Sunday 1 August 2021

Bring on the Border Terrorist

 I recall I finished off last month's column suggesting I would soon be back in France, gin in hand. And in one hand, it has been, but sadly not both, since I took a fall last week and dislocated my shoulder. And that was pre-gin! To begin with, a week off work was actually quite welcome, as I put my feet and arm up, whilst swilling down a cocktail of painkillers. However I need to get back to work now, as various writing deadlines are looming near and the thistles are towering above the sheep, but these jobs are about as easy to a one-armed person as my dog doing the crossword! For example, my old Ford 3000 tractor has no power steering, so I can hardly ask Wendy to get on with mowing grass. I could, in theory, dictate some words for her to write but I have tried that before with some computer technology that supposedly listens to me - and it wrote total gobbledygook. So, here I am, pressing on with one hand at the keys, the other in a rather grubby sling, delivering this piece.

We are currently mid sport season. Thankfully, the footie is over and done with and, despite the best efforts of the media whipping everyone up into a frenzy, seemingly the ball neither knew where home or the goal was supposed to be.  But there are still plenty more disappointments in the tennis, golf, Olympics and the British Lions to look forward to, so it isn’t quite all over.

Meanwhile, we have gained a creature amongst our menagerie. Since we lost Spike, one of our elder cats, a few months ago we have been co-habiting quite happily with just three. Then, on Tuesday morning, a wee scrap of a kitten turned up in the tool shed, in exactly the same way that Spike did 10 years earlier. I know most tabbys look alike but he does bear a spooky resemblance to the old one. I stamped my foot for a few days, trying to give him away to all and sundry, but the combination of female bribery and social media eventually caused me to relent. As yet, he still remains un-named, in case someone wants him back, but he is a cheeky wee scoundrel with a character three times his size.

On the subject of pets and characters, as our two old dogs reach octogenarian status, I am on the lookout for a puppy of the Border Terrorist variety, and have been for a while. However, it not only seems that they are as rare as hen's testicles but, when you do track one down, they cost somewhere near a million quid each! Apparently, Covid has done for the price of dogs, what Gareth Southgate did for waistcoats sales, with everyone wanting a wee pal to take for a walk rather than staying at home annoying their partners. Admittedly, they are a bit cheaper here in France, if you can find one, but still cost more than a family car and, post Brexit, I am not sure they will be issued with an access-all-UK passport anymore.

Which brings me neatly round to the fact that Wendy and I are now officially resident in France, rather than drifters who have to leave the place every few months. Our application for a Carte de Sejour was sent in last September and this week we finally got our appointment to go and see the nice lady who took our photos and fingerprints, which in my case was rather tricky. The interview was in French but fairly simple and we didn’t have to sing both verses of Le Marseillais, which I had been swotting up on. Now all we need to do is watch the post-box for our ID cards to arrive which, apparently, will take a further three months and we are home and dry.

If only it were dry **sigh** as this has been the worst summer, weather-wise, since we bought this place 14 years ago, with rain every week and more forecast. Who'd want to live in a climate like that?  Oh yes, me!

Did I mention we have a BIG birthday coming up next month? No? Well we do.