Jock had to be at the poodle parlour at 9am, then collected again at mid-day. Gave the dogs a quick run up the granite cross at 8.10 with the intention of setting off at 8.30. However, 8.10 happened to be the same time that the son of the neighbour at the back (Parisiennes on August vacance) was just leaving to give his dog a run (yes, a run, not a walk). Sprock was on his lead so didn't give chase, but Jock did. Eventually found him again about half an hour later slowly panting his way up from the hillside path beyond the cross. So we didn't leave 'til 9. Had to offer a grovelling apology to the haircutter who'd been patiently waiting for 25 mins. Very embarrassing.
With a couple of hours to kill, I thought I'd nip down to Aubusson market (Saturday's market day), have a look round, swig a couple of coffees and generally take it easy. But..., I had Sprocket with me. Wouldn't be fair to leave the blighter in the back of the car (seemed quite hot even though it wasn't yet 10am) so I set off from the car park being towed by a dog that had only once before been in a bustling town and that was so long ago he probably can't remember. Poor lad, there was so much to take in: cars, people, sniffs at every lamp post and when we hit the market he'd never seen anything like it. The place was packed. Luckily no dogs. Felt a prod in my back - Isabelle, returning to her market stall. Bonjours done, Sprock and I headed for the caff down in the centre, taking the backstreets route. Passed a wall-mounted dog-poo bag dispenser and grabbed one, just in case. Couple of minutes later, Sprock did a little dump in a deserted back alley. Used the bag, chucked it in a bin and strolled on. Arrived at the sunny caff, sat at a table in its cobbled frontage, checked for dogs and watched the traffic cruise slowly past.
Five minutes later with no sign of being served, I ambled into the caff doorway where an old lady said the madame had just popped out for a few minutes. So I ambled up to the caff opposite the mairie. Parked myself outside at an end table and ordered a coffee. Normally this would be an extremely relaxing way of passing the time, but with an aggressive (only towards other dogs) terrier in tow it's far from being relaxing. I kept looking left and right, checking for people with dogs. Spotted one on a lead coming along the pavement opposite. And so did Sprock. His ears pricked and I heard a slight growl. Yanked his lead, grabbed the scruff of his neck and said "no". The dog passed by.
Minutes later, a van parked opposite in the mairie car park. Noticed a poodle-type terrier in the passenger seat. The driver got out, covered in tattoos, followed by the dog without a lead. Uh-oh. Joined his mates sitting at an outside table at the caff, luckily at the far end. Sprock, of course, had squeaked out a warning to the dog (not a bark). Next thing I know, the dog's under my table with Sprock going ballistic. Stood up and dragged Sprock off. Luckily, the tattooed git noticed and called his mutt away.
Legged it back to the car, drove home, had a tea, drove back to pick up Jock, drove back, grabbed a quick snack, got changed into my rags and prepared for an afternoon's hard graft - emptying the trailer of logs, wheelbarrowing them into the shed and stacking. Sounds easy enough, but by now the temperature was well into the thirties, with bright sunshine, not a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind. Great weather for swimming but not for logging. But the logging had to be done because Christian was turning up at 5.30 to take the trailer away and refill it with another load. By around 3pm the temperature had reached a sweltering 34° so I had a quick rest. Trailer was now half empty. Still a long way to go. At 5.30 the trailer was finally empty, just as Christian turned up. Phew!
Dogs had spent the afternoon panting in the shade and were ready for their late afternoon stroll. Wished I could have said the same myself but it had to be done. Had a quick wash, donned a dry teeshirt and headed off to the cool of the valley stream. Took a few snaps because I had a funny feeling the weather was about to change. Sure enough, this morning dawned cloudy and noticeably cooler. Thermometer read just 14° at 8am. Amazing difference from yesterday. Must have been the hottest day of the year.
P.S. - Just spotted a fab pic of my nephew on Facebook. Their wee Westie has been windsurfing for over ten years and is now quite an expert.
A Winters's Harvest
1 week ago