dimanche 10 juillet 2016

There is nothing like a Dane

Its true, as the movie South Pacific almost says, that there is nothing like a Dane. We have been finding out the truth of this adage over the last few weeks.
  Kim has had the ambition to own a Dane for many years but we never had the funds or the space to offer one of these impressive dogs a home. I must admit that I had major doubts over whether we could manage such a large hound but as Kim had promised that she would be responsible for walking him together I agreed we could give it a try.
    I must admit that our Great Dane, Rufus, has been far less trouble than I thought, in fact, taking his enormous size into account, he is a very easy dog to manage, even though Kim's broken arm problems prevented her from helping as much as she would have liked at first. He is very affectionate, loves to be made a fuss of, and is devoted to Kim. We acquired an old sofa-bed for him to lie on but he prefers to be nearer us, preferably in between us on our sofa, where he curls up small to fit in. He doesn't chase the cats, gets on well with Laika, doesn't stray if walked off lead, in fact is far less trouble than Laika! People meeting him for the first time are naturally apprehensive of him, but ten minutes with him converts even persons nervous of dogs,he's just so aimiable.
     There are differences between Danes and ordinary dogs however. We were warned by the Dane Rescue association where we found him, that Danes are subject to 'bloat', their digestion is so slow that they mustn't be allowed to bolt their food .
Rufus has a special feed bowl with sort of nubbins incorporated, which force him to eat slowly. The bowl has to be at chest night, we have converted an old metal chair frame for this. He must wait an hour or so after eating before exercising, too. We have done all this and have not had any problems. He is also infected with Leichmaniosis(don't know how to spell this!) as are many dogs from the south, it's a disease spread by sand flies. He takes a pill prescribed for humans for gout and shows no symptoms.
  He does have another habit which I have never known in a dog-- he purrs! It`s true, when he is in his favourite spot on the sofa, curled up between us, he purrs like an enormous cat! His purring is not quite like a cat`s, he makes a sort of low moaning or sighing of contentment that expresses the same emotion as a cat on a lap.So sweet!

   Bye for now, going to sit with our dog.


vendredi 8 juillet 2016

Return from the mountains.

   Well, here we are back home again after our annual trip to the Pyrrenees. It's good to be home, even though we both enjoy our time at Aucun at the Camp des Aines. However, this year things were a little difficult for several reasons.
The first was an unavoidable delay in arrival, as I had a specialist`s appointment at Niort on the day we should have travelled down. We decided to pack the car and go straight on after the appointment . As we had the three dogs and their kit in the van, we had to take the bare minimum of clothes. We would stop for the night just south  of Bordeaux .

   The second difficulty concerned poor Jilly. She had been illa short time before, panting a lot and seeming short of breath. Our vet diagnosed a serious illness, a lymphoma, which was likely to prove fatal in the future but he prescribed some pills to make her more comfortable so we hoped she could enjoy one last trip to the mountains,which she had always enjoyed .
  Sadly, it was not to be. The day was very hot, and Jilly became distressed. We stopped at a rest area where there was some shade so she could rest but she collapsed beside the van and died after a few minutes.....
   We decided to carry her on wth us into the mountains, where we could lay her to rest in peace.
   After this unhappy start, things could only get better and in fact we were able to enjoy our stay as we always do, meeting old friends and making some new ones, too. The weather was a little misty at first, but improved later and we were able to enjoy some notable outings in the dramatic mountain scenery, notable one afternoon at the Col d'Aubique. Of course, neither Kim with her broken arm, nor myself still lacking stamina after my stroke last October, could walk as far as in previous years but we did manage some strolls.
   At the end of Camp, we went on to stay with our friends Arlette and Laurent at Orthez, who lent us a caravan in their garden, where we were most comfortable, besides feeding us like kings!
  Now, we have returned home to the plain, happy to be back and feeling more relaxed after our holiday. I'll post a few more photos when I log back onto the mainframe.
Rufus at the Col d`Aubique.

   Bye for now.
Our home from home at Orthez

lundi 13 juin 2016

An ill fated trip to Lille

On the 26th May, we set out to visit our friends at Lille to celebrate a 90th birthday with a barbecue. We had hesitated to undertake the trip due to the fuel blockade, but had filled the van's tank to the utmost and Patrick had assured us that, even if  there was a problem in reprovisioning in Lille, we could get fuel in Belgium, only a few kilometres away.
  However, things did not go smoothly from the start. Even to reach Poitiers took ages, as the forains were en colere over some grievance and were blocking the motorway. The Police wouldn't let us join the A10 and advised us to go to Chatelleraut by the N10 and take the motorway after that.

 Arrived there, and decided to have some lunch at the service area before taking the motorway. As we made our way to the restaurant, Kim tripped on a curb and fell heavily, landing on her right arm. She couldn't get up for a few moments, then we were assisted by the very kind people from the services, who helped us into the restaurant area. They wanted to send for the Pompiers and get us sent to Tours hospital but Kim felt she would be OK after a rest and we ate a snack. But it was clear to her that she had damaged the wrist, but we decided to continue to Lille and ask Cecile to take her to hospital there for an X-ray and treatment, as Cecile is a Nurse and would know the routine. So that was what we did, although C took her to Roubaix hospital, where her contacts smuggled her in the back door for VIP treatment!
  After a very pleasant weekend and a barbecue neatly fitted in between the rain showers, we returned  home with Kim's arm plastered and in a sling, so it's just as well I can drive again...after a couple of weeks, the plaster has been changed for a lighter resin one, but Kim's arm is still very painful needing lots of painkillers, which make her sleepy. You can see, therefore, why at first she couldn't walk her Dane as promised but lately she has been able to accompany me as we walk the dogs off to the leash on quiet paths.

Papy Julien lights his candles
Bye for now, phone's ringing!
The barbecue is lit

samedi 11 juin 2016

Canine news-- New Ark Crew

    Well, it's finally happened, Kim has realised her lifetime 's ambition to own a Great Dane. A rescue organisation has offered her a rescued Dane found wandering and malnourished and restored to health through their care. More importantly, she persuaded me we could look after the enormous beast, she promised she would accompany us on our walks to control the behemoth. We introduced the other two dogs in the organisation 's pound and they seemed to get on well, so we were able to return home with Rufus.
  As you can see from my photo, he is huge, and in fact weighs more than I do! However, he is a very docile and placid individual and has been very little trouble. We bought him a special sofa of his own, which at first he used, but having fallen in love with Kim, he prefers to lie on our large sofa, curled up between us. He doesn't pass unnoticed if we are in public, more than one French citizen has remarked, 'Ah, la vache!'  and we don't know whether it's an exclamation or if they think we are leading out a Fresian heifer... He loves riding in the car, so we were able to take him on our trip to visit our friends in Lille a fortnight ago. Unfortunately, the trip was ill-starred, and led to Kim being unable to keep her pledge to look after her dog all on her own. I'll tell you all about our unfortunate adventures in my next blog, it needs one all to itself

  Bye for now, I need a further cup of coffee.

mercredi 18 mai 2016

Sad news. Segoline has passed on

No, not Mme Royale, but someone dearer to our hearts, our elderly ewe. She has been ailing for some time, arthritis in her front legs, losing weight and condition. Still, with a little help to stand up, she carried on. She was sheared recently, and this seemed to rejuvenate her for a while, but it didn't last and she died last night, just missing a vets appointment today. I doubt if the vet could have done more than ease her passing.....

 Bye Sego, you were a good old sheep and your daughter Rosie lives on to remind us of you.

 Bye for now, drinking a cuppa in your memory

lundi 16 mai 2016

The French and car names

    It's a strange phenomenon -- the French love to give their cars names with an English flavour. Perhaps it is to sell their vehicles abroad, to give them credibility in English-speaking countries?  But it is an endearing tendency of the French, that they slightly distort English words,for example, a car park becomes a parking, a dry-cleaner a pressing. Car names are no exception . Renault has both a Jumper and a Jumpy, both giving a quite different impression to English ears-- woolly or nervous? The Duster does not bring to mind a virile, off-road four-wheel-drive vehicle but a cleaning-rag, called a chiffon in French. The oddly-named Trafic brings to mind being caught in a jam...I don't know what the Step-way is meant to imply but it doesn't inspire me to buy one. Why don't the motor manufacturers run their new names past a native-speaker before making themselves just a tiny bit ridiculous?
  Bye for now, off to drive my Berlingo Bivouac

samedi 14 mai 2016

Re-stocking of the Book Reserve

   Guess where we`ve been today? You're right, it's to the spring edition of the Hope Book Sale. We spent a very pleasant day there, having first picked up our friend Agnes from Chef Boutonne. As you can see from the photo, there were enough boos there to delight the heart of any bibliophile, and at a Euro apiece, you can indulge yourself  without feeling profligate. We came away with 35Euros worth between us, not a bad haul as you can see below.
   Of course, there are other attractions there, such as the fish and chips van, plus loads of interesting stalls and we had a good wander round. Kim brought some plants, we filled up on fish and chips, plus cake and a cuppa, very welcome as the weather was a bit cool. Now we're back, looking forward to reading some of our new acquisitions. And the cherry on the cake is, that the Fair brings in lots of funds for the Hope Association, to help in their work to rescue needy cat and dogs.