Added on Sunday 26 Feb 2006
Many people have asked me how I manage to find something interesting to write about when we live in such a small community. Well it is not difficult, I can assure you. For example there was a report in the local rag recently, which told the sad story of a kangaroo in a small village nearby. Apparently a woman had a three-year-old kangaroo, which went AWOL from the compound behind her house and was missing for three weeks. It had not strayed very far and had been trying to get back into the compound until it was knocked down and killed by a passing motorist. This begs the question of why no one had seen the animal during those weeks, where they just too embarrassed to go home and admit that they had just seen a kangaroo on the way back from the local caf?? I mean this is rural France and I am sure that one would notice a kangaroo jumping, or should that be hopping, about. I don?t know any statistics but I am sure that cannot be many people who have a pet kangaroo in France. It certainly puts a new dimension to road kill!
On the theme of animals, our youngest cat disappeared for some days a few weeks back. She is called 'Little Miss B ' after a very catchy song recorded in the 1920?s by a duo called Flotsam and Jetsom called 'Little Miss Bouncer'. After several days Fiona heard several pathetic meows coming from the garage of one of our neighbours at the back of the house. The problem was that the neighbour is only there at the weekends and the garage was locked tight and this was a Thursday! Not knowing where the neighbour lived during the week, we first of all contacted the local Gendarmes to see if they knew, or could help. No joy there, they said after all it was only a cat. We then contacted the fire brigade, after all they like to be photographed rescuing cats from down drains or up trees we thought. No joy there as they said after all it was only a cat! Next port of call was the local mayor's office to see if they knew how to contact the owner, one of the people who works there turned out to be related, a cousin I think, and knew where the neighbours parents lived and would go after work to see if they had keys but that would be after work some 6 hours later. I decided to go round the house and find all the keys that we had to see if any would fit the garage door. Needless to say, none did! On asking another neighbour, Mr Lacombe, if he had any keys that might fit that he said that he knew the name and address of the owner's mother. Duly phoning her up and after some initial confusion over which daughter we were talking about she said that she had keys and would come straight away (she lived locally) and some half hour later a very ancient Renault appeared with an equally ancient and typically rural French peasant woman. She was tiny and bent, probably after years of working in the fields and spoke very little. She did, however, have the keys of the house and went in and brought out the garage keys. Once the door was opened Little Miss B, who is jet black, decided not to come out so the three of us were chasing a black cat in a darkened garage, all great fun. After 10 minutes or so Fiona managed to grab her (little Miss B!) and the garage was locked up. The elderly lady was suitably thanked but she just melted into the background without saying anything. All this had taken up the best part of an afternoon, so when Little Miss B had been fed and watered at home, Fiona and I repaired to the caf? for a wine or two!
Our next-door neighbours, Arthur and Valerie, have a Lamborghini in their garage and are also kept by a cat called Mortimer who just happens to be Little Miss B's father. Curiously enough he was just two weeks away from having the 'snip' before committing the deed, so at least he had some fun before that. Anyway, back to the Lamborghini?..a few weeks ago they were having some heating problems and called an engineer in to have a look and after some time investigating came to the conclusion that the bold Mortimer had been peeing all over the Lamborghini which had caused it to malfunction. Fortunately the engineer took it with a good sense of humour and refused to charge them for the necessary repairs and they are now warm and toasty in their house. Did I mention that the Lamborghini is not a car but the central heating pump on their boiler, made by the same company, but it does give Arthur something to brag about when he says he has a Lamborghini in his garage!
Rural France. I love it.
? Barry Paton Feb 2006.