Friday, January 12, 2018

Meeting the Locals -- Brits

I woke up this morning, 4:45 a.m. to the whining of the dog who sleeps in his cage because he chews things when he's bored. I lay there for a minute in the dark and cold listening to his whines and his toenails scraping against the slick bottom of his kennel.
With my eyes open, I felt in the back of my throat a thick congestion. I cleared my throat but it returned immediately. I coughed and again the congestion returned. I closed my eyes. If only I could get up, go somewhere for a cup of hot tea or some decaf coffee, curl up with a book.
My nose picked up the scent from the floor below, wet dog, urine, and cat food. There was no place to go. Tears pricked at my eyes as Earl stirred.
"That's Marty," he said referring to the dog noise that continued.
"We'll take care of whatever mess he makes in the morning," I said, hoping I could go back to sleep.
"I'll check on him," Earl said between coughs.
I should have protested. He has been sick and is still coughing, but I let him shuffle out of bed, pull on shoes and climb down the spiral staircase to the dog kennel.
I heard him calling the dog outside after a bit. "Marty!" And then he whistled the dog whistle and I heard the door close firmly. A few minutes later, he climbed the stairs and climbed back into bed.
"He shit in his cage," Earl said. He had dragged the cushion out and replaced it with a worn dog bed in the living room. "Then he vomited outside."
A few minutes of silence followed.
"I left our breakfast pastries downstairs," he said. He'd placed the bags on a wine box on top of the counter. When we went downstairs, the bags and the pastries were scattered on the floor. There'd be no breakfast for us.
We dozed off and on, and when Marty began whining again at 7, I got up with him. He leaped over the Dutch door to race outside and relieve himself again.
But -- imagine the screeching of a record player needle. I need to stop the focus on the negative and share the positive.
The sun came out yesterday, lighting the sky and the fields.

We did some laundry and then went for a two and a half hour walk with Marty, following a path that wove through fields.
I wondered if we were in Ireland or France since the fields shone bright green in January.

We returned to the farm and I spent a few minutes with the mule.
Filou has been rolling in the mud. 
Then we prepared for dinner at some new friends' house. We met John and Kate (not plus 8) when John came to measure for a new fence at the farm. He is British and so is Kate. Kate married a Frenchman and moved to France. John brought his family to France because the property was so inexpensive. Both of them have since divorced and found each other. They showed up at the farm the other day and we drank an entire bottle of wine together while we talked in the middle of the afternoon.
They invited us to dinner, so we went.
What a relief to walk into their charming apartment with its red tomette tiles and silver chandelier. Kate admitted that they had spent the day cleaning since we were coming over and I protested that they hadn't need to do that, but it was such a relief from the filthy place we were staying. They had cleaned the couch that day and Kate worried that it might still be a bit damp, so we sat around the table, admiring John's sword collection on the wall and the Lord of the Rings figures arranged beneath. He even had a Smaug the Dragon wine aerator that he attached to the red wine, which we finished before moving on to the rose.
Kate had made pork pies for starters. Little pies cut into pieces stuffed with pork. Excellent.
For the main course, she made a pork roast stuffed with cheese in a delicious gravy and roast potatoes.
We promised to bring a dessert but were a bit disappointed in the pear tart we picked up at the patisserie. Next time we'll have to go earlier to find something chocolate.
We talked for a good three hours before we decided to make our way back to the animals. And, well, you know what happened overnight.
We knew some times in France would be difficult. I hope this is the hard part and that soon things are more tolerable.
Still, we're in France. We have all the time in the world to explore old villages
This is the village of Montmorillon -- allegedly the village of writers and bookmakers,
but it had no cafes where we could work and drink coffee. What do writers do in Montmorillon? 
 and sit at cafe tables wishing there was WiFi so we could work there.
Thanks for following along. Soon, I'll be in a place where I can write more and respond to your blogs rather than trying to escape a dirty house.


Anonymous said...

Courage! How much longer in Animal House?

Paulita said...

Just two nights then we're off!

Jeanie said...

I'm sorry your first house sitting experience is such a grim one. All the worse if you weren't forewarned about it in advance. You must be nearly done, perhaps finished by the time you read this comment. I'm sure the next one will be better because I'm not sure how it could be worse! At least you have made another new set of ex-pat friends and that's always a plus!

sillygirl said...

Stow your breakfast in the oven - unless the pets also know how to open that door.

Philippe said...

Bonjour Paulita ! The worst time is almost behind you.As you say not all things go right all the time.But I am pretty sure that when in Aix-en Provence you'd think peacefully to your Dream Home's project. Take care of both of you and have a good recovery.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Paulita What a nightmare your house sitting - Animal sitting is turning out to be. I am glad you are not on your own. That would of been disastrous, Good luck , with the rest of your time. x

Paulita said...

Thanks to everyone for your support. I'm hopeful this was our worst experience and now it is behind us. We're safely ensconced in my friend's apartment in Aix where I'm trying not to give her my cold, but trying to recover myself.

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