Author: sallymckenzieblog

Dead Cat Passed, Sick Puppy Found

6BF3469A-BDCE-4108-9E0D-AD268BC6C0D1Sunday morning Colin went out to help get ready for the local road race so I stayed home with Mo and did yoga.  When Colin returned I left with him as we were getting a BBQ lunch at the Renault dealer where the race is starting and finishing.  We had very tasty sausages, as well as pate and chips, and a small glass of cognac aperitif.

3FF1F9F1-CCF6-48BD-B007-148D8BA6B762Before the races started Colin and I drove around the circuit so I could choose where to park my chair and take photos from.  I ended up almost back at the Renault place at the roundabout partway up the final climb.

5608AFFC-F6F3-4F4B-9D2C-9076843CAA89The first half of the race was the ‘senior’ riders, and they were divided into two groups.  Colin drove the lead car for the second group, and they did 10 laps of the course. At one point there was a driver on the road when racers were coming – the stupid car slowed right down and was about to turn left into a driveway just as 3 riders caught up to it – if everyone hadn’t shouted and a couple of official cars honked it would have turned into the riders and crushed them.  As soon as the riders passed – unscathed, thankfully – the car pulled in and as the folks got out they seemed very displeased that they’d been honked at and yelled at.

3F5EE25C-738D-4AB9-8832-58E054877FACWhen the older racers were all done there was a second race for the younger riders, which were also split into two groups – this time I rode in the car with Colin.  At one point in the course there was a dead black and white cat in a field to the right of the road – we assumed that it was hit by a car and moved off the road.  I got to pass it at least 6 or 8 times – even when I averted my eyes I knew it was there.

9327B109-4B17-431B-A37B-FDA2C4C91B51Shortly after the finish Colin ferried me home so I could get dinner started while he went back to watch the podium presentations.

2CA2616C-6A23-47BC-A467-E8D849786A21I got everything in the oven – chicken, potatoes and carrots – and when I checked the progress about ½ hour later was surprised by the amount of smoke that billowed out – I’m amazed it didn’t set off the fire alarm.  I normally don’t cook using centigrade temperatures and was a bit off on my estimation of the heat I was using. The potatoes were slightly cremated as they were on the top rack, but looked edible, and the chicken and carrots were ok.

Monday morning we got out for a nice ride and on the way back Colin as usual got a bit ahead of me.  I passed him on a long straight stretch as he’d stopped to answer his phone so I continued on. Just as I approached Goue I saw a large dog sitting on the sidewalk up ahead – it was looking at me.  I stopped riding and turned around – the dog came forward as if it was going to come after me. I headed back to where Colin was and he had just finished his phone call and started riding again. I told him about the dog and as we got near we saw a local fellow that indicated that the dog lived down a side lane towards the river – it was actually quite shy and we passed by with no problem.

A little further on, just before the bridge into Mansle I saw Colin stop to help a little dog cross the road – it was crossing right in front of traffic so he set his bike down and picked up the little guy to get him safely to the other side.

BA38A4D8-02C1-43C5-8153-103624024455Looking down to the right of where we’d stopped were several cows in a field, with one by herself off in the bushes near the road.  They all looked like they were enjoying their eating, but the one in the bushes seemed especially happy.

It was almost noon so I rode ahead to the bar before it closed and Colin walked his bike while carrying the dog.

We asked at the bar if anyone recognized the little guy, but no one did.  He had a collar but no tag, and was extremely skinny. We drank our coffees rather quickly as they were about to close, then I rode back to the house while Colin again walked with the dog.  I ditched my bike at the house and grabbed Mo’s leash then ran back down the road to where Colin had stopped with the little one. He told me he’d named the dog Willie, and then he rode home while I took the dog on the leash.

B749B721-E32A-4568-A493-E59FFD809B1FBack at the house we tried to feed the little guy but he didn’t like Mo’s canned food – we finally got him to eat some of the little dried sausages that Colin gets for Mo.  We also noticed that his balls were very swollen and looked infected. He had an ear tattoo, but it was unreadable.

After a bite to eat we tried taking Willie to the local vet, Jack, but the office was closed for vacation until tomorrow.  We then went to the campground bar and the owner, Cassandra, said that someone else had found the little guy four days ago but must have lost him again.

4A1C543B-D358-48FE-A6D9-C3A247B7D19CWe ended up chatting for a bit with a couple of older British men – Max and Robin.  Back at home a bit later I made a really nice chicken soup – both of the dogs really liked the chicken I hand-fed them as I peeled it off the bones.  Colin went to the store and got a bag of dried dog food but Willie didn’t care for it. He did, however, really like the weiners that Colin cooked for him.

2E7676BB-C719-42EC-820C-B1A772684C61Willie gradually started to relax a bit, and even jumped on the couch and settled into the dog bed for a bit.  At bedtime he was perfectly happy to go downstairs with Colin and Mo for the night.

 

Wedding Joy at Home, Pet Sorrow in Ruffec

504A54E7-757E-4AEE-BC96-0812573FF8FDSaturday/15th – First and foremost – HAPPY WEDDING DAY!!! to my brother Doug.  He is lucky enough to have reconnected with his highschool sweetheart Gerri and they are tying the knot this afternoon in front of friends and family (except me – I’m there in spirit!).

D6CDF0B7-8E3F-40E2-A995-D1778970D57FFirst stop this morning over here was to the vet’s in Ruffec for little missy’s checkup.  We were a few minutes early so sat in the waiting room for a bit. There was a very large dog there already, and his owner – who was a youngish lady – had a bit of a challenge to keep him under control.  He wasn’t necessarily threatening, but was very energetic.

Not long after we had sat down an older lady came in with a cat in a carrier – the cat was crying piteously and drooling, and the lady was sniffling.  I asked her what was wrong with her kitty – was it going to be ok? And she said no – she had brought her in to have her put down – there was nothing they could do for her and she hadn’t been able to eat or drink anything for a week now.  It was a tough decision to have to make, but the cat was in pain and she couldn’t put her thru any more.

As we sat there in the waiting room she told us more bit by bit – she was British, as I had figured out since she was trying to soothe her kitty in english.  When she had first moved here 18 years ago the young cat just moved in with her. It had been injured and the older cat she already had looked after it and she’d had her ever since.

Talking about the kitty seemed to help the lady a bit, but she was still crying when we left.  I felt so sad – I’ve been through that myself and no matter how much you know that you’re relieving an animal’s suffering it’s still extremely hard and very sad.

A0CF43AD-6C14-48DC-BF56-BCC949BF07B2We went next to the market, which today was actually on.  There were several tables outside as well as inside the building.  I couldn’t find any kale or chard, so just got a few carrots and then we left.

DBA3196C-21A1-4CED-BC5D-70A5527FFB16We headed on to Aigre where Colin had to do a little business, then we sat down for a nice coffee.  Some Brits sat down at the table next to us and we ended up chatting about which drivers were worse – french or italian.  

B3936E40-8E0C-4D28-AEE0-820F0FBE8D41Afterwards it was still early enough that we had time to go home for a bite to eat and relax a bit before going out to Barro to see the photography exhibition.

 We had gone last year and it had been fantastic.  This year was, to say the least, a big disappointment.  I like black and white photography, but get a bit bored if 90% is b/w.  And also I don’t mind if the subject is a bit serious, but again when 90% is about war and refugees and migrants, then I must say it became a bit of a downer.

75E47553-DCC9-4A23-AD0C-6B34834CA97FThe most interesting exhibit was in colour, and showed the butchering and rendering of a pig from start to finish.  Part of that exhibit was in a barn that had several white work horses behind a wooden barrier. Another interesting one was all about birds – black and white, but very nicely done.

On our way home we stopped – guess where?  – at the bar for a pre-dinner drink. As we were sitting there we noticed a flea on Mo!  Colin caught and squished it, then noticed another, then another. He must have squished 10 or 12 in all, and figured she must have picked them up in the barn at the art exhibit.

5B43C6F2-E748-4A1D-A9D8-2C5F0095D7B0Imagine – depression and fleas for free all at the same place!  And I’m not kidding – last years’ show was very inspiring and uplifting, although some of the exhibits involved serious subjects, but this year was a really big downer.

Mo got a bath the moment she got home, and we had a nice bacon, egg, mushroom and fried potato dinner.

 

Flowers and Bin Paintings in Ruffec

Thursday morning was a bit foggy, and when it started to lift the sky was overcast, but we went for a nice bike ride anyway.  At one point I stopped to take a photo of a horse and her little one and they were somewhat uncooperative – while I was waiting for them to lift their heads Colin got a bit ahead of me.

4C864A67-12B7-4465-AFA1-DFA0E06DF9BEWhen I gave up trying to get the horses to pose for me I couldn’t see Colin anymore but by now I know my way around enough that I got back to Mansle ok.  I really like the long straight downhill now – my biggest issue is to keep my shoulders down and not clench up so much. I still haven’t gotten over 50 kph again but 46 is still pretty fast (for me).

Stopped at the bar for a nice coffee – Alain was there but was just about to leave.  Later in the afternoon I took Mo for another walk, and stopped by the campground pub – every time I go there a different person serves me and the wine is cheaper – this time it was only 1 euro per glass.

13D1954E-8D81-46D5-8B81-2BE2BC6A4908Neil went out for dinner while Colin and I went to the bar for our pre-dinner beverage, and this time Alain joined us again for another nice chat.  Back at the house later we had spicy meat patties, and I made mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese sauce – it was pretty good considering I haven’t made a cheese sauce in ages.

4368914E-643F-4633-9172-DE76C3119C4DFriday morning we headed up to Ruffec to check out the indoor market, but it wasn’t happening.  I’d never been in the actual city centre before and quite liked it – they’ve put in a bunch of large flower/plant arrangements around the main square in front of the city hall, and each one has at least one ‘bee house’.

8266E0ED-87E9-4F7C-9E7D-26C734B9ECB6There’s also some really cool paintings on the garbage/recycling bins in the area – Colin knows the lady that did them.

A74C3DAB-036D-45D7-823F-DE0B7A4E45497C4CEFE8-E0C0-498C-8DF4-E6C2BCCA6C88

Later in the afternoon we went, of course, for a drink at the bar – Alain arrived shortly after we did and we had yet another really nice visit.  He’s very interested in old cars and knows a fair amount about them.

On the way home we passed two of the local cats – they both watched Mo but didn’t seem too bothered by her.  I don’t believe they’re strays as they’re always around the same gate/entrance to one of the houses.

Rochefoucauld and French Gentlemen

On Tuesday after a nice ride followed by coffee at the bar, we decided that instead of going to the Charity Shop like we usually do we took a little trip to the town of Rochefoucauld.  

358609CA-4A6D-47E5-BE23-8A50A400843BThere’s a fabulous chateau there that’s still inhabited by the duchess – the family used to own half of southern France and were very close to royalty. I’d been through the town once before while driving with Colin in the cycling team car, but of course we weren’t able to stop at the time.

47147E79-8DC8-43CD-B1D8-D8A8C7839A89The chateau was closed for the day but we didn’t care – the town itself seems quite prosperous, as almost all of the stores on the main street were actually open rather than being boarded up and empty like many towns.

On the way home to Mansle Colin stopped by a friend’s place for an impromptu visit but Chris was expecting company so we just said a quick hello, turned around in his yard and left.

5AD9616D-3520-4B1D-BF01-976C9E65A1DDWe stopped at the bar for a drink and by the time we got home Neil had returned from his trip to the Alps – he had ridden up the Galibier (!!) and then done some work on water heaters at a hotel.  We had steak with roasted vegetables for dinner.

On Wednesday Neil spent the entire day attaching a tow-hook to Colin’s new car – it was far more complicated than I would ever have imagined.  While he was doing that Colin and I walked Mo down to the bar for a coffee, then Colin went out with the cycling team again while I took Mo for a longer walk down to the hippodrome and around the campground.

C1163359-DA03-4F9A-A266-E686D3353F48Colin returned from driving the team car then he and I headed back to the bar for a pre-dinner drink.  When we arrived there were no empty tables outside, so Sylvain (the owner) called out to an older french gentleman to ask if we could join him.

Alain said of course, so we sat down and got to know him a bit.  He’s extremely nice and spoke english very well – his ex-wife was British and she’s still his best friend.  He taught her French and Colin knows who she is and she’s a nurse at the hospital in Ruffec. We really enjoyed the visit with Alain and I’m sure we’ll see him again.

A1E37721-427E-4C04-994B-2748756D4780Also, once again I’m struck by how friendly and polite many of the french folks are – most of them say bon jour and shake hands with us as they go past our table into the bar, even the ones I’ve never met before.

We had a lovely roast chicken thighs dinner with roasted veggies – I made a nice Greek salad to accompany it.

The Big Six – Oh

So this is 60!!

3BE4B20C-EA64-4E9A-B834-25F691D3FB27I don’t feel older, and I don’t think I act like most 60-year old ladies, so what is a number?

My birthday started with beautiful blue sky and sunshine.  Colin went out for most of the morning while Mo and I stayed home and did yoga – she actually participated instead of lounging on the couch watching me.

When Colin returned we headed up to Villejesus for my birthday lunch at the restaurant of my choice, La Cagoulle.  Mo came with us so we sat in the courtyard under a nice large canopy. The restaurant cat was curled up the whole time on a chair on the other side of the courtyard – I don’t think Mo even knew it was there.

9B7D8EEE-9489-4BFF-B95D-2258D30DC995Of the two available starters Colin got the tomato and mozzarella salad (that looked awesome) while I chose melon with ham – just as lovely a flavour combination as I remembered the first time I had it at Michele’s and Florence’s.  We both got beef for our main course, which was extremely tender and delicious – kind of a casserole in a tomato sauce with bok choy and zucchini, along with seared potatoes. I was very full but did manage to eat almost half of my dessert – rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream – it was tasty, but a bit on the sweet side for me.

8A0F1031-F398-44BE-B9E7-31254E8E7FF6On the way home we stopped to visit with Tony and Joyce for a couple of hours.

29E1AA1C-87F0-4390-826B-FADBBFF49038

Back at home we watched the final of the Tour of Britain that had taped yesterday – today’s a rest day at the Vuelta so nothing new there.  After such as large lunch we didn’t have dinner – just an ice cream bar and a few cashews.

A lovely sunset capped off a lovely day…86335DFB-DF5E-4C1B-90E8-AF4436BAAE8F

Hippodrome Walks, Junior National Road Race

On Saturday I stayed home and did yoga – Mo lounged and watched again – while Colin went out for a ride with the local club.  I was surprised when he came home only about an hour later – apparently they were going for a mountain bike ride but Michele had forgotten to tell Colin that and he’d taken the wrong bike.

83A7F7AE-8F98-4F25-88DA-4039421B1FD2A little later we took Mo for a nice walk down to the campground and along the outside of the hippodrome to the river.  I noticed a mommy duck with her little ones, and there were only three of them – I don’t know if it’s the same duck family that we saw last week that had eight babies.

We stopped at the bar for a drink, then went home to catch up on cycling races on tv – both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain are happening at the same time so we’re kind of binge-watching.

Sunday morning I took Mo for a walk to the hippodrome again – this time there was a cricket match going on.  The team in white was mostly older white Englishmen, and the purple team was younger Indians/Asians. They were just changing over from fielding to batting – half time? – so we didn’t actually get to see any action.

A2DAE356-6E3A-4E2A-9DEC-096586F85901Early in the afternoon we hopped in the car to go see a junior national road race.  First we went to the beautiful village of Beaulieu-sur-Sonnette where the riders had to go up an extremely steep climb on a very narrow and rough road.

BB920B34-32F8-4CF7-993C-9616168A9A29We parked in a plaza at the top and walked down a bit to a churchyard that was a perfect watching spot.

AC3F96BB-3CAE-4F12-99CB-B143D4CEDE20The church door was wide open so I took a tour around.  The church is all stone and has nice high ceilings – very open.  There are several stained glass windows and some decent paintings and small statues, but there is mold on some of the walls, and the plaster is falling off in places – there was a musty smell everywhere too.

4841EC08-ED70-4CF5-A9F0-1958ED8BB068A group of five was the first to appear, followed by a large group, with a second large group several minutes later.  

E5F6E1F9-565E-410C-B652-216F3B8DD473We jumped back in the car and drove to the town of Courcome where the riders did a circuit five times before finishing.  We stood at the barrier about 20 metres from the finish line. The fellow that won was in the first group of five that we saw on the hill, so looks like he was fairly dominant through the whole race.

CF672A8F-BB57-4FC6-B091-059D8A8C5E5COnce again cars on the road during the race were an issue – I know that the ‘marshalls’ that let the cars onto the road are volunteers but they really need to be trained a bit or something.  There were two instances where riders were almost hit by stupid drivers that shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place.

B4F5890C-14DF-483D-9E14-F60F67108FDBBack home we had a lovely dinner of lamb chops with roasted potatoes – just delicious.

Bye Bye Blue Beemer, Baby Cheep Cheep

9BD05267-8FC7-40AB-B63A-6E6B27919992Tuesday was, as usual, up to the Charity Shop at St. Soline to support the animal shelter.  We picked up a few more books and had a cup of tea. One of the shelter dogs was so friendly and just wanted to meet everyone.  We found out on Wednesday that no one had scooped him up – I could hardly believe it as he was so sweet.

07CBF5C2-0485-4218-BCD5-D2C184A0ED8EGot a nice little ride in on Wednesday morning, followed by coffee at the bar on our way home.  I stayed home in the afternoon with Mo while Colin drove the team car for the local cycling club.

Woke up early Thursday morning to rain pouring down onto the skylight in the bedroom.  It continued off and on almost all day, so we didn’t go for a ride. I did yoga while Colin went out and took care of some business – Mo just lounged on the sofa and watched me.

58F8DC71-C131-4625-900F-763BCF0B4A28Friday was a sad/happy day – Colin is trading his car up to a newer Beemer but I’m really going to miss the beautiful blue one.  The new one has four doors and a hatch – or five doors as they say over here. Also a lot more room for all of our stuff if we’re using the car instead of the campervan when we travel.

BEC4EAEA-9EA2-4528-BA93-24463B72A517The saleswoman, Delphine, had all of the paperwork ready – Colin had to sign dozens of times but it was all organized and smooth thanks to her assistant, who Mo, of course, made friends with.  A guy came and took Colin’s phone to set up the hand’s free option in the car, and they assured him that the GPS spoke english – it’s the same version he had in the old car so needs to be updated at some point.

After the business was done we went to the same cafe we ate in last week – the ‘Fast Good Cafe’.  This time we both got the pasta-of-the-day, which was spaghetti with seafood, and was it ever delicious – large chunks of salmon, with mussels, calamari and shrimp in a lovely cream sauce.

7A8EC737-CB68-404A-B49F-2C0A6FDF422BBack at home when I was outside taking a few photos of the new car I heard a little ‘cheep cheep’ and looked down – I had almost stepped on a tiny baby bird.  I didn’t want to pick it up and move it, as I know that sometimes the mommy bird won’t take the little one back if you leave your scent on it. I stepped aside and saw what I thought might be the mommy looking for the little one – the baby was fully formed and did have feathers – maybe it was on its first flying lesson.

8122D16C-D9CC-4554-89E1-CE3DCF99F51FJust then Colin’s neighbour, Elwa was pulling his car into the parking area – I waved my arms to stop him and he got out, somehow understanding what I was going on about.  He was able to shoo the baby to the side of the campervan, and when I checked later I saw the mommy bird next to the baby chirping at it to fly – at least that’s how it interpreted the chirps and cheeps.  When I looked out a bit later they were both gone so I’m hoping that means that they’re both up and away, or at least out of harm’s way.

B02FE215-58F1-4770-956C-DDBC8AD6E336We walked down to the bar for a drink or two, and on the way passed a nice dog that Mo had to prove her fierceness to.  Then in the bar there was a very large dog that Mo had no problem with – little diva that she is.

46A0E213-C5F7-494D-87D2-C012EBD4B298It has been pointed out recently, by more than one person, that I haven’t mentioned Dominic or the kitties much lately – rest assured that I miss them all fiercely.  I do facetime with Dom now and then but the babies don’t understand and probably think that I’ve abandoned them again. I think that Mo feels my sorrow and tries to make up for it by letting me pay attention to her – win win, I guess!