Crikey, a month since I lasted posted anything on my blog. Shame on me. And it’s not as though there hasn’t been anything to blog about. Au contraire – summer is the busiest time here with our gite and lakes. Which is probably the problem. That, and filling any spare moments with swimming and cycling rather than blogging.

We got Caiti back from England in mid-July. She’d spent the best part of a month there, first working in a pub in Devon and then visiting relatives. She got to see the Tour de France in Huddersfield, went punting on the Cherwell in Oxford and then took in the icons of her British heritage in the form of a whole day at the Tower of London. The weather was amazingly good and she came home as brown as a berry.

Tobi took an instant shine to Caiti who was surrogate mum the first few days!

Tobi took an instant shine to Caiti who was surrogate mum the first few days!

Toblerone Megalodon has arrived at Les Fragnes in late July. She’s a four-month-old borador, or labracollie if you prefer, a border collie/labrador cross. We started a puppy hunt after learning that some neighbours had some border collie crosses to give away. We’d been thinking of getting another dog for a while as Nessie has slowed down considerably and we want her to pass on all her good, calm habits to a successor. However, all the puppies had been sold or ‘reserved’ when we went round to see them. We started looking on Le Bon Coin, an online classified ads site, and there were gazillions of puppies – pedigree whatevers up to €850 a shot down to freebie unwanted mongrel pups. I probably don’t need to tell you which end of the market we gravitated towards! After a few dead ends and one visit to some puppies that were nothing like they’d been described, we tuned in to how Le Bon Coin works. You never get replies to emails. If it says dogs are vaccinated and chipped, they usually aren’t, and the puppy you’re interested in can mysteriously turn out to be ‘reserved’ when you arrive to see it, even though it was available when you called an hour earlier. However, finally we came up trumps with our Tobi, one of a litter of ten. Caiti and I collected her from outside a station in a sleepy corner of Haute Vienne that makes Boussac look like a bustling metropolis.

tobi lawn 1aug

She was a decidedly stressed puppy on the drive home but is now an energetic black bundle. She’s settled in very well. She’s made friends with four of the cats, but Treacle remains deeply suspicious and distrustful and Wendy is keeping a very safe distance. Tobi is wary of the pigs, mainly because she’s found out about their electric fence the painful way. And chickens she’s still not quite sure about. The llamas and alpacas are a little disturbed by her bounciness but have worked out she’s harmless. She likes eating paper and alpaca poop (eeuww, I know) and rolling in smelly things. She also likes wool and string and socks. So we’re being kept on our toes at the moment!


Gigi finds refuge from Tobi's exuberance

Gigi finds refuge from Tobi’s exuberance

And Tobi’s now an official French dog – we had her microchipped when we took her for her first set of jabs. She wears her identification medallion with pride.

tobi stairs

It’s a very stormy summer this year and we’ve had several dramatic thunderstorms with more to come this week. However, despite being wetter than normal it’s a nice warm summer and the pool is a godsend on the very hot days.

We’re now gearing up for Caiti’s departure to Canada on the 18th. She eventually managed to find somewhere to live – which had been a huge worry – and we’ve bought her a super-sized suitcase to pack with a year’s worth of stuff. She’ll be buying her winter clothes over there – polar bear skin coats, penguin blubber boots or whatever it is you need to survive six months of subzero temperatures. When she was flat hunting she came across a helpful snippet of info. It said make sure you’re within 10 minutes of reaching public transport otherwise there was a strong possibility you’d freeze to death on your way! Apparently most of Canada moves underground in the winter into vast networks of tunnels. So interesting times ahead for our daughter.