Saturday 9th


July has shimmied in on a flurry of sunshine and golden promises, and the rain and storms of June are a distant memory, as we now complain of the heat and long for some fluffy cloud cover to grant us shade and cool!

We’re a funny lot us human beings. Bisou on the other hand, a pure doggy being, hasn’t complained at all. Oh no, she has instead thrown herself into this fabulous weather as enthusiastically as she keeps throwing herself into the pool after her squeaky toy.

“So what’s wrong with that?” you ask.

Well, with all the various aches, pains and medical problems, she really Bisou Poolshouldn’t be playing like a puppy, as she is blind, somewhat deaf, and easily confused.

Every time she jumps in, she panics because she can’t work out how to get back to the steps to get out, and hasn’t really actually got the energy needed to put best paw forward and doggy paddle to shore….. so who has to keep jumping in and rescuing her? Oui. Moi!

Since the addition of our new bubble cover last year, the water stays in the high 20s most of the summer, (actually 31° today – a little too warm quand même) so Bisou Poolit’s no real hardship, but I’m no wannabe bay watch babe (tho I wouldn’t mind one of their bodies – any one would do) and it’s interfering with book reading, naps by the pool and all the other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that day after sunny day slings at me.

What a life! (Love it, love it, love it…..)

I have no internet and am writing this in a word doc for later! The red light on my Live box is flashing provocatively, spoiling for a fight as it blinks out “w-h-e-n t-h-e- r-e-d-l-i-g-h-t-f-l-a-s-h-e-s-t-h-e-r-e-i-s-n-o-s-e-r-v-i-c-e-a-v-a-i-l-a-b-l-e” I know that, you worm! I am so lost without it.

The man at the other end of the phone tells me that they wont be able to get round to repair it until after the weekend even though we pay for a ’service pro’ which ensures ’intervention’ within 24 hours 7/7 .

“No” he explains to me patiently, “that doesn’t count the weekend”

“But surely intervention in 24 hours 7/7 as stated on my contract means anytime in the week?”

“Yes, it does…. apart from Sunday, which is tomorrow, so they wont be able to come round until Monday at the earliest. Why don’t you just enjoy your weekend and you can get back to work on Monday….or Tues, whenever they get round to you”

“But I have to update my site, it’s part of my contract with the people who pay money to advertise on it”

“Et ben, pour yourself a drink, relax and it will be sorted as soon as someone can get round to you….on Monday or Tuesday” Arrrrgggghhhhhh! Life in the south of France hein?

FeriaCéret, in the meantime, has turned into a monster as the Féria gets underway.

I consider myself to be mainly open minded and non judgmental, or at least I consciously try to be that, but try as I might, I cannot see a single justification for the slaughter of a noble and innocent animal for ’sport’ and ’fun’.

I find it abhorrent and cant help wondering if people who support and cheer this evil practice can be very nice people, if they can enjoy blood and suffering.

 I have french friends who have grown up with it, see it as a part of their culture, and no amount of reasoned argument can convince them otherwise. Education and indoctrination start at a very young age.

Interestingly, I only have one English friend who supports the Corrida and he admits that there are parts which he cant watch.

“So why watch?” I ask him. “Because it’s part of the integration process. We have no right to condemn practices that have been going on in this region since time immemorial, and are ingrained in the culture”

Well, we do actually. We have the right not to take part. Living here doesn’t mean that we must embrace what is unnatural or repellant to us.

FeriaBack to the other part of the féria – the shenanigans! We didn’t go! I don’t have a hangover, nobody has poured pastis down my leg or taken a pee at 5 paces away from where I was standing, and I felt incredibly self righteous this morning as I queued with other cars at the Intermarché roundabout, for the compulsory morning after the night before breathalyzer which the gendarmes impose on every exit to Céret.

Hah. Sober, no headache, but a big grin on my face after a lovely night out in Spain with friends.

I have to say that I really did not miss clawing my way through swaying, sweating bodies, a sea of falling-down people, each one more drunk than the next. I must be getting old! I prefer to sway, sweat and fall down at home!

Tuesday 19th July

Bisou, I love you but you give the expression ’dog breath’ a bad name.

Rather chilly on this late July day, after storms throughout the night. Le Tram has reared its tousled head and is now puffing away happily but I don’t care – I have a large bag of cheese and onion crisps procured in Spain at the weekend, a couple of bottles of beer to wash them down with, and a Val McDermid (Wire in the Blood) book to read once I leave my computer, so blow your worst, you villain. You wont knock me over

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