ralf five minutes down the road. The cows that got loose a few weeks ago moved more quickly. Just as I’d rallied the search parties, cancelled my appointments, managed to find paperwork for one dog but not the other, then found the other, Amigo came sneaking back in. Then I saw Mr Heston’s fine feathery tail rooting around Mr Richon’s bins. He managed to avoid being run over, by my manic gesturing to the speedy drivers.
On Sunday, the manager at the refuge sent out an alert about a cocker spaniel that was due to be put down. This little six-year-old female, Daphie, had done nothing wrong, just had been attacked by the owner’s other dog, and the owner had taken her to the vet to have her put down. The vet called Nanou, the directrice, and Nanou put out the alarm. The owner had, quite perversely in my opinion, decreed that the dog couldn’t go to the refuge, and if no home was found in 48 hours, she would have to be put down.
I spent Sunday morning sharing her story and then fielding calls from all over France saying they would take her in… it does restore your faith in humanity. I needed a bit of faith-in-humanity restoration after the arson attack at Manchester Dogs’ Home in which 60 dogs perished on Thursday. I felt quite empty on Thursday night, and only five hours’ hard labour at the refuge on Friday made up for it in any way. Dog kisses have a way of making things a bit better. Finding a home for that little cocker was the least I could do to set the balance right in the universe. On Monday, I went to pick her up and drop her with her new foster home (and hopefully an adoption will follow) – she is just delightful. She is a tiny little girl and the sweetest little thing – a real happy little dog.
But… on my way back from dropping off Daphie, my engine management light came on. Cue generalised panic and worry. Luckily, the very fab Honda Angouleme man fixed it in an afternoon – and I know business in France often takes a hit for being slow and difficult (hands up whoever has stood for an hour waiting for service in an otherwise empty shop?) but I have always found the mechanics to be really proud of what they do and to take real care in providing a reliable and economical service. Still, it wasn’t cheap, but at least no little orange light of engine doom.
The rest of the week has been gardening central. The weather has been just glorious – though storms tonight – and I’ve been adding to my compost heap. Pruning mad. The last of the fruit is ready to be brought in and I think it’ll be back to grape jelly for this year’s meagre harvest. August was too cool to be of much use, but dry as well. No idea what the big boys of Cognac will say about this year’s harvest, but if you ask me, it’ll be a poor one. Hazelnuts are finished. Walnuts are coming in. The seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago are going great guns and hopefully I’ll be able to overwinter them safely enough.
2014 is definitely on the turn. The dahlias are the only flowers still going strong. My aspens have decided the year is over and even the final apples are ready to go.
As for the rest of the week, I’m hoping for good weather to make sure I can crack on with gardening before it’s too late to do anything useful. The dogs, as ever, are pretty useless at gardening.
Yes, that’s a leaf on Tilly’s head. She doesn’t even care.
Anyway, I best get on with lesson planning for the morning!