September 2006

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Tati trouble
Tati came and went. He was just too much for us, though
we miss him like mad.

Tati meets the pigs
Despite his unruly biting fits, he was very quick to learn.
Here, he gets to meet the neighbours. Oink!

Austyn and Amanda arrive
Austyn and Amanda came on a 'business AND pleasure' trip
for two days.

swallows gathering to leave
Thousands of swallows gather near the house each day,
before making the demanding stage of their migration,
over the Pyrénées. Summer has truly gone.

Grape picking
But Autumn brings some delicious goodies. Like hand-picked
grapes from Marina's vineyard, walnuts...

Marinas mushrooms
...and enormous, succulent, wild mushrooms

Go Fetch!!
We did our homework, found the breed, its club, a breeder and the pup we wanted. 1400 kms to Olst, where Caroline's brother Diederick lives. He is a vet and had been to see the litter for us. The following day we drove on north, to Friesland and picked up Tati, a Hovawart puppy of seven weeks. Now the 1400km journey back home...

We left early and arrived 4,5 hours later at Caroline's family's holiday home in Picardy, on the Somme. Tati was tired and slept a lot. Saturday we rested and then hit the road early Sunday morning, passing Paris before most souls had got up to get their croissants. Nine hours later, we pulled up in front of our door and Tati had behaved extremely well.

The rest of the story about Tati can be read on Caroline's Notes (in both Dutch and English)

A Papal visit
Perry's old friends Austyn and Amanda came for a few days, just after Tati's arrival. Perry was designing and producing the brochure for their West Cornwall holiday cottage company and they were here to go through the content with a toothcomb. They were also sensible enough to take a few extra days and enjoy the food, the mountains and the coast.

Married five years!!!
On the 22nd of September we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. Where did the time go? It seems like just a while ago when we walked down the steps of the Tropical Institute in Amsterdam.

Due to us returning the puppy to Holland, we stayed a few days with Caroline's old friends Monique and Bart, in Breda. Not what we had planned, but a very happy alternative under the circumstances. Perry brought his laptop and managed to keep his clients happy, while Caroline went into town and worked through the list of 'things we can't find in France'. Driving back on Sunday to avoid the freight traffic, we made it home in 11 hours. We were confronted with dog biscuits, his matress and rubber toys. They were all quickly put away and we tried to get the house back to normal. There was a vacuum but also a relief. We'll get a dog, that's for sure, but we will wait and see what crosses our path and certainly won't be driving to Holland to find one again.

Round trips
Talking of long trips, the swallows have been gathering in huge numbers each day before mustering up the energy to get over the mountains and on to Africa. Their disappearance heralds the reappearance of the lapwings, coming in from northern Europe for the winter. We wonder how long it will be before we hear the grey cranes overhead.

Picking, plucking and pressing
We missed the vendange at our neighbours due to our trip to Holland, but we made up for it by helping our friend, Marina, pick her grapes. Great to eat and fantastic when pressed for juice. That's a healthy way to start the day, that gets your whole system going!

While there, we filled a huge basket with walnuts and watched in awe as her friend Alain prepared a dinner with over six kilos of wild mushrooms. That morning, they had walked the woods and found orange amanites de Cesar and musty, brown cèpes

Alain had us drooling and we even came away with a large doggy bag for the next day. The secret is the combination of warm soil, a little rain and a rising moon. They all came together last week. Next time around we will be off to the woods with a few carrier bags ourselves.

OK, folks that's all for now. Don't forget to read Caroline's notes, Our House and to check out the short and fast film we made.

Until next month,

A bientôt.

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© 2006 Perry Taylor and La Baguette Magique, France.