3RD SEPTEMBER 2021

So, there I was happily updating the adoptions page when the date suddenly came out and smacked me between the eyes, 3rd September ! Where do the days go ?!

Last month I said we would be selling clothes at the St. Daunes vide grenier on the 8th and indeed we did. Sadly it was a pitifully small vide whereas usually St. D has stalls right through the village and on to the adjoining field. This time just stalls up the village ‘main road’. However, we managed to raise about 350 euros, better than a poke in the eye with a wet umbrella but only about half what we usually make at Montcuq. Still, two months of dog croquettes paid for ! It was a really hot day which was fortunate as the previous week had been dreadful.

August was a funny old month weatherwise wasn’t it ? I kept waiting for Summer to really start, but it never did. Ok some very hot days but very few of the warm balmy evenings I remember from previous years. Still, mustn’t grumble, we weren’t fighting forest fires or coping with terrible flash floods.

I have spent most of the month sorting out books for our next sale (23rd/24th October) and would like to thank those who have donated so far for the excellent selections. My main problem now is to read all those I want to before the sale. (Doreen will you make it this time ?) A couple of times I have chosen books with recommendations from famous respected authors on the front. For example “One of the best thrillers you’ll read this year – Val McDermid” or, “The twists just keep coming – Harlen Coban”, only to find that the books are total rubbish. This makes me mad, in fact, so mad, that I found contact email addresses for both those authors and emailed them to ask “Seriously ?! Have you actually read this book ?”. No reply from either. Funny that ! I have started sticking stars on the books that I have read and enjoyed and one book which I felt compelled to stick two stars on, was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. The true story of a couple who, due to circumstances beyond their control (no spoilers here) found themselves homeless and penniless AND at the same time found that the husband Winn had an incurable disease. Instead of accepting a council house and benefits – which they and thousands of others were/re entitled to – they decided to deal with their situation their way and their way was to pack up knapsacks and to walk the Salt Path. A brilliant book, read it even if you read nothing else this year !

Ernst and I are off on our usual annual jaunt to Ile de Ré on the 18th September. We were to go for two weeks but Ernst’s sister has sold her house and, sod’s law, what was to be our second week is the week the house has to be cleared. So all family hands on deck. Never mind, definitely two weeks next year !

Sorry about last month’s promised puppies, they were homed before I could get fingers to keyboard !

Happy September to one and all !

Sue x

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LOUPIOT

Loupiot, or Lulu to his mates is a lovely lad who, at three and a half years old, has been removed from a bad owner and is looking for a new happy life. Loupiot came with a bad infection of earmites which has been treated. He is a happy boy who has a tendency to bark at cats, but without aggression. He is used to being alone but is ok with both male and female friends. He has been used to being alone is not destructive if left. A fenced in garden would be best as rambling is his favourite hobby ! Loupiot is chipped, vaccinated and nuetered. Adoption fee applies.

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RALPHY

This fine fellow is Ralphy a nine month old Podenco x. After a crap start in life Ralphy arrived a very timid lad but now he realises that life is great after all and he is ready for a new life with a loving family. He is affectionate and faithful and has a good basic training, recall is good. He would be better in a fenced property or in a home which is out in the country. Ralphy is chipped, neutered and vaccinated. Adoption fee applies.

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ROXIA

Roxia is, as you can see, a gorgeous Braque Black Diamond. She is 18 months old and a very affectionate dog. Usually used as chasse dogs, Braques also make great companion dogs. Fine with other dogs – not yet tested with cats – Roxia has been sterilised. Adoption fee applies.

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MOON

Beautiful Moon is a very young Mum who turned up at a friend’s house where she has been cared for and given safe shelter to have her kittens. All the kittens have been homed and here is what my friend has to say about Moon :-

“Lately though, with no more kittens to look after, she is hanging around the house looking for attention and affection. Unfortunately, our resident cat Zoe, who is now 15 years old, will not tolerate her at all or let her come in. Moon is an absolute darling, so very loving who only wants to get onto your lap, be cuddled and feel safe. I feel so bad that we cannot give her that. She is no more than a year old and we have had her sterilised but not yet vaccinated as we were waiting for her to build up her strength after being on her own for a while and having kittens.She is not great with other cats but seems to tolerate our dog so long as Kaya keeps her distance. She is clean, has learnt to use a cat flap and comes equipped with cat litter tray, basket and food bowls. Although I adore her and hate to part with her, I would love her to find a proper loving home where she can get the attention she deserves and wants.”

Moon is at present between Figeac and Gramat and if you would like to offer Moon a loving home, please either email me or call Louise on 0626150550. Fingers crossed that Moon will be over the moon in her new home – see what I did there ?!

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1ST AUGUST 2021

Many years ago, my friend Sue who was staying with me, left me her walking jacket to use. The first time I used it was to put it a little way away outside our back gate so that when one of our dogs, who had run off, came home, she would wait by the jacket (this works by the way – usually !). I put the jacket out at 8pm and got up at 1am to go and check. No dog …….and no jacket !!!! This was a mystery. To get to the back of our property which is more or less isolated, you have to climb up a hill and circumnavigate the garden, so it could not have been someone just passing by. So I just told people to look out for a sanglier wearing a black fleece lined rain jacket !

Fast forward eight years and I decide to cut (hack) a path through the undergrowth behind our garden to get to a flat area the other side where one of our cats regularly sits and cries pitifully until I walk all the way round the wooded bit to get him to come in for supper. I’m sure you are there before me, yes, in the middle of a particularly nasty mess of brambles was my jacket !!! Way beyond being any use to anyone. I can only assume a fox or sanglier dragged it away in the hope there was something edible in there somewhere.

I had a very awkward moment at the St. Pantaleon vide grenier last week when I took to sell three little tables of different sizes – the sort you put ornaments or candles on in the corner of a room – which I had bought from a friend who ‘distresses’ furniture. I had decided that they really took up too much room for very little purpose. I had been assured that the friend I bought them from would not be at the vide . Huh, yep, along she came in the afternoon. She was very nice about it and wanted to buy them back. I insisted she just take them but she insisted more that she wanted to buy them (at much less than I had paid in the first place), so she went off quite happy in the knowledge that she could repaint them and sell them on again. That was fine, then I realised there was a cushion cover on my table which I didn’t much like but which she had given me because there was a dog’s head on it. I got out of that one by saying that I had put it out to advertise that I was selling in aid of the dog charity. I am not a good friend !!!

Talking of vide greniers, I had been collecting for our usual mammouth clothes stall at the Montcuq vide at the end of August, only to be told that it is not going to happen this year ! Disaster, I can hardly see my bed for clothes rails and boxes. There is however a vide at St. Daunes on Sunday 8th August, so I signed up for that one. Three days later I got a call to say that had been cancelled too …… then another call to say it was on again ! Brilliant, only I looked at the weather forecast today ……. not good ! Still, fingers crossed and if anyone has good condition ladies clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry to donate, please get in touch rapidly so that I can collect.

Most people know that I work with Danielle of La Mere aux Betes who is just the most amazing animal rescuer. From injured birds through to sheep and donkeys, she is always ready with advice and help. Recently a couple brought to her a baby deer who was wandering in the road. Normally people are told not to touch them as the mother will reject them after but this one was clearly alone and in distress. Danielle took her (him ?!) in, bottle fed the poor thing and just look now ! When she/he is old enough he will go into a field with the goats and up to him if he stays or goes.

Lots of new dogs to go on the website ( puppies too !), I have just got to get to grips with the new set out of the website !

Sue xx

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4th July 2021

Middle Sunday of Wimbledon so one day to get done all the stuff that has been left undone for the past week before it’s heads down for the second week.  It has been a great tournament so far, although all the slipping and sliding over has been rather worrying and many players have pulled out.

Anyway, blah de blah, the most important thing to say is a HUGE thank you to all of you who supported our book sale in June  which raised £2,400, almost up to pre covid sales.  The weather was wonderful and everyone seemed very happy to be there.  Many of you thanked us for still going ahead with the sales which pushes all of my ‘this is the last one’ thoughts out of my head.  Yes, it is a lot of work and the ‘book’ work carries on all through the year with the sorting etc., but the compliments we receive on the condition and quality of the books and  the ‘yumminess’ of the cakes, really does make it worthwhile.  We are going to give the Sunday morning trial one more go to see if more people come along, then make a decision on whether to continue or just stick to the Saturday.

Regular readers will remember my adorable Olivia, really blotting her copybook over Christmas by attacking Tiny, our little one- eyed poodle.  Since then they have never ever been together without supervision and all has been peace and light.  Until two weeks ago.  Ernst and I were having supper, Tiny was asleep under the table, then Olivia came in and went for him with no provocation.  It was awful, Tiny screaming, me shouting and giving Olivia a clout and blood everywhere.  Olivia was immediately chained up in a park (if she is not tied up she jumps over the fence) and I did my best to look at the damage.  Not easy with Tiny who communicates with his teeth when stressed !  I managed to get a muzzle on him and called the vets.  Luckily, it was the wonderful Dr. Cros (the man I should have spent my life with … !!!) and he said to come to the surgery immediately.  Having managed to clean Tiny up – though keeping the muzzle on – Dr. Cros (who pretended not to notice I was crying and snotty) said it was lucky Tiny only had one eye as he certainly would have lost one then.  After the blood was cleaned off, the damage was superficial and no stitches were needed.  however, now our home is more like a French farce, Tiny is restricted to the kitchen and Olivia has the garden.  When Tiny needs to pee, Olivia is locked up.  A rotten thing to say, but Tiny is 16 and Olivia is only three, so hopefully the situation won’t last a long time.

I love gardening, though I have to say I do not have green fingers, and every year I say to myself that I’ll only plant geraniums as they are impossible to kill, but every year I am seduced by other plants.  This year I decided on Verveine, supposed to bloom all Summer and be no trouble.  Huh !  We have the fattest snails ever now … and no Verveine left.  I cannot, will not, use chemicals against insects, not only because we need them, but the dogs will eat anything and everything.  So, back to the nursery and home with a barrow load of geraniums !!

Although we have a lot of dogs at the moment, they are not ready for adoption and the ones who are, don’t seem to be appealing to you.  No worries, we have periods like this, nothing for a while then all of a sudden they all go.

Had my second jab on Friday and, stupidly, forgot the one paracetamol before and one after, advice.  Boy did I feel rough yesterday.  So much so I even sent Ernst off to an apero invitation on his own whilst I slept.  Luckily, feeling tickety boo today and looking forward to the Montaigu Theatre Group’s garden Murder Mystery this afternoon.  I’m sure Gaynor, my pal and future carer, (though she may dispute the word ‘future’  !)  is the murderer, I’ve always thought she has a dark side !!!

Sue x
PS This is Hailla (pronounced Hiya), the latest Poorpaws resident.  A nine year old German Shepherd with hip problems, and she is the sweetest, gentlest dog ever.  A traumatic handover for her owner, and me, but I have promised I will care for her and love her for as long as she has got. 

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Rangoon and Maria

We have been asked by another refuge to try to find homes for these very young dogs who are not doing well in a refuge environment and need to have their own loving happy homes.  Rangoon is the tricolour and Maria is the brown beauty.  Both are six months old, Rangoon is very lively and friendly and Maria is much more timid but gentle.  Both are six months old, are fine with other dogs and cats and had a tough start in life.  Both are vaccinated and identified.  If you can help either one of them, get in touch with me and I will put you in touch with the refuge which is situated in the Lot. 

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1ST JUNE 2021

I’m writing this month’s update looking out across a beautiful mountain view !  Ernst and I have come up to La Clusaz to spend a few days with his sister and brother-in-law.  We have been here since Sunday and the weather so far has been wonderful so we have had some great mountain rambles.  We brought Olivia our Newfie/German Shepherd with us thinking she would love the long walks as she certainly loves keeping me awake all night now and then by running off and coming back up to 24 hours later !  However, she is totally unimpressed and plods along looking miserable and refusing the water we take with us.  She has managed to master going up and down the steep open stairs in the chalet though.  The first time she came down them it was as though she was on a luge, two front legs on the top stair, gradually, gradually inching down until the weight of her body took charge and she slid down to the bottom.  We tried not to laugh and she did not try not to look offended !  She’s got the hang of it now and woe betide anyone in front of her on the stairs who is at risk of being ‘taken out’ as she slides down.

As soon as I get back it is full steam ahead for the Book Sale, on the 12th/13th June.  Everything is in place and all we need is to see you with plenty of empty bags to fill, dear Reader !

Whilst I am away, superstar Tiffany is staying chez nous and I have every confidence in her, though that didn’t stop y usual PRE holiday blues when I get nervous and anxious about going away.  Tiffany is great, she arrived in her camping car with five dogs and two cats and within half an hour all the dogs were quite happily mixing in with ours in the garden.  I had removed the very old ones and taken them to Danielle as they are likely to get snappy if the others accidentally bump into them.  Of course, the very elderly Teddy (a reclaim following the death of his owner) decided to have an epileptic fit the day before we left so I’m hoping he will still be around when we get home.

We have had lots of dogs in over the last month and, happily, lots of adoptions.  Olga, Billy, Sam, Punch, Jerry, Axle and Jazz have all gone to fabulous homes and we are getting excellent reports back of their progress.  A huge thank you to all who have given these lovely dogs a bright future.

Apparently it is apero time, I love that about holidays, apero time is always more special than at home, so I’ll sign off and look forward to seeing lots of you on the 12th/13 !

Sue x

 

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ROBIN

 ADOPTED  !!!  Oh please someone adopt this little lad before I crumble and keep him, Brittanys  being my favourite breed !  An adorable 9 month old who has all the lovely character of the breed, affectionate, totally friendly with everyone and everything, quick to learn, so basically your dream dog !

BILLY

ADOPTED, FANTASTIC !!!

Little Billy love him, is 15 years old and in great shape.  He has a slight heart ‘soufflement’ which he needs a tablet for daily. (I should add here that millions of dogs have this slight heart problem, I have even known pups who are born with it and go on to live to a great age.)  His eyesight and hearing are fine, so Billy would make an ideal companion for an elderly person and is quite happy living in an apartment.

OLGA

RESERVED !     AND  ……. ADOPTED !!    Olga is a three year old Border Collie whose owner has died and left Olga bereft.  She is timid at first because of the upheaval in her life, but will quickly get to be your best friend !  Sterilised, chipped and vaccinated.

PRALINE

Praline is a two year old Pointer/Lab mix, a very pretty dog.  Lively, friendly, Praline would make an ideal family dog so long as there are not cats or chickens !  She also likes company, so a home where there is usually someone there.  A closed garden with regular walks would be heaven for Praline.

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PUNCH

Wow, I think this is a first !  An Old English Bulldog !  Punch is 21 months old and we are looking for someone who has experience of the breed.  Punch is a joyful active dog, with, sometimes, the pzazz of a bulldozer !  For this reason we have to exclude families with young children and elderly people who may be not up to standing up to Punch’s ‘enthusiasm’ .!  He is not keen on other male dogs and doesn’t list cats as his favourite beings.  Punch has been neutered so that he cannot be used as a ‘cash cow’, or should I say ‘cash bull’ ?’

SAM

ADOPTED  !!

Gorgeous Sam, a Golden Retriever mix, was totally devastated when his owner died and went into a decline, to the point where the people looking after him decided he had no quality of life.  Huh !  A great Poorpaws / Mere aux Betes friend, Linda,  suggested that Danielle be called in and, voila, two months on, Sam is ready to go to a new home with people who have the patience to give three year old Sam the time to get used to them.  He is very timid to begin with but with absolutely no aggression.  Sam will need a closed in garden and regular walks. 

POCKER

Pocker is a 16 month old Terveuren, a breed very faithful to his owner.  Sensitive Pocker needs to gain confidence in his new home.  We are looking for someone with experience of the breed.  Pocker will need an enclosed garden or a home in an isolated situation.  He is fine with children but not so with cats. 

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MARLEY

ADOPTED !

Marley is a five year old Lemon Setter and is just your dream dog.  A very affectionate, faithful boy who just adores being with people.

JAZZ

Jazz is a beautiful seven year old male Setter/Spaniel mix.  A lovely affectionate guy ideal for anyone/couple who are not looking for a dog who is too young and, preferably are without cats.  

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1ST MAY 2021

Oh the stress, the stress !  It’s worming time here at Poorpaws which means dosing thirteen dogs on three consecutive days with what, I am sure, is foul tasting liquid.  Why don’t I just give them a pill ?  Well, I’m quite a mean person (I mean ‘mean’ as in don’t like to spend money, not being mean to anyone/thing) and the liquid is much, much cheaper than the easy pill.  Of course there are a couple of dogs who just WILL NOT open their mouths when they spy the syringe and they of course get the pill in cheese.  The others, darlings all of them, trust me (oops !) so happily comply, only to look at me reproachfully when they realise what is going on.  Of course they all get treats afterwards but they are definitely (or definately for Line of Duty fans) offish with me afterwards.  Anyway, we are on day two of the treatment, so just one day to go.  As many of our dogs are very elderly, we have quite a few who are on daily medications, so getting the worming done, dishing out the daily meds and stopping the dogs not needing meds from trying to drink the cough medicine meant for others, is quite a task and I have to admit that at the end of it I am not 100% sure that the right dogs have had the right treatment !!

I realise many people will be disappointed with the ghastly wet day forecast but I am delighted !  I had a massive plant up of pots yesterday and they are all out there now drinking like mad and, hopefully, preparing to bloom beautifully.  I love gardening, though, sadly, am not blessed with green fingers.  Our garden is littered with ‘quirky’ stuff, for example an old ‘pop pop’ bike used by everyone in France very many years ago is not decorated with flowers, but strings of onions and garlic.  There are also two really old bicycles found in the outhouse of a property bought by a friend,  a tiny, very rusty kiddie’s bike found in the garden of another house bought by another friend and an old wooden wheelbarrow found in an attic.  My latest project is a ‘vertical garden’ which I saw on line and which consists of two wooden pallets, one providing the back and the other cut up to make planting ‘shelves’ across the front.  Well, Ernst is a master carpenter so I asked if he could make one for me. He said he would so I suggested he looked at the online video.  Pooh poohed that idea, he knew how to do it.  First model turned out to be a horizontal garden.  Rejected kindly.  Second model had ‘shelves’ that were so shallow that I couldn’t put plants in them.  Rejected rather tersely.  Third model ok, but the third shelf is at floor level, er, we have many male dogs !  However, this model was accepted in desperation as I wanted to get it planted up before Winter !  I have just put the teeny bike in front to stop the dogs peeing on it.  I finally planted it up with herbs yesterday and would add a photo but it looks rather feeble at the moment so I’ll wait until the plants have bushed out a bit.

We have had quite a few donations from people since we were unable to run the Book Sale in April and I would like to thank everyone so much.  The donations will be credited against book purchases in June (12th/13th).  Thanks to you, the vets are paid up to date and food supply is guaranteed.  We are keeping everything crossed that nothing stands in the way of the June sale when we will be so happy to see you all.

Only little Axel on the adoptions page and he looks like he will be going to a new home very soon.  This is not to say that we don’t have dogs for adoption, it just means that Danielle has been so busy, she hasn’t had time to send me photos.  You can always check out the website ‘secondechance’ and just click on ‘Midi Pyrenees’, then ‘Lot’ and you will see, amongst others, our dogs under ‘La Mere aux Betes.  You could also go on to her Facebook page.

Last episode of Line of Duty tomorrow – yippee !  “Mother of God” I hope we find out who ‘H’ is, my money is on Kate  !

Sue x

 

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4TH APRIL 2021

Happy  Easter Day to you all and I hope you have lots of chocolates to eat !  I have a little white (chocolate) bunny who will be meeting his fate this evening whilst I am watching, and trying to understand, Line of Duty !!

These days I have to be very careful when watching any series because Ernst and I seem to be the only ones in our group of friends who actually watch anything in ‘real time’.  If, when having coffee with girlfriends, I start to comment on a programme, I am more often than not, faced with the others putting hands over their ears going “la la la la stop it, I haven’t watched it yet” !!!!  We rarely watch anything except BBC as we cannot stand adverts so friends are always telling us to get this system or that, so we can watch without the publicities.  Trouble is, we are really not techno friendly and I really don’t think I could deal with it.  I say “I” because Ernst is very matter of fact, you either watch something or you don’t, end of !

I thought this month’s news would be all doom and gloom about having to postpone the Book Sale – as we had to this time last year – I was so fed up about it, BUT  putting it into perspective,  reconfinement does not affect me in a really bad way, I have not lost my job/business, I am not worried about where the rent/mortgage is coming from because I am on furlough, I have a large garden and Ernst and I are in good health.  How lucky are we ?

The good news is that we have managed to rebook the hall for the 11th/12th/ and 13th JUNE, when, hopefully, the weather will be good, many more of us will have had, at least our first vaccinations and feel happier about going out.

Oh, by the way, can the person who donated the hardback cover book  ‘The Body in the Castle Well’ by Martin Walker, get in touch with me ?  

Excellent news is that dear Zac, who has been with us for several months now, has been adopted, as has Naty, who I thought looked rather scary but in fact who is a big pussy cat – well, not really, but you know what I mean.  We are really surprised that Pheonix has not attracted any takers, this is one amazing dog, an absolute gem.

The 13 permanent canine residents here with us (all unadopted for one reason or another) continue to thrive even though several of them are beyond their ‘sell by’ date !  Fewer can now manage the long daily walk and are happy just to potter around the garden and lie in the sunshine.  Dear little Pixie, who is a rough haired terrier, was found by the roadside, so frightened when she came to us  then learned to trust us, turning into everyone’s darling, so much so that I could not let her go because I know she would feel betrayed.  She will NOT leave the garden (I’m sure she is scared of being abandoned again) and does everything she can to stop the others going out too !  She polices the gate when we leave for a walk and actually hangs on to the legs of her favourite chums, to stop them going to the frightening Big Outside, seeming to say “no, no, don’t go, you may not come back” !!

Love, love, loving this wonderful weather and spending lots of time in the garden.  I was tempted to get some geraniums but looking at the forecast, this sunshine is just a teaser before Summer and frosts are forecast so I’ll hang on and go and sit and read in the greenhouse instead !

Love,

Sue x

 

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28TH FEBRUARY 2021

Lots of good news !  Dearest Princess Rosiepop of Queen  Latte has gone to a brilliant home and is much adored, their gain is my loss but I m really happy for her.  Olia and Rusty are just two of the other dogs adopted this month, we seem to be on a roll at the moment, however, Zac is still waiting for the right person to come along as is dear Naty.  Little Prancer – I’m petitioning for his name to be changed – has come to us and he is one lively little critter !  A great little chap for anyone looking for a small dog, but not for the faint hearted exercise wise.  He needs A  LOT !!!  Also needs to be where cats are not !

I’m going to tell you about the daughter of a great friend of mine.  Eloise has been a dog lover ever since she was tiny and she and her brother Julian even made a collection box for Poorpaws which they put in her mother’s shop.  Eloise is now a beautiful young lady whose love for dogs has never wained.  A few weeks ago, whilst walking the family dog, she noticed a big hairy dog hanging around the area where she walked.  It was there for several days and enquiries resulted in her learning that the dog was sleeping in the porchway of a (closed) restaurant.  The owners of the restaurant fed her but could not get near her, she was just too nervous.  From then on, Eloise went down every day, come rain; come shine, come serious brrrrrr and just sat near the dog, laying treats out to encourage the dog to be unafraid and get close.  After a couple of weeks, yes, weeks, the dog was brave enough to take a treat from Eloise’s outstretched leg, would accept a stroke but no question of attaching a lead or collar.  So, the big guns were called in and my colleague Danielle went down to help.  A mild sedative was slipped into a treat and some time later the dog got a bit wobbly on her pins and laid down with her head on Eloise’s lap.   On with the collar and lead, into the car and off to Danielle’s to check for a chip.  No chip, so appointment made for a check up at the vet.  The dog was in good health and was much younger than at first thought.  Of course, by now Eloise was smitten and I am delighted to report that after a test meeting with Melita, the resident family dog, Sienna, as the dog has been named, is happily living  in a warm, loving family environment.

Time to remind you of our Book Sale, which at the time of typing, is all set for the weekend of 10th April, with a few ‘covid rules’ as last time.  I am collecting books now,  BUT  CANNOT  TAKE  ANY  ON  THE  DAY, so if you have any to donate, please contact me – susanglibbery@gmail.com / 0565245303 – to arrange collection.  We have sufficient cookery books and coffee table type books – and will need to employ Arnold Schwarzenegger to carry them !

Loving this Springtime weather and am spending hours in the garden – and reading in the greenhouse – how lucky we are to have a garden.  I have a friend who lives in a flat in Toulon with an ailing partner and she is finding the restricted freedom hard to cope with.  For many years she has been talking about moving to a house with outside space, but it is too late now, they are both too elderly.  I spoke to her yesterday and she assures me that in her ‘next life’ she will definitely have a garden and she and I will be neighbours !  Yikes, I hope that doesn’t happen any time soon !

Love,

Sue x

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8TH FEBRUARY 2021

I am going to have to give myself lines, “I must check date every day.  I must check date every day.”   (I wonder if children still have to do lines at school when they are naughty, I did and we also had to ‘dub’ footballs in detention, back in the days of heavy leather footballs ! )  It completely escaped me that we are already in February.  This is the thing when we are lucky enough to be retired, dates and days seem to have no relevance.  Hands up those who don’t wake up every morning wondering what day it is !

Curfew is not bothering us much, I can’t remember when I wanted to stay out beyond 1800 but I am glad that we seem to have dodged the confinement bullet, for the moment anyway.  I have nearly got through all my ‘to do’ list, so cannot put off any longer, working on my citizenship application !  I have downloaded the Livret du Citoyen and am enjoying reading it.  Whether or not I can retain all the information remains to be seen !

Coffee mornings with a (very) few friends are important, but how I wish we talked about other  things than the weather, vaccinations and residency cards !  Books and dvds are always top of my chat subjects at the moment, but how lovely it would be to talk holidays, village fetes and …….. The Book Sale !  Yes, we are hoping to have our Spring Book Sale the weekend after Easter, which means it will be the weekend of 10th April.  Extending it to include the Sunday last time, so that the Saturday wouldn’t be too crowded, didn’t prove to be much of a success after all but we are going to give it another go.  This time however everything will be the usual price, not 50% off as last time, this because 90% of the lovely people who came on the Sunday, insisted on paying full price anyway !

I am collecting books already and please, please, please remember, good condition ONLY.  Not yellowing, musty pages complete with the insect and cobwebs collection from lofts, plus out of date (really out of date) maps and city guides.  Sorry to be particular about this but poor Ernst spends days sometimes before the sales going round the rubbish bins in the Lot disposing of books that we cannot sell.  Just ask yourself would you buy the book.  If not, bin it or leave it on your shelf.

In the last newsletter I told you about Princess Rosiepops of Queen Latte and I am delighted to tell you that she has come on tremendously and will soon be looking for a home.  Sadly I cannot keep her but I would like to be the one to home her.  So, if you are young retired and lead a peaceful life, she is for you.  No young children, perhaps, though not essential, an older calm dog.  A garden, but long walks not necessary.  This is a jewel of  a dog and deserves the very best of homes.

Ok, back to studying, did you know that the Loire is the longest river in France ?  Of course you did !

Stay safe,

Sue

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RUSTY AND OLIA

BOTH  ADOPTED !!!!

12/02/21  Update:  Rusty the Pointer (not Frosty the snowman, why did that come to my mind ?!) has been adopted !

Now, don’t get confused by the name as I did.  Rusty is NOT the rust coloured dog but the beautiful Pointer cross !  He is 5 months old and would make great family dog.  A lovely friendly chap who would be best with a fenced garden or isolated property.  The rust coloured one is Olia a cute little female of two years old and who doesn’t need other dogs to make her life complete.  Ideal for anyone looking for a smaller dog.

23RD JANUARY 2021

Sorry to those who noticed, that there wasn’t a newsletter at the end of 2020.  To be perfectly honest I couldn’t think of anything cheerful to say.  Unfortunately our Festive Season was anything but !  All dog related, so, self inflicted some might say.  I won’t bore you with all the details, suffice to say that I was looking after four puppies for Danielle whilst she went to Switzerland for a couple of weeks for a well earned rest and to visit family.  All four pups had been vaccinated but even so, all four went down with parvo virus.  This is a really ghastly disease and, if not caught in time, fatal.  In fact even if it is caught it still can be fatal. I recognised the symptoms straight away but despite my best efforts, two of the puppies died, one appears to be handicapped and one recovered 100% and is now happily bouncing off the walls in his new home.  The handicapped one, who was originally called Rosie, but when she was so ill and I feared she might have a short life, I gave her a long distinguished name – Princess Rosiepup of Queen Latte (because she is the colour of a milky coffee).  Rosie was in a lot of pain and painkillers weren’t touching it, which made for many sleepless nights for both of us.  Then the lovely vet, Anais, gave me some cannabis oil – for Rosie I hasten to add ! – and it was like day and night.  The problem was Rosie had something wrong with a vertebrae which hurt every time she moved, so she just stopped moving.  The cannabis stopped the pain, Rosie started moving and the vertebrae started to heal itself.   When Danielle came home from Switzerland she took Rosie home with her, is carrying on her treatment and there is, hopefully, a new home in view.  Of course I was heartbroken to see her go but she needs to be in a place where she does not spend all her time in a bedroom, when I am not around, in case another dog accidently steps on her.

Whilst all this was going on, I was awoken one morning but the yelping of our not so nice Poodle, Tiny.  I raced into the kitchen to find him lying on the floor and there was blood.  He had been attacked by one of our other dogs.  Now, to be blunt, Tiny is a pain in the proverbial and this has probably been a long time coming BUT he did not deserve that.  The main problem is that Tiny loves to be stroked but will not put up with ANYTHING else.  Will not have a collar on, will not have a lead and will not be manipulated in any way, he nips.  So, a wounded Tiny was a HUGE problem.  He pulled himself up on to a settee and lay there shaking whilst I called the vet.  Getting him into the car was not fun, I was in tears, he was growling and snapping.  Usually I put a lasso lead on him and gently get him to move before he realises he is restricted in movement and goes totally berserk, but there were wounds round his neck so a lead was out of the question. Ernst brought the car up to the door and I managed to gently push Tiny towards it where, hallelujah, he jumped in.  When I got to the vets the wonderful assistants came out, got a muzzle on him and gently lifted him in. (I have stolen the muzzle in case of need !).  The bites around the neck were horrific and I blamed our old Border Colley who has been known to give a curled lip and nip from time to time.  Imagine then my astonishment when the vet said it must have been a dog with a Very Big Mouth.  OLIVIA ?!  The present love of my life Newfie cross.  Olivia, who the day before had let little Rosie climb all over her, pull her ears, hang on her lip and whom I had even taken a photo of with Rosie’s head completely in her mouth !!!  The vet said there was no doubt from the position of the bite marks, it was one bite not several.  Thank St. Cadbury I didn’t get Blackie pts !  I only believe it because when we were on holiday last year, Tiffany who dog sat for us, said that Olivia had had a nip at Tiny.  Anyway, Tiny came home with staples  round his neck and down his chest.  I was dreading taking him hack to have them taken out but a muzzle is a wonderful thing !  He now lives in my bedroom and will not come out if Olivia is around.

So, with all that going on I did not feel at all festive and had to cancel a couple of the few planned limited get togethers.  Plus my mate Sue who always comes to us for Christmas, obviously could not come.  HOWEVER, we are not amongst those who could not travel to be with families, could not be with grandchildren, and neither of us have covid, so, we are lucky.

See what I have done, I said I wouldn’t bore you……… hee hee, are you grabbing for alcohol now, even though you are on ‘dry January’ ?!

I’m now going to update the adoptions page, though I think there is only one to add.  Is there no-one out there who could give Zac a home ?  He has been waiting so long.

Wishing everyone a much better year than last year, although I fear we are certainly not out of the woods yet.  The sales have started and I’m not even tempted, realising that the only clothes I have worn for a long time are joggers and jumpers !  What I absolutely must find is a 2021 diary – not that there is much to put in it !  A friend insists I can use my tablet as there is a facility on that to create a diary but I’m not having much luck, apparently I was supposed to have lunch with a friend at 8am last Sunday !!!

Love,

Sue

 

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30TH NOVEMBER 2020

 First of all a very Happy Birthday (and Wedding Anniversary) to my pal Gaynor (and Phil) !!  Gaynor is a much valued supporter of Poorpaws  and is  the animal welfare person to go to in her village.  Not only that, she is listed somewhere on a piece of paper in my house as my future carer, in case of need.  This may be sooner than anticipated if my forgetfulness gets much worse !!  Sorry G.

So, we’re back in confinement and whilst Ernst and I are amongst the lucky ones with plenty of outside space, I do feel for those stuck indoors with very little outside contact and perhaps children to stop from bouncing off the walls.  On this note, let me recommend to you the blog ‘Granny Smith’s Diary’ absolutely brilliant for ideas on keeping children (and adults !) occupied whilst learning at the same time. 

In the last newsletter I told you that Marot had gone on a trial adoption and I am more than delighted to tell you that his adoption is now confirmed.  His new owner says he is just a dream dog and is encouraging her to get out walking again.  Here are a couple of photos, compare Marot now to the porker he used to be, what a handsome lad.  They look a very happy team !

We are having a lot of people asking us to take in older dogs at the moment for various reasons, mainly for not thinking ahead, and whilst we will obviously do what we can to help, homing oldies is not easy, so on this subject I would ask those of you who are perhaps not in the first flush of youth and who want to adopt a dog, to please, please, please, look at the benefits of an older dog.  Mostly these come from homes where they have been used to living indoors, so no toilet training needed, they need less exercise and are happy to ‘couch potato’ with you (by your feet NOT on the sofa !) if it is raining and a six year old episode of Escape to the Country is more appealing than a walk !!  I have recently been asked by a older person (ten years older than me) for a dog but “not an old one as I am in great health and intend to live to 100”.  Well, yes, you may be in great health now but who knows what is round the corner ?  Here at Poorpaws we have at least two of our thirteen dogs who were adopted from us when young and have come back to us because, unexpectedly, they have outlived their owners.  We will not let a puppy go to anyone 70 or over, it just isn’t fair to the puppy who needs to go to a young lively home.  How lovely, rather, to give a sad dog, confused because his/her beloved owner has ‘disappeared’, final years of love and comfort.

Adoptions have been great this month, the very nervous Lemon Setter has gone to a wonderful home where she is coming on in leaps and bounds, and Eben the older Cocker Spaniel has also been adopted.  We will probably have another older Cocker looking for a home soon, so keep an eye on the adoptions page.  It is very urgent that we find a home for Peaches the cat and poor Zac who is a beautiful dog, has been waiting soooo long.

Next time I write Christmas will have been and gone and a very different one it will be this year.  Our traditional Christmas Day Fizz is cancelled and my friend Sue who has been coming over every year since God was a boy, will not be coming.  So it’s going to be quiet – I will be watching Christmas dvds and reading by the fire (after walking the dogs) and Ernst will be as happy as Larry as I have bought him a huge suduko book, but shhh, don’t tell him.  However, you can tell him that I am hoping for a heater for the greenhouse !!

Have a good one !

Sue x

 

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1ST NOVEMBER 2020

45 hours to go and we still didn’t know if we were going to be able to go with the Book Sale !  Books were categorised, boxed, and stacked ready to be loaded,  cakes were sitting on worktops all over the area (?!) with our Cake Goddesses standing spatulas in hand wondering were the cakes to be iced or frozen ?  Then finally the call came, ‘Houston we have lift off ‘ and everyone sprang into action.  Obviously we were given a list of ‘cans and cannots’;  masks obligatory, hand sanitisers all over the place, separate entry and exit doors, one way system in the hall and a limited number of people at any one time inside.  We were so lucky with the weather, a warm sunny day, surely St. Cadbury, St. Prosecco and St. Roch were smiling down on us.  There was a ‘trickley’ start to the day, unlike the usual crowd we have desperate to start browsing at 9am, but that was good  considering our number limitation.   The sunny day allowed us, for the first time ever, to put tables of books outside so that when more …… and more, people arrived , they were able to peruse whilst waiting their turn to go in.  We also offered free coffee whilst people waited and I think that was greatly appreciated.  Anna was there iphone in hand taking everyone’s contact details so that should there be a worst case scenario, everyone could be contacted.  There wasn’t, phew !   Yes, of course, the numbers were well down which was to be expected as many of our buyers are in the ‘vulnerable’ age group, but I think that those who came agreed we did everything possible to keep everyone safe and we were really encouraged and appreciative of the very, very, many compliments and thanks which came from nearly everyone.  To the lady who complained that she had difficulty finding the hall from the village carpark,  we humbly suggest that she makes a visit to the French equivalent of Specsavers, as if she didn’t see the sign showing the direction to the hall which also had balloons attached to it,  then there is a problem !

Our idea of doing ‘Half Price Sunday’ did not attract many punters and most of those who came insisted on paying full price anyway – unlike the very latecomer on Saturday who didn’t even want to pay full price despite arriving over an hour after we had ‘closed’.  The sale  is for charity for goodness sake !!  So, whether or not we do a two day sale next time is under consideration and who knows where we will all be by Springtime next year !

Despite the numbers being well down, we made 1,588 euros which we were delighted with, PLUS since the sale, I have received many donations from lovely people sad that they didn’t feel able to come.  One of the donations was a three figure cheque which totally gobsmacked us all.  We thank you all so very much and desperately hope we will see you all next Spring.

Now we are back in confinement and life has slowed down again.  I’m back to gardening and reading in the greenhouse, missing coffees with girlfriends and, this year, Strictly Suppers.  However, as they say, ‘first world problems’, my house hasn’t been washed away by floods, I do not have children to feed and wonder how I’m going to cope financially, so, hey, how lucky am I – as is nearly everyone I know.

My lovely hairdresser, Ghislaine, was due to retire on the 7th November and many of us had appointments for her last day,  now of course, she has retired a week early and many of us are left thinking bxgger, no last haircut.  What was that about first world problems ?  This is serious !

We had an exodus of dogs just before confinement and several have been reserved for collection when we can travel out of our regions.  Sadly, Danielle has had to take in several more who will be on the website very soon.  A beautiful but traumatised Lemon Setter and four Beagles.  Luckily both popular breeds !Here is the lovely Pilou going to a fabulous new home.  Feedback is excellent, he is much loved and is getting on with his new pals very well.  What a lucky boy, worth waiting for eh Pilou ?

Stay safe, stay home !

Sue

 

 

 

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30 th SEPTEMBER 2020

Signing in direct from Ile de Ré this month !  We have been here for two weeks this year, such a treat, but St. Cadbury has punished us by sending not the best of weather.  Decidedly chilly for this time of year with quite a bit of rain.  However only two days have been cycling free days so I’m not complaining.  Plus there is the bonus of Roland Garros on the television !  Today is our last day and we have got the tail end of the storm Alex which meant that on going to bed last night I quite expected to wake up “not in Kansas anymore” !  The storm is expected back tonight and I’m just praying the bridge is not closed and we can get to the mainland and home safely tomorrow.  I must say that if I could choose to be stranded anywhere, here is where I would choose BUT I’m missing the dogs bigtime now and looking forward to getting back to them.  They have been in the care of Tiffany who came to dog/house sit for us.  She arrived in her camping car along with her own three dogs, three puppies, a cat and two kittens she is bottle feeding !  Tiff stayed with us for a couple of days before we left and when we did leave I was happy knowing that the dogs were in safe hands. (Brittany Spaniel Isabella thanked Tiff for her care by eating her shoes.  Hmm wonder if that means she doesn’t want her to leave !) Last ‘phone call related that ALL the dogs were together in the kitchen and everything was fine.  I can highly recommend Tiffany if you are looking for someone to dog/house sit on any occasion.

 Just had to share these lovely photos with you.  Dear Robyn has been adopted and doesn’t he look happy ?  After his horrific start in life we are so grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Nunn for taking a chance on him and giving him a great new start.  First reports are very good and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that Robyn gets over his early beginnings and becomes the lovely chap we know is within.

We are all still keeping our fingers crossed for the Book Sale (s) !  17th and 18th October, usual place, St. Pantaleon Salle de Fetes, opening at 10 am.  There are however, of course, a few changes which you need to be aware of.  No lunches, sorry, but our usual yummy cakes.  Masks ABSOLUTELY obligatory and hand santisers will be in evidence at several spots around the hall.  A one way system which we are working out and which we hope will be straightforward and not make you all look like you are taking part in a Scottish reel or the Okey Kokey !  Different entry and exit doors.  NO  BOOKS will be accepted on the day, but if you have some to donate make sure to speak to me on the day and I will arrange collection for shortly after the sale so that we have them for the Spring sale.  No parking in front of the hall, except for the disabled, there is a large car park just a two minute walk from the hall.  Oh, nearly forgot, this year we are extending the sale to Sunday 10 to 2.  No cakes, unless there are left overs from Saturday, but there will be coffee and biscuits on offer and books will be half price.  Hope to see you on one (or both !) days.

Sue x

 

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3rd SEPTEMBER 2020

Oops, I did it again, missed the end of August and here we are already 3rd September.  Today was a very happy day as Danielle and I took Jozy to her new home.  She has been adopted by some friends of mine in Tarn et Garonne.  I have known Coral and Chris for at least 45 years but apart from a brief meeting at a book sale some years ago, we haven’t seen each other properly for ages.  In fact it is thanks to them that I am here in France !  They came over looking for a holiday home back in the eighties and visited a lovely little house just outside of Montcuq.  They decided against it but told me and my then husband all about it.  We came over, loved the house and bought it.  We spent many happy holidays there, then went our separate ways and the house was sold.  In fact it has been sold several times since we had it and I am very happy to say that, by chance, Ernst and I are very close friends with the couple who own the house now.  Anyway, Jozy !  She is just a dream dog and although the resident cocker Spaniel, Lady, was not too impressed to find she has a new playmate, the latest news is that after just a couple of hours they are both sleeping happily in the same room.  Jozy is the gentlest of gentle dogs and she won’t mind at all if Lady wants to be top dog.

 

Above you have a lovely photo of Bouboule, so contented in her new home.  Lucky little girl !   Also puppy Romeo (now Zac) enjoying a walk with his new family, then, at the top, Jozy, now Jessie (love the name) who looks as though she has fallen very comfortably on all four paws.  Just hope Danielle doesn’t see the photo, dogs on chairs, hmm !!  August was a great month for adoptions.  Romeo, Rosie (now Rosa) and Rocky were adopted very quickly and are proving to be extremely bright and quick to learn.  Romy has also moved on and the bestest of best news is that the gorgeous Pheobus has found a new home.  Poor P was dumped by some dustbins and all I can say is that the heartless numbskulls who left him there will never know what they have missed.  A simply beautiful boy.

We’ve had a lot of interest in Marot and I’m sure that in the next newsletter I will be able to announce that he too has gone to a forever home.

Last Sunday we ran our usual clothes stall at the Montcuq Vide Grenier.  This year, instead of being held in the little streets and alleys of Montcuq, it was held at the municipal campsite – probably because of covid restrictions.  Although it was much easier for stall holders to access and set up, there wasn’t the usual atmosphere.  In a way we were incredibly lucky with the weather as it had chucked it down for two days before and we set off at 5.30 am casting very anxious eyes at the sky – which was of course pitch black at that time in the morning !  Dawn broke grey and   C O L D !  However, apart from a few drops a couple of times, the showers held off until it was packing up time.  People were telling us that it was raining everywhere around Montcuq and because of that I am sure some people didn’t venture out, which was a shame.  We ‘only’ took 563 euros, half of last year’s total but in the circumstances I don’t think we did too badly.  No-one was buying t-shirts or Summer dresses, so most of those have been packed up to be held over for next year.  Something wonderful did happen though, a Dutch couple had heard of Danielle’s work through the dog rescue grapevine and came along to give her a very generous donation, so that sweetened the day somewhat.

After the scorching Summer, I have decided to throw in the towel and stop trying to keep our terrace full of flowers and shrubs, it is just too hot for them.  Every year I have to move pots to the shade when the watering restrictions come in, so now we are having a basic pergola built, I will grow robust climbing plants over it and just have furniture and tables out there, keeping the plants to shady areas.

Off to the Ile de Re on the 19th for TWO weeks this year, so we are just keeping fingers crossed that distance restrictions are not imposed.  It is over a year since our last visit and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms.  This time last year we were in full preparation for our hiking trip to Japan, where has the year gone ?!

We still haven’t made a decision re our Book Sale in October, I’m waiting to find out what the rules and restrictions are going to be. (UPDATE 6/9/20 BOOK  SALE  IS  ON !!) I’m hoping against hope that even if it is just a hall full of books and me taking money it will go ahead – though it would be such a shame not to have the cakes. Can I live without Liz’s carrot cake and/or Pat’s coffee and walnut ? Nope, I don’t think so !

Stay safe, 

Sue x

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4TH AUGUST 2020

Oh my goodness, July left quietly and August sneaked in without me realising it and here we are already the 4th !  I’m sure I’m not the only one who frequently gets confused since confinement, the days just seem to roll into one and I often wake up wondering what day it is and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Last month was like the parson’s egg, good in parts.  One very good part was that I met up with Shelagh from Pheonix Association and Tiffany, ex of Pheonix.  The three of us go back a very long time and Pheonix is in fact the reason I got into dog rescue after I went up there to adopt a Border Colley puppy.  Ignorant then of how refuges work, I was very embarrassed when I chose dear Geoff (who sadly turned out to have a cerebral problem and lived only 18 months) to find I had forgotten purse and chequebook !  At that time I was working in an hotel, so pledged my next month’s tips to Pheonix.  Shelagh and Rick were doing (what am I saying, are STILL doing) amazing work and helped me immensely when I started Poorpaws.  We live quite a long way away from each other but meet up a couple of times a year at Villereal for a long lunch and catch up.  Tiff left and went to live in Cornwall for a time but came rushing back when Cornwall voted Brexshit and now does ‘animal sitting’ for people going on holiday.  She has tremendous experience with all animals and in fact will be our saviour at the end of September when we do our annual ‘down tools’ and go off to Ile de Re – covid permitting.

A very sad part of the month was when my friend Karen died, after a long, painful time, from a rare disease.  I met Karen when I used to clean for her and go and sit with her terminally ill husband so that she could get out to shop.  Her husband died and she didn’t need me so much, but we became very good friends.  She was a lovely person who suffered so much but never complained.  The worst I ever heard her say was “Oh, it’s a bugger aint it”.  I try to remember that when I’m moaning about some trivial thing.

The scary part of the month was taking my French language examination in preparation for applying for French citizenship.  I’m still not 100% sure I will apply, but I couldn’t do it without the exam under my belt anyway, so I decided to take it to get it out of the way.  I was SO nervous on the day, I haven’t taken an exam since my O levels and that was ……. well, let’s just say a long time ago !  The exam takes two and a half hours and consists of of French oral comprehension, written comprehension, oral expression and written expression.  I won’t get the full results until September but was told “not to worry”, so I’m hoping that was a good sign.  One of the oral questions was ” What is your favourite domestic animal and why ?”  Well, how jammy was that ?  They had to hook me off from the side to shut me up !!!

Lovely Etain and Patou were adopted this month, hang on in there Pheobus, your time will come !  We’ve had a few more in and I must update the website.  You can always go to Seconde Chance website, click on Midi Pyrenees, then Lot, then search and go to La Mere aux Betes (you can also find the site on facebook) where you will Danielle’s dogs.

Finally, nowhere to go on Friday 7th ?  Then go along to the Marche Gourmande at Tournon d’Agenai where Absolutely Fabba will be performing a great selection of songs – with quite a bit of Abba as the name suggests.  Gaynor and Pam who form A F are two of The Stanley Sisters who entertained us all last year.  If you can’t make the 7th, then you have another chance on the 25th at Beauville at the Fish and Chip night.  See the Bon Coeur website for details.

Enjoy August …..  and pray for a bit of rain !

Sue x

 

 

 

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2ND JULY

Cast ne’er a clout ’til May is out, so they say.  So I perspired all through the heatwave that was May, not casting any clouts.  Come 1st June I cast in gay abandon, socks, liberty bodices and vests all put away until November.  Hah !  Then Mother Nature played a rotten trick, throwing us back to March so I had to get all my ‘clouts’ out again !!  Accu Weather, Weather Channel and all the others, you are getting money for old rope !!

I often get calls from all over France from English speaking people looking to adopt and who just don’t realise the vast distances from one area of the country to another.  No offence but often foreigners seem to think that the Lot is just a short drive from Paris.  My advice is always the same, if you are not prepared, or don’t have the time, to drive a long way and perhaps even stay overnight (many lovely people in fact do just that), go to a nearby vet and ask for details of a good refuge.  Vets often know of dogs still in families but who need another home.  This often happens when elderly people go into a home and there is no-one to take care of the beloved pooch.

Adoptions were excellent in June and I just can’t wait for Pheobus and Etain to find great homes, both are really super dogs who have not had a great time up to now, in fact quite the opposite, so they deserve to find happiness.  Opale too, she was abandoned when in pup and was, understandably, very wary of humans, only Danielle being allowed to go anywhere near her babies.  That gradually changed as the pups got more and more demanding (!) and she is now in need of a home where all the attention will be on her.  She is quite happy being the only dog and does not need – or want I think – canine company.

Here at Poorpaws lots of discussions are going on as to the possibility of the Autumn Book Sale.  With the current restrictions it is not possible and we have to wait until 11th July to see what the next level of deconfinement brings.  In any case we have to take into consideration many things.   We would not be able to do lunches, drinks would be in paper -please god not plastic – cups, movement around the hall would probably need to be socially distanced, masks obligatory, gloves optional, hand sanitisers everywhere, the list goes on.  Of course the joy of book sales is picking up, flicking through and making your choice so it would be impossible to ensure the cleanliness of the books.  We would NOT take books on the day, all donations would have to be with us at least three weeks before.  Then, of course, would people come ?!  The majority of our customers are in the vulnerable age group – as are most of your book sale team – so are they really going to want to go into a hall with lots of other people ?  We muted the idea of a two day sale to spread out a bit, but I think people would want to come on the first day to get a better choice. (This idea gave us another, when things return to ‘normal’ we may have two day sales with just coffee and biscuits on the second day and books half price.)  What do you think ?

So nothing decided as yet so keep an eye on the website for the updates.  If the sale does not go ahead but the Montcuq Vide Grenier does, we will have our usual clothes stalls PLUS book stalls.

I had a treat last week, Olivia’s sister Willow came to stay for a couple of nights.  Stupidly I was sure they would be all over each other, but not so.  Willow is taller than Olivia but with shorter fur and had a dreadful experience a while ago when she decided to add garden toad to her diet !  She was dreadfully ill and her owners had a very anxious time, but St. Cadbury was obviously looking over her ! 

Love,

Sue x

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31ST MAY 2020

Sometimes – well quite often really – peoples’ kindness and generosity is overwhelming.  As you know, we were unable to have our Spring Book Sale and this hit Danielle and me very hard as finances stagger from book sale, to clothes sale to the second book sale.  I’m not complaining, it was my decision to keep the unadopted dogs -15 as I write – and so I assume responsibility for their care.  A few lovely regular attendees of the sales sent us cheques to the value of what they would have spent and in the last few days I have received emails from the Bon Coeur and the Mains Tendues associations offering donations.  The latter two are teams of people, one team from Beauville and one from Varen, near St. Antonin who are constantly fund raising for small associations, be they caring for needy people or needy animals.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for thinking of us when, I am sure, many of you have other problems at this time.

Adoptions have been great this month with dogs flying out almost as soon as they arrive, but as always, as they leave, so they arrive and there are some beauties on the adoptions page – as well as a pig !!

So, confinement is more or less over for the individual but I think our favourite bars and restaurants are going to need our support in the coming days as even if they open, the distance restrictions will surely cut down the numbers of people they can accommodate.  Having coffee on a sunny terrace watching the world go by will be nice and a friend said that it will be nice to be able to get out to spend money again.  Hmm, I managed to do that quite well from home buying plants for the garden !  If you have read previous letters you will gather that I have loved spending two months gardening, however that has come back to bite me on the … well, you know what.  Ernst and I had to cancel a weeks’ holiday in the mountains and have now been offered a week at Cap d’Ail …..this week !  Not possible, no time to get dog cover and I just cannot possibly leave the garden even for 24 hours, just so much to keep an eye on.  However, Ernst could go and spend a week with his sister, they get on very well, and I am trying to encourage him to go without looking too enthusiastic !

I have read a shedload (almost literally !) of books during confinement and, because of my deteriorating memory (thanks Dad) decided to write the titles and authors down, marking them out of ten.  Had a few 9s a couple of 2s and three 0s -couldn’t even finish those – but mostly around 8.  However, looking back at the list I realise I cannot remember what some of the books were about !  So I now have to write a bit about each book to remind myself.  Early onset dementia ?  Please no ! (‘Early’ ? Who am I trying to kid ?!).

This is a photo of a bed I bought intending to laze on  in the garden sipping home made lemonade !  Well that never happened so I put it to another use !

Sue x

 

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2ND MAY 2020

So, what happened ?  Did I sleep through a season somehow ?  Just a few days ago I was walking the dogs up on the hills behind us, in the sunshine, wearing a tshirt and jeans;  yesterday I had to put on full wet weather gear, got blown away and soaked to the skin !

Panic for us living in the Lot the day before yesterday when the ‘red/green’ regional maps came out on the lead up to deconfinement, we were in red !!  Lots of emails going round trying to find out the reason, then, what a relief, the Mayor of Cahors was on the lunchtime news saying that it was an error and when the next map came out, we would be green.  We were !  Actually, I think I’m going to have to be dragged out of confinement kicking and screaming, I’m loving it. Days and days at home not worrying where I should be and when, just long days of gardening and reading, walking the dogs and, hmm, cooking !  The first three are going very well, I have created a small Japanese area in the garden as well as a ‘bee and butterfly’ area and a bug hotel.  The next project is a pond, which may not be a great idea, with visions of dogs splashing and drinking the water  !  I have never had so much reading time and have read thirteen books since confinement started.  A lot of this is done sitting in my (very) little greenhouse.  That is absolute bliss, lovely and warm with the soothing smell of growbag and watching seedlings.  The dogs all lay outside, even when it is raining.  This is the first greenhouse year in France and I have been able to over Winter flowers and plants from last Summer.  Now I have got tomatoes too.

As for the cooking, well, not such a success story !  Betsy and I made a wonderful banana and walnut loaf and, flushed with success, we decided to try a carrot cake.  Those of you who come to our book sales will probably have tried, loved and fought after Liz’s carrot cake with that dreamy cream.  Poor Liz has to make three or four for each sale and I thought, well, if I can help out, that would be great.  So, I set to and the mixture looked very encouraging.  I have those round cake tins which you can clip shut – very professional !  I poured the mixture in and lifted the tin to put into the oven, but sadly I had forgotten to clip the sides shut.  A near disaster !  Luckily I had put baking paper in the tin so was able to grab the four corners quickly and hold the mixture whilst I clipped the tin shut.  Only a small amount of mixture was lost so I was hopeful.  Sadly the cake bore no relation to the wonderful creation Liz makes, so I’ll stick to my ginger cake !  Another cooking accident just the other day; I was mixing a cake mix with an electric hand held mixer when the electricity went off.  Silly me had switched the oven on at the same time as the washing machine, totally forgetting that Betsy does NOT share !  I switched off the washer and went down tot he gate to put the leccy back on again.  Halfway back up to the kitchen I heard a weird noise then thought “oh no, I’ve forgotten to switch the whisk off “.  If only I had a video camera, I got to the kitchen to find cake mixture flying around with dear old Tega running around trying to catch the drips !

As for dogs news, well, all was obviously very quiet at the start of confinement, then there were all the fears and rumours of dogs having to be put to sleep, so regulations were relaxed.  I’m not sure why, but there were also stories that thousands of dogs would be abandoned.  Why ?!  Surely, with people having to be at home with dog walking being one of the things allowed, you would keep your dog.  Happily this proved to be true, Danielle and I had no reports of abandoned dogs, a few lost, but not abandoned and there were no reports from other refuges of an influx.  In fact, adoption figures rose !  My adoption page is looking very sad at the moment with no dogs available as I type, but with the relaxation of travel restrictions for movement of dogs, Danielle has had a busy week collecting dogs and these will be on the the website asap.

So, it looks as though confinement may slowly, slowly be over.  The day it started I made a list of things to do, the first thing being shorten and put up curtains.  Now here we are with liberation in sight and guess what I haven’t done …..!  Another thing I meant to do was to watch the Harry Potter films AND the very popular animated films, Frozen, Shrek, Toy Story etc.  I have never wanted to watch them but they are all sitting in the boxes of dvds currently in our shed waiting for the next Book Sale, so I thought I ought to give them a go.  It looks very much as if our next sale won’t be until the Autumn, if then, but fingers crossed !  If it can go ahead there are plans perhaps to make it a two day event.  Watch this space !

I’ll finish with, I hope, a five second video of the reaction of my great niece on being asked if she would like to sing Happy Birthday to her Granddad.  Love it !

Sue x 

 

 

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1ST APRIL 2020

I’ve just realised, it’s April Fools’ Day !  Sadly, what is going on right now is anything but a joke.  When the virus panic started I have to admit to thinking well, loads of people die from flu every year and Gaynor pointed out that a million people die from malaria every year – and from that most are children – so why all the fuss about coronavirus ?  I suppose because this is sweeping through Europe, Scandinavia, America, Australasia, in fact all the countries not usually connected with mass deaths, that usually happens in third world countries doesn’t it ?  Well, no, obviously not.  I am not a ‘believer’ in fact I am an atheist (sorry if that upsets anyone, no bad feeling intended) but like most people of my age, had religion taught to me in schools and those of us who went to convent schools (can’t you tell ?!) had more religion than most.  So obviously bits come back to me and what the world is experiencing at the moment seems almost biblical;  floods in the UK and France, fires in Australia, locusts in Africa and the virus worldwide.

Like nearly all my friends, we are so, so, very lucky.  We have a house and garden and live in the country.  The weather is great, so confinement to us means lots of gardening, reading, a daily walk with the dog(s) and, basically, being on holiday at home with a weekly visit to the supermarkets which, are, thankfully, doing a great job of providing our basic needs, white chocolate and wine for example.  Imagine, just IMAGINE for a minute being confined to an apartment with lively children and no outside space, only being allowed out for one hour a day.  NIGHTMARE !  There are many, many, funnies going around on the internet at the moment and one of my very favourites is “After a week of home schooling, the parents are going to find a cure for the virus before the scientists” !  One good thing is that apparently dogs are having more walks than they ever had before !

Clearly, until confinement ends, there can be no dog adoptions unless you live close to Poorpaws or La Mere aux Betes, so if you are looking for a dog to adopt I do urge you to go to your nearest S.P.A., or other local refuge and choose from there.  Refuges are having a bad time with many volunteers unable to get there.

Rant time !   Precis version. Back in January we were asked to take in four puppies .  Yes.  Nothing further is heard from the people.  Two weeks later, apologies but it is so difficult for us to give them up, can you still take them.  We understand and yes.  Nothing. Then, can we pick them up (three hours away).  No, but we can meet you half way.  Great, can we do it tomorrow ? (We are now in MARCH and pups are five months old.) No, closed for a week, 31st March is next possible date.  Ok.  Then of course CONFINEMENT !  Can we still meet them Monday ? No, not without permission from gendarmes.  No worries, they have permission and will come down to Cahors.  Great, call us when you are 50kms from Cahors and Danielle will meet you. Meeting planned for around midday on the Monday.  TUESDAY , we are still waiting to hear from them with no reply to our ‘phone calls and emails.  Finally, we are now seriously worried, I emailed to say that if we hadn’t heard from them by the afternoon I would call the Mairie of their town to go and check that everything was ok with them.  FINALLY a reply saying they couldn’t travel after all.  That was it, no apology for not letting us know or making us stay near the ‘phone getting more and more anxious !  I was LIVID and was all for telling them to xxxx  xx but Danielle is a much nicer person than me and told me just to say we were glad they were ok, but it would have been a good idea to let us know they weren’t coming ! 

Finally, stay safe and well everyone and here is a photo of my great niece, a reason to be cheerful !Sue xx

 

 

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1ST MARCH 2020

Starting off this month with some happy photos !  At the top, when Rosie met Harry, this happened last year and they are inseparable.  Underneath we have Olly who is proving to be an absolute star – you can’t go wrong with a Brittany I say !  We love it when dogs keep in touch and let us peek into their new lives !  What we like less is when people ask us to help home a dog, then don’t bother to let us know when the dog is adopted, making me look a fool when I receive enquiries about said dog !

We’ve been quite busy recently on the entertaining side, love having friends round, Ernst is a host par excellence, but hate the cooking (and house cleaning !) beforehand.  Those of you who know me, know I will do my best, but preparing food is not on the top of my ‘love to do’ list.  I have mentioned my cooker, Betsy, before and it is really down to her whether or not a meal is passable or a disaster !  If she is in a good mood, we get by, but get her on a bad day and oh boy, get the indigestion remedy ready.  I do feel sorry for her though, we ordered her from England because a similar model here cost twice as much, even including delivery.  Betsy probably got terribly excited about coming to France, imagining that she would be at the beck and call of a  culinary French domestic goddess.  She landed with me, quelle disappointment !  She has a fan oven which blows all the electricity in the house if it is switched on, a grill which doesn’t get hot enough to ….. grill, and an ordinary oven which is the only thing I can use, apart from the gas hob.

We had friends round last evening, one of whom is a chef !  Luckily, bless him, he likes plain food when invited out.  However, he was recently very ill with blocked arteries, so having experienced one ‘near death’ experience, I thought it very brave of him to chance another dining here !  Luckily all went well and I’ve not had any worrying feedback !

Today (Monday 2nd) the weather has been atrocious, blowing a gale with horizontal rain /hail.  So I shut myself up in the shed – along with five of the (very wet) dogs and got stuck in to book and dvd sorting. I do actually love it but always exit with an armful of books /dvds which I have to read /watch before the 4th April !  It is such a joy when a book or dvd I have been hoping to get hold of, suddenly turns up, also to find a book which looks really good and which thereby introduces me to an author I haven’t read before.  The car is now absolutely full to the brim of books to dispose of which breaks my heart, most of them are not even in bad condition, but they are titles that are in every book sale time after time after time and which everyone has read by now.

A couple of weeks ago I received news that an elderly second cousin had died on the Isle of Wight.  I’m sorry to say that I had never even heard of her and that not only made me sad, but gave me a spooky preview of a conversation in the – hopefully far distant – future between great nieces and nephews (neither Ernst nor I have any children) :-

“Hey did you hear that Great Aunt Susan has died ?”

“Who’s she ?”

“Some weird old relative who lived in rural France with a load of abandoned dogs.”

“Oh, should we do anything ?”

“Nah, we’ll bung a few quid to Dogs’ Trust, that should do.”

Ho hum !

Sue xx

 

 

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FEBRUARY 2ND 2020

Computer seems to be behaving itself after the wobbly last month – who would believe that the old remedy, unplug for ten minutes then switch on again, actually works !  Any mistakes this month duly down to me and to the fact that I am listening to the final of the Australian Open whilst typing !

It has been a very quiet month due to the fact that both Ernst and I – Ernst much worse obviously ! – have had the awful cold/flu that has been around this month. We did both however manage to stagger to the Notaire last week to get PACSd (Civil Union).  We had decided finally to do this because of the French inheritance laws;  our house is in both our names and without any legal ‘joining’, when one of us dies, the other would have to pay 60% tax on the deceased’s share of the property.  It was quite funny as I thought it would take months to organise and get all the necessary paperwork, but we had an appointment with the Notaire a couple of weeks ago to take birth certificates etc., then were asked to go back two weeks later.  We though it was just for a regrouping of official bits and pieces, but before you could say “whoa, hang on a minute” we had signed and were done !  It was a bit like picking up a parcel at the post office.  You can do all the prep yourself but we decided to cough up and let the Notaire do it all for us.  We decided on a civil union as it is much easier than getting married, plus the facts that why would I wish to marry a third (!) time and Ernst wants to go to his grave a bachelor.  I’m very keen to help him to realise this ambition  !

Now I’m just waiting to see what’s happening on the carte de sejour situation.  The department of the Lot, in its’ wisdom decided not to issue cartes de sejour until brexshit was decided.  Many of us applied in 2018 and were told we would get them in a few months but they never arrived.  Then we were told to apply on line but if we had applied in person already not to do anything further.  Then that was changed !  Now we are told that all those who applied on line will get their cards but nothing about all of us who queued up at 7am to be sure to get an appointment.  ‘They’ have all our paperwork, our finger prints and our SAEs but who knows if we will have to go through it all again.  Anyhow if we do, we do, it’s worth it to be able to live here.

Adoptions have been fantastic this month.  Our lovely, lovely Luke has gone to a wonderful home just up the road from here.  I’m dying to go and see him but need to let him settle first.  The  people who have adopted him weren’t too sure at first, thinking he may be a bit big for them but Luke won them over by sitting by them and looking up adoringly.  I’m more than happy to say that updates have been full of praise for the really adorable Luke.

Sweet little Olly has gone also, again to a really great home – phew ! – and is now Polly which suits her beautifully.  I have received a photo of her looking very relaxed and at home.

Olky, now Olly (!) went off with the ideal couple who will train him and the bright little button he is, that shouldn’t take long.

I’m gearing up to Book Sale mode now, the weather forecase is brilliant for today and tomorrow so I may head down to the shed and get sorting.  With all the rain we have had the shed has tilted slightly so Ernst has to shore it up, but luckily no damage to the books.  We’ve already had some great donations and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

My resolutions for 2020 have so far had a 50% success, I have not ordered any dvds/books from Amazon (like I need books with a shedful in the garden, but I collect them like people collect shoes or bags, I just love being surrounded by them), but, sorry to say not buying clothes has failed due to a dress I liked being reduced hugely in the sales !  I’m also watching hardly any television – sorry Garden Rescue – and watching French news much more than English.  Meantime I already have a list of dvds noted in the back of my diary ready to buy next year ….. when hopefully they will have come down in price.  Tight ? Moi ?!

Sue x

 

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January 5th 2020

Phew, so that’s all over for another year !!  Actually I do love the Festive Season, I love all the ‘cosiness’ the present buying, card sending, putting up the decs, eating all the (white) chocolate and drinking all the Prosecco.  Something has changed though, I find I like the lunchtime ‘dos’ rather than going out at nighttime, when I would be just as happy in front of the fire watching a good Christmas film -if that actualy exists ! – or reading a book. If you have never read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (yes, that one !), then get it in time for next Christmas. It is one of the few books that makes me laugh out loud every year. Don’t bother with the dreadful film with Jamie Lee Curtis, it’s crap.

Regular readers will know that my Olivia is a committed ‘runner’ who will, if I don’t get the lead on her fast enough when walking back towards home, run off and come home hours later. The first time it happened I was distraught but now I’m sort of used to it. I have however bought a GPS tracker so that I can see where she is and this came into it’s own a week or so ago when she stayed out all night, but didn’t move far from where she was in the hills of Bagat. It was a foul night, raining and very windy but I couldn’t get to her in the dark so had to wait it out until the morning.  I drove as far up to where she was as I could but had to abandon the car and continue on foot. She and Ben -old Lab- had got themselves into an electrically protected field but couldn’t get out.  Ben was very happy to see me but Olivia just looked at me as if to say  “You took your time, I haven’t had dinner and have you SEEN the weather ?!” Then I realised that I had been so anxious to find them I had not mentally noted the path I had taken to get to them so spent another 20 minutes wandering around in the pouring rain looking for the car !!

I’m going to cut it short here as the computer is throwing a wobbly and the cursor -causing me to be the curser- keeps jumping back a few lines.

So a very fabulous 2020 to you all – and don’t forget the bok sale 4th April !

Sue x

 

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5TH DECEMBER 2019

Well, phew, that must have been the longest 70th birthday celebrations ever !  A lovely few days at Cap d’Ail with friends down there plus some who came over from England, back home to a wonderful afternoon fizz tea party where my lovely pals here were dressed up in dog ear headbands and all decorations ‘doggy’ !  There was even a slide show running of photos of me and dogs dating back thirty years AND a WHITE chocolate birthday cake, thank you Gaynor, I love you !  Then I went over to England for more lunches and a trip to see the Christmas lights at Kew Gardens.  That was magical and enchanting, if slightly let down by tacky fast food huts.  Can people really not have a lovely hour stroll through gardens without food ?!

The day we went to Kew Susie either lost her iPhone or had it pick-pocketed and my ‘phone, which is just that, a ‘phone, nothing singing or dancing, had died, dead, would not charge up.  So there we were two helpless ladies in the city without a ‘phone, it was just like the olden days !  We needed to contact a friend we were meeting but, of course, no telephone number as all numbers were on the bally ‘phones !  No worries, we could ring Ernst from a ‘phone box and get the number from him. (This was quite a risky solution as Ernst doesn’t answer the ‘phone !)  We passed many telephone boxes, it must be said, but decided to wait until we got to the station to call.  There, very intelligently, all ‘phones are on the platforms so we had to beg to be let through without tickets to find …….. the ‘phones didn’t work !!  I am used to not being with a ‘phone as there is no signal at our place, but poor Susie, anyone would think her arm had been cut off, it was a long weekend for her !

Oh, must tell you, my present from Susie was tickets to an Andre Rieu concert (don’t judge me !) in April,  yey !

So, I’m back and desperately trying to lose the extra kilos put on before the Christmas madness starts !

Whilst in England I read an article in a newspaper about puppies being offered at ‘Black Friday’ prices.  Ok, don’t get me started !  If I could have got my hands round the rotten throats of the rotten people advertising their puppies at ‘bargain’ prices, believe me I would have squeezed and squeezed and squeezed.  What was even worse was that they were French Bulldog pups, who I think,  it is generally agreed by any dog lover anywhere, should no longer be bred.  They have been so overbred that their little flat faces make breathing and snoring a huge problem.  Plus many of their owners spoil them so much that they rarely walk, are fed to the back teeth with treats resulting in overweight dogs who would have problems moving and breathing even if they were any other breed.  Some people don’t deserve to exist.

Who definitely do deserve to exist are Luke and Fidgi, new on the adoptions page.  Luke is here and Fidgi has gone down to Danielle, only because we both know that had she stayed with me any longer I would never have let her go !

For the first time in several years we won’t be hosting a Strictly Finals evening and have passed the baton over to friends.  We will miss hosting but very good mates who are usually in Australia at this time of the year will be here this year and he cannot come to our house because of a violent asthma reaction to dogs. We will however have our usual 12 to 2 Fizz Open House on Christmas Day and no doubt friend Susie will have her whistle ready to blow at 2pm so that she, Ernst and I can put our feet up in front of the fire ready to watch Gavin and Stacey, so excited !  I know, I know, sad !

Have a happy Festive Season and when making New Year resolutions, put ‘adopt a needy dog’ at the top of the list !

Sue xx

 

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31ST OCTOBER 2019

A very sad RIP this month.  My dear friend Lyn who I  visited twice a week when possible, for many years, died on the 21st of this month.  Lyn was 99 and was desperate to get to her 100th birthday on 2nd January.  She didn’t make it but there will be a tea party nevertheless.  I had thought she would die when I was in Japan and couldn’t believe it when I found her still with us  on my return.  “Still with us” is rather an exagerration as she was away in her own little world by then, asking for news of friends and family long, long gone.  Most days she didn’t know who I was but the last thing she said to me was “I love you too”.  I don’t think she knew who she was saying it to, but I’m keeping it.

Those of you who have supported our book sales from the beginning when it was held in a barn at Beliben may remember Lyn bless her.  She loved being there and sat at the cake table all wrapped up in blankets, insisting she was fine and chatted away to everyone.

Talking of book sales – see what I did there ?! – our sale on the 19th October was, yet again, thanks to you, a huge success.  We didn’t quite get to the 3,000 euros we are beginning to expect, but 2,875 is a very respectable amount and we were up against two very important rugby matches !  Thank you so, so much to all who donated fabulous books which prompted many people to congratulate us on the quality and condition of the books.  Sadly we do have to exclude some of the donations which are not in such good condition and some which we receive in large numbers and which most people have read – I could build a house with the numbers of Da Vinci Code  – we don’t think people really want collections of dead insects included, but in the main the books have been brilliant and very up to date as well.  We realise there are other bigger book sales around and although it would be easy for us to move to bigger premises, the size we keep to is manageable and, we like to think, cosy. 

One of our very regular supporters is Polly-Anne Lloyd who is a dog trainer and behaviour advisor – although usually it is owners who need training as I think we all agree and I put my hands up to being one of them !  Polly runs classes and will do one to one training.  She is based in the Tarn and Garonne but runs classes as far up as the Dordogne, so if you and/or your dog need help and advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Her telephone number is 0606484034 / 0563397500 email drhoof@me.com.

I was hoping to give you the date of the next books sale but so far have been unable to confirm the reservation of the hall, however we are aiming for 4th April 2020, so as soon as you get your next year’s diary, mark it in and I will confirm.

 

Our Beagle mix puppies were homed in the blink of an eye and I am sure the Cocker/Spitz ones will too.  There are just the two left and I will be taking a third one down to Cap d’Ail next week when we go down to celebrate (?!) my 70th with friends and family.  I always said I wanted to get down to single figures in dogs before I hit 70, well I failed miserably, we have 14 none of which are leaving here any time soon !

So, 70, I suppose I really have to look at my wardrobe now, nothing worse than  mutton dressing as lamb, mind you Helen Mirren still looks fab, she’s a bit older than me and she dresses ‘young’, must be the convent education, we went to the same school don’t you know !

Sue xx

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2ND OCTOBER 2019

Back safe and sound from our hiking trip in Japan and, as last year, had a wonderful time.  Friends Jackie and Simon managed a drone free exit from Heathrow, but on the flight to Vienna to pick up the Tokyo flight, an air hostess tripped and splashed Jackie with boiling hot tea !  Unbelievably there was no first aid equipment on the ‘plane and Jackie had a nasty burn on her side just where trousers sit.  This was a major poo as it meant that she could not enjoy the onsen baths which are so much a part of holidays in Japan.  Added to that, the vegetarian meals that had ordered were not on board.  Not a good start.  Ernst and I had  trouble free flights from Toulouse to Munich, then on to Tokyo.  We met up in an hotel in Sendai, where the hiking started and the holiday commenced.  It was fabulous !  What I love about the company, Walk Japan, is that it is not just a tourist site seeing holiday, the hikes take you through little Japanese villages and you stay in little local inns.  We managed to avoid black bears, aggressive wild monkeys  and even a typhoon !  The hiking took up the first week then the second we returned to Sendai and did the tourist bit.  If you ever go there I can recommend the Mozart Café at the art museum !  We visited all day then in the evenings ate and went to an English pub – where we were the only westerners – to watch rugby !  Sadly my unenthusiasm for ‘proper’ Japanese food had not changed in the year between visits but we managed.  Luckily Ernst loved it and ate for all four of us !  I could not get in to cold noodles and fish in jelly for breakfast !  One day Jackie and I ordered what we thought was breaded shrimps, only to take a bite and …… OMG what IS this ?!  With the help of Simon’s amazing ‘phone which did instant translations, we were eating, or trying to eat, fish cartilage !!!!  All too quickly the two weeks sped by and before we knew it we were back at Haneda airport and bound for home.  It is taking time to get my body clock back to normal, Japan is seven hours ahead, but getting there slowly.  Although I would love to go back, I fear budget and our ageing limbs will not permit !

Whilst we were away, Pepsi, the little black and white dog we took in just before the holiday, was adopted from Danielle’s as were two others who never made it to the website.  There has been an influx of pups and I will get them on the adoption page just as soon as I can. 

As well as the influx of pups, I have received hundreds if not thousands of books for our sale on October 19th and will be spending all day every day for the next week sorting through them.  Any more cookery books and coffee table books will be held over for the next sale as we have just so many.  There seems to be quite a few people moving, either back to England, or just downsizing and are donating their books to us – thank you.  So, 19th October, 10 am, St. Pantaleon Salle de Fetes, be there for the best choice of great condition second hand books.  Plus tea, coffee, soups and, of course ………CAKES !

Great day today, France will smash America off the rugby field and my dearest friend Gaynor becomes officially French at her citizenship presentation this afternoon.  So honoured to be invited.

Sue x

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3RD SEPTEMBER 2019


Today is a Very  Good  Day !!  Dear old Ben our ancient Labrador who has been missing since Friday, turned up at the kitchen door at 7.30 this morning (Tuesday) – there were tears after bedtime !  I really had begun to fear the worst, he came out on a walk on Friday, as ever not far from his little pal Nervous Nick, and, as usual, they decided to continue the walk after I had turned for home.  Usually they turn up in a couple of hours and no worries, but on Friday Nick came back but no Ben.  After a couple of days without news I thought he had either had a heart attack or worse, or had got disorientated.  Posters were put up everywhere, with the help of good pals he went out on Facebook and I put him on chienperdu.org.  Nothing.  Nick was a bit lonely and just sat in the garden looking at me as if to say “well, where is he ?”  I turned the question back, “you were the last one to see him, you tell me !”  Ben lived most of his life in Portugal with an elderly woman who kept him tied up 24/7 because she was worried he would knock her over. (Durrh what is an old woman doing with a pup ?!).  Then the lady died and her daughter in law brought Ben over to France.  Subsequently that lady’s Mother got cancer and she had to move long term to Paris and asked me to take in Ben.  He is a delight, so gentle and loving and just loves lying around in the garden in the sunshine.  He took Nervous Nick under his wing when Nick came to us as a very frightened puppy and Nick was his shadow.  Gradually, over the years the balance has swung the other way and Nick looks out for Ben – though obviously not very well !!  Anyway Nick’s happy, I’m overjoyed, but poor Ben doesn’t yet realise that his day long walks are over, he stays in the safety of the garden from now on !

We have had two dogs brought to us over the last week, one black and white young dog found in Le Boulve and a little Border Collie pup found on the Cahors road.  Both are out there on social media and last night I had a call from the Border’s owner so she will be going home tonight, phew, a very lively little Madame !!

Our clothes sale at the Montcuq Vide Grenier went brilliantly !  It was a  l o n g  day starting at 4am for me but even earlier for Ernst.  We had so much stuff, thanks to you lovely people, that we had to borrow a bigger van.  Finding out after we had loaded everything that it didn’t lock, we (I !) decided that one of us would have to sleep in the van at Montcuq to make sure nothing was stolen.  Luckily Ernst offered and when I turned up at our pitch at 5am he had unloaded everything ready for me to set up.  The best of best pals turned up at 6am, thank you Sophie and Lesley, followed shortly by Danielle and Patna.  We worked like stink, the clothes were flying off the table and rails – we keep prices ridiculously low so everyone gets a bargain and we don’t end up taking much back – and before we realised it, it was time to pack up and go for a well deserved drink.  Result ?  940.20 euros, an amazing, blow it out of the water record !  This sum is split 50/50 with Danielle, of La Mere aux Betes, who is a tremendous help to every and any one with an animal problem, I couldn’t go on without her.  So, to all those who donated and bought  THANK  YOU !!

We are getting prepared for our second hiking trip in Japan and are very excited.  I’m a bit nervous about meeting bears but it didn’t happen last year and Walk Japan assure use there have only been five sightings in 25 years and no worrying moments whatsoever.  Hmm.  However what is worrying us more than furry friends is getting there for our friends Simon and Jackie who are coming with us.  Ernst and I fly out on Friday 13th (!), Toulouse, Munich, Tokyo.  Jackie and Simon fly, same day, Heathrow, Vienna, Tokyo.  However, a splinter group of the eco warriors are intending to close Heathrow on the 13th with drones !  No chance of changing flights as they are discounted and you have to be on each flight of the package.  So, we are keeping everything crossed.

Lots of adoptions this month, all the little dogs have gone, just have to keep hoping for the ‘non accessory’ types.

Remember the show those Were the Days ?  Well there are to be repeat performances, with longer dancing time at the end, on Friday 27th September and Sunday 29th, at the Salle de Fetes in Montaigu.  I’ll get the booking details and add them.  Don’t miss it, a great evening !  Ok, here are the booking details, book on www.twtd.fr.

Sue x

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1ST AUGUST 2019

My cup runneth over !  I was mistaken for an assistant at Lidl the other day !!  Whenever I go there (often !) I always take a couple of fruit or veg boxes which are very sturdy and great for our book sales.  There was one there which just had a small packet of tomatoes in so I put the tomatoes into the full box under, took the empty one and was just walking away from the stand when a lady tapped me on the arm and asked if ‘we’ still had any of the mini chicory leaves that had been there the last week.  I explained that I wasn’t an assistant and we had a chuckle about it.  After I thought, I missed my chance, I could have apologised ‘Madame’ and said that the chicory had been so popular ‘we’ had sold out immediately.

 

A very sad RIP to dear Rex.  Rex was a darling dog who was leading a very sad existence in a strange household in a nearby village.  ‘Luckily’ the family went on holiday and left their three dogs just to roam the street whilst they were away.  The mayor contacted me to ask if I could have them until they got back and so we took them in.  When the family got back they wanted to take the little white fluffy thing home but not the other two.  Sadly one of the two ran off and was never seen again so I hope he fell into kind hands.  Rex meantime was put on the Poorpaws website and was adopted by a really lovely family.  That happened ten years ago and I have  just been informed that following a very happy life, where he gave and received an extraordinary amount of love, he has gone to be looked after by Saint Cadbury ….. or more likely St. Pedigree.  You were a fabulous dog Rex and deserved every gram of happiness that came your way.

We have had Ernst’s nephew, wife and baby here for a while and I am delighted – and not a little amazed – to say that in ten days, I only heard the baby (11 months) cry twice !  It was a delight to have them here, along with another nephew who turned up in his camper van.  Sadly it was much too hot for them to help Ernst put up my new greenhouse so that is still a work in progress !  Early on in the year I bought some Busy Lizzies for my pots and put them out ……. the night of the last surprise frost.  I then insisted on getting a greenhouse.  I think Ernst is a bit confused with the logics of losing ten euros worth of Busy Lizzies and spending 300 on a greenhouse, but there you go, what do men understand about the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ ?!?!

Went to a fabulous evening last night in Beauville, a student production of Mama Mia, absolutely mind blowing.  The students learn the dances and songs and dialogue in just a week and put on a fantastic show.

The Marche Gourmande at Tournon d’Agenais next week promises to be a good evening especially as The Stanley Sisters will be performing as they will at the Saint Laurent Lolmie village fete tomorrow.

As for dogs, I’m delighted to say that Kelli has found a home, but we are still looking for Fleur and Daisy.

Still time to get your unwanted clothes to me in time for the Poorpaws clothes stall at the Montcuq Vide Grenier (or I can collect).  Then I’ll be on your backs for books again !!

Have a great August and get out and support the great events put on by the various villages – support them or lose them and how sad would that be ?  

Sue xx

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1ST JULY 2019

Last month I had one of the worst days of my life.This is Olivia.  My love for Olivia is total, absolute and unconditional (rather like my love for Alan Alda !).  She was one of a litter of nine we were given to home.  Dad is a Newfoundland and Mum a shepherd dog of sorts.  Olivia was the one left after the others had gone – possibly because I would hide her when people came to view and choose.  There was just something about her, her gentleness, her way of looking at me, she is just up there with my first Brittany, Jack.  A couple of weeks back I took a load of the dogs out for their morning walk and, of course, Olivia came too.  We were walking back towards home down the hill and Olivia was beside me …….. then she was gone !  I didn’t worry the dogs often continue the walk alone coming home shortly after.  However after an hour, two hours, three hours there was no sign of Olivia, all the others were back and I started to get anxious.  At lunchtime there was still no sign and I was worried.  Four o’clock I was in tears and by seven I was almost hysterical.  I had driven round the roads, combed the ditches, checked a large wild pond up the road, rewalked our routes, nothing.  I sat up to 1.30am checking the gate every half hour and Ernst sat up until 3.  I hardly slept a wink and when I did I dreamt that someone had taken her and wouldn’t give her back because her collar was too tight !  I was back down at the gate at 6, no sign.  I then composed and printed posters to flood the area with, stating on the poster that she needed medical attention – this to persuade the person who may have found her, to give her up and not keep her.  At 7am I decided to take the other dogs for a walk in the hope that one of them would find her.  We all went to the gate and, there was Olivia sitting there wagging her tail quite happily !  I was so happy I cried even more.  Of course I couldn’t tell her off, I had to congratulate her and make a fuss of her to ensure that, heaven forbid, if she did it again, she would not be wary of coming home.  The joyful email went out to friends who had offered to give up their day to help the search if she wasn’t back.  Many people asked me where she was, well, durrh, she hasn’t told me yet !!!  Oh, I checked her collar straight away and it was not too tight !!  Phew !

Dogs do that sometimes, just go off, probably after an animal, sometimes just a bit of wonderlust – we once found one of our dogs happily lodging with our neighbour who is 500 metres down the road ! – and when they come back it is so tempting to tell them off but we cannot because they won’t understand why we are angry and will certainly think twice about coming back another time if a good scolding is what awaits them.  A huge hug and a biscuit is the best thing for them …… and a slug of something alcoholic is best for you !

Talking of going off – see what I did there ?! – our dogs seeking homes have been ‘going off’ like hot cakes !  Pixel has gone to a great home (with a rather dishy owner !) living in a mobile home near the sea.  He has made friends with everyone and goes round with his owner whilst he -owner not Pixel ! – effects repairs on his and other camps.

Orphee had just the time to unpack his bags before he had to pack them again and he has gone off to a wonderful life in the mountains.

Oukle, who, quite honestly we thought would be difficult to home, was snapped up within days and has gone to a home where space and love have no boundaries.

A  Poorpaws event to bring to your attention:-Come to a lovely afternoon tea in equally lovely surroundings !  Sandwiches, cake and FIZZ all for 7.50 with the added bonus of the opportunity to SHOP !!   Great second hand clothes, some designer, all in fab condition at great prices.   You have friends / family staying ?  Great bring the ladies and leave the gents to look after the kids and prepare the evening barbeque !  Please email to reserve, either to me or to one of the emails on the poster as, sadly, places are limited.

Whilst we are on the clothes theme (boy am I good at this ‘linking’ thing !), I will be running the usual second hand clothes stall at the Montcuq vide grenier on 25th August and would be grateful for any ladies clothes you want to dispose of.  Bags, shoes and accessories also welcomed.  Just get in touch with me to arrange collection.

More dates for your diaries !  If, like me, you are a fan of The Stanley Sisters – and if you don’t know them yet you will be once you have heard them sing – then you need to know that they will be appearing at Le Boulve Garden Party on Friday 12th July, Chateau d’Aix Marche Gourmand at Saux on Wednesday 17th July, Fete de St. Laurent Lolmie on Sunday 4th August and the Tournon d’Agenais Marche Gourmand Friday 9 August. Catch at least one or more of the dates, you won’t be disappointed.

That’s it, must dash Wimbledon awaits !  Some great new players coming through !

Sue x

 

 

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IDOO

ADOPTED !!
IDOO – yet again we had nothing to do with the stupid name !  A lovely little Coton de Tulear who is likely to go very quickly so if you are interested, don’t hesitate.  Idoo is seven years old and a lovely little boy.  His one problem is that when it is food time  IT  IS  FOOD  TIME  LEAVE  ME  ALONE !!  Protective of his food, keep your fingers out.  I have never understood why it is thought a good test of a dog to try to take his food away, try to separate me from milk chocolate and see what happens !  However, in view of the foregoing, best for a retired couple, not for a family with young children just in case.

OULKA

ADOPTED !  Wow, that was quick.  Bye Oulka, have a great life.
Oulka is a big – and gonna get bigger ! – lump of cuddle !  He is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, seven months old, chipped, vaccinated and very affectionate, together with a impressionable  size to dissuade any unwanted visitors !

OXANE

ADOPTED !
Another cutie on four legs, Oxane is a four month old griffon who is at the moment being trained to be a Very Good Girl., GIRL not boy as I previously stated !! She is proving to be very adept at this and is a total lovebug.  Adult size will be medium.

PIXEL

ADOPTED !
Pixel here seems to be saying “yah boo sucks to you if you don’t want me” and I have to admit, I agree.  He is a little darling, just three months old, of unknown origins but evidently lovely ones.  Great with other dogs, cats, and his favourite time is cuddle time !

1ST JUNE 2019

Sorry, sorry sorry, very late this month but only got back from Ile de Re on Saturday and then I ‘lost’ wifi for a day.  Well to be honest, I hadn’t actually ‘lost’ it, I had woken in the night, heard thunder so got up and disconnected everything ……. then in the morning forgot I had done so.  It was only when in frustration I put my tablet actually  ON the wifi box thingy to try to get it to work, I noticed plugs out everywhere !

Had a fabulous week on Ile de Re as usual, cycled my little legs off – very flat there ! – read three books and drank a respectable amount of island rosé.  A couple of  girl friends were staying in the same village at the same time as us which was nice as it meant I had someone to cycle with, Ernst always disappearing in to the distance and leaving me behind ! 

Ok, it is now time for me to seek out a ‘Lidl Anonymous’  group !  My name is Susan and I am a Lidl addict !  I just cannot drive past one without going in to see what plants they have and to stock up on my Lidl favourites, plus, of course, to see what bargains there are in the ‘middle Lidl’. The other day I happened to drive past the Caussade store on the way back from picking up a car load of great books;  I swear to you, the car took over and drove in to the car park !  It knew something I didn’t, at the reductions counter was one white chocolate /blackberry chip Easter egg reduced to ONE EURO !!  Wow, what were the chances ?(Regulars to this monthly waffle will have heard me bleating on about these before and since Easter !)   It is now sitting in my fridge where I keep looking at it but cannot bear to eat it as there will be no more until next year !  My partner, Ernst, is German, so I am sure that when I am sleeping, he whispers to me “buy Lidl, shop at Lidl” !

Happy to report that Lady’s prospective new home is now a definite new home !  Dear Brian reports that he has another ‘runner’ on his hands but has not even thought of returning her to me.  He has  got a dog GPS for her collar and says that, in any case, she keeps him fit as he keeps having to leap on to his bike and go pedalling after her !  I couldn’t understand this at first as she walked with me off the lead and never did a runner but then I had a lightbulb moment, durrh, she wasn’t staying with me, she was staying with all the other dogs with me !

Sad to report that the gorgeous Orphee has been returned.  Nothing to do with this lovely  whose only fault was to play happily with the lady’s  Yorkshire Terriers and the lady was frightened she would hurt them !!  The husband was heartbroken to bring Orphee back.  Hmm, I know who I would have kept.

More dogs very soon on the adoption page, just have to get photos sorted which I will do very soon – in between watching Roland Garros !

If you didn’t go to the ‘Those Were the Days’ show, you missed an absolute treat !  It was just FABULOUS !  So much work had gone into making them fun evenings and they were a huge success.  There was lots of singing and dancing – not only by the performers ! – and I was amazed to see one of our vets strutting his stuff on the dance floor.  Thank you to all concerned, do hope there will be another one !

Have a lovely sunny month and remember, dogs HATE being dragged round markets, vide greniers and the like in this heat.  Leave them somewhere in the cool.

Sue x

 

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1ST MAY 2019

Lets start with the happy news !  Here is the lovely Puppy Pieter with his equally lovely new owner sitting in the back of the van ready for the next stage of his new adventure.  A lot of  ‘new’ there and here’s another one, Pieter is now Vega !  I had to look that one up and apparently Vega is the brightest star in the northern constellation of Lyra.  Brightest star,  I go along with that.  Have a great life Vega looks like that is definitely on the cards …… or in the stars.

Next bit of good news is that little Orka has been adopted and is now best pal to Ollie a Shitzu homed by us a few years ago.  Orka is now Poppy (much more appropriate) and her new owner did not even want to wait for the two week trial period to pass before asking for Poppy to be transferred immediately to her ownership !

The good stuff just keeps on coming, Orphee has gone to a cracking new home where she will have a great outdoors life involving horses and plenty of countryside to run around in.

Fingers crossed for Lady who will hopefully be going on trial to a new home in about ten days’ time.

Now for the sad stuff, our darling Patch, a big teddy bear of a dog who came to us quite a few years ago when his owner could not keep him due to a change in circumstances, has ‘moved on’.  He was never up for adoption, the agreement being he would stay with us and we were so happy and lucky to have him.  An absolute treasure of a dog, Patch was never ever any trouble, he got on with everyone, every dog and provided a comfy cushion for cats.  For many months now moving about has not been easy but, bless his heart he got himself outside to do what was necessary.  He seemed contented and was eating well.  Then we had to carry him in and out and mop up the inevitable ‘accidents’.  Finally came the day when I just knew he had had enough and even though I couldn’t bear it, I had to make the decision.  Dear Patch has left such a big space in our hearts – and our kitchen – but I just know that wherever he is, he is being a comfort to all around.  Had he made it to August he would have been 19 years old !

Then a couple of days ago little Tanya, a blind poodle who made her life mainly in my bedroom or getting lost in the garden, had to be pts.  She was 17 and had a cerebral trauma.  It was probably the most awful thing I have witnessed and is still too raw for me to talk about .  Bless her, she had been to the toilettage the day before so wherever she is she will be turning heads she is so pretty !

Back to the good stuff !  Our Book Sale was another great 3,000 euro success thanks to you !  Thank you soo much.  We never forget there are many other book sales, much bigger and, yes, we could move premises and get bigger too, but we like our ‘cosy’ feel, our great cakes (nothing to do with me !), lovely Ray providing atmospheric music and the friendly atmosphere.  The next sale is 19th October and we are happy to take books from now.  As usual, PLEASE only books in good condition.  Following a couple of emails from people after the last sale, we are offering a new service to you booklovers;  if there is a book you particularly want, email me the title and if it comes in I will put it to one side for you.  We are also going to include a new category, ‘Classics’.  This, I realise is a bit of a minefield as one person’s classic might be another person’s ‘pig of a read’ !  The obvious authors are easy but then you get to modern classics !  I will be taking opinions and advice from more learned readers.  If you have any ideas as to how we can make the sales even more enjoyable, please do get in touch, BUT please don’t ask for the books to be in alphabetical order, I do have a life !!

Talking of fun events, the Summer is being kicked off with a fun musical ‘Those Were the Days’ a ‘Comedie Musicale’ set in the 60s.  Music and singing by professional, ex professional and local residents.  Running for four dates so there is bound to be one, or two, or three or four (!) convenient for you.  24th May in Beauville, 25th in Lauzerte, 31st in St. Laurent Lolmie and 1st June at Prayssac.  Entrance 10 euros and there will be a bar.  60s type costume encouraged but not obgligatory.  Now, where on earth did I put my velvet flares ?!  More info and reservations – www.twtd.fr.

Regular visitors to the website will notice, perhaps, that I have taken down the ‘Previous Poorpaws’ page.  This is because recently I have been getting many emails from people looking to adopt dogs who have already been homed !  Although it was clearly stated at the top of the page that the dogs listed were dogs who had been successfully homed, the requests still came in, one from someone wanting to adopt a puppy who had been homed in 2012 !

In the last newsletter I mentioned Lidl’s wonderful white chocolate Easter eggs.  Well a couple of days ago they were in the store at HALF  PRICE !!  Seemed rude not to buy ……. a few !  Important fact, Easter eggs consumed from the week after Easter are NOT  FATTENING !

Sue xx

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LADY


Ok, get this, Lady is a Colley ……..Basset cross !  I know, I know,  well actually I have no idea who was Mum and who was Dad !!  Lady is Basset height – so short –  with, as you can see, Colley fur and features.  She is eight years old and is up for adoption as her elderly owner has to go in to a home.  Lady is full of beans, is very affectionate and would make a wonderful companion.