What a year it’s been, it seems to have whistled past faster than ever and I can hardly believe that we’re about to spend our second Christmas in our little place in Provence. The house is still far from where we would like it to be – it may not have any walls upstairs and the open-plan bathroom onto the main bedroom is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t matter – we love it!
This last year it’s become much more of a home, especially now that our eldest son has been living there since May and is likely to be staying for the foreseeable future (more about that in another post soon!). Spending three months there in the Summer as a family was just wonderful and we all feel very comfortable when we’re there now.
I think the fact that it feels like home is helped by having had the cat with us whilst we’ve been there. Pusscat has thoroughly enjoyed spending lengthy periods out with us, pancaked under the table on the terrace on the hottest of days & topping up her diet with a regular intake of grasshoppers and other poor creatures that she happens to take a fancy to! Although her occasional run-ins with the large Ginger Tom that passes through the area have caused her some problems, resulting in her taking to her bean-bag for a few days before venturing out again.
The dog though has never been out with us and we inevitably miss having her with us. In the past she has always skipped off to a friend’s house to spend her days playing with her favourite Black Lab, causing chaos and often much amusement on the beaches of North Cornwall, finishing the Summer looking fit, healthy & well-exercised!
However this Christmas we’ve taken the plunge and taken her out for her first trip to France, just to see how she gets on. It’s a great time of year for her to come with us as we can enjoy the long walks that are nigh on impossible in the height of Summer due to the heat and can introduce her to the sights & smells of local markets when they’re not too busy and to be honest we really miss her when we leave her back in the UK.
Millie’s first experience of Provence though was not what you may have expected as when she went outside on the first day she was met by snow! Despite living high on Dartmoor she hasn’t seen much snow in England, so must have been very confused when she stepped out into a veritable ‘Winter Wonderland’ in the South of France
I say stepped out, but from what I’ve been told I should probably say more ‘slipped out’ as Andy quickly discovered the French tiled terrace isn’t designed for cold weather, effectively turning into a skating rink at the first sign of ice – let alone snow! After a few cartoon-like moments where Millie’s legs seemed to go in every direction of the compass she finally found her feet, turned round & retired to the relative safety of the house.
It didn’t take log though for her to head off on a walk with Andy & George, when she found her feet and really started to enjoy herself.
Since then she hasn’t looked back & the days now start with a nice long walk through the woodland & lavender fields above the house, before she collapses happily in front of the fire whilst the boys get on with the day.
Pusscat though appears to feel that her nose has been well and truly put out of joint by the arrival of the dog. Surely this is her territory and she should be the centre of attention?
This all came to a head last night when the boys had bought Millie a new dog bed to replace the tattered old blanket she had been sleeping on before. The bed was placed in front of the fire and no sooner had it been put there than Pusscat ambled in & laid in the middle of it, before Millie had a chance even to sniff it. The look she gave Millie (and the boys in fact) was one of superior disdain – as far as she was concerned the bed was hers & the ‘blonde thing’ wasn’t going to get a look in.
This Fireside Saga continued for a few hours with Pusscat taking up residence, despite Millie’s best efforts to get her to move, which simply resulted in strengthening Pusscat’s resolve and beseeching, slightly perplexed looks from the dog!
Then, for reasons only known to herself, Pusscat decided she had won the battle and moved to the high ground of the sofa, finally allowing Millie to prostrate herself across the new bed. She managed to make herself look as uncomfortable as possible, but I think she just saw her chance and took it, covering as much of the bed as possible to stop Pusscat making an attempt to regain the ground!
The cat just sat on the sofa and stared – I’d love to know what was going through her mind.
So last night saw Mille in front of the fire finally on her new bed & she’s starting to look at home there. I have a feeling that the way things are going she won’t be too keen to return with us at the start of the New Year & the cat certainly loves her life in France, so perhaps they may stay on for a while to keep our eldest company, whilst he finds his feet in the area.
In the meantime I’m just looking forward to going out to join them all in a few days time and spending our second Christmas enjoying our little bit of life in France.
Let’s hope that by then the animals have finally sorted out their sleeping arrangements!
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