Monday, April 8, 2013

This site has moved

With the arrival of two new puppies its time to bring The Rickety Old Farmhouse blog to a happy and graceful close

The ongoing chronicle of village life, the never ending saga of keeping The Rickety Old Farmhouse standing and of course the madcap antics of Bob and Sophie can now be found at a new blog - Bob and Sophie's French Adventure ( click link below )

Thank you for travelling with us. We look forward to seeing you at the new site.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What to do with this old blog ?

 What should we do with this old blog ? Keep it or drop it ? Some blogs run their natural course. Perhaps we should use this one as a place for posting about the village , Madame Bay and the beer and absinthe crowd at the cafe ? Maybe a place for esoterica like this photo of a baby stroller complete with trays full of snacklets for its young occupant.
 Or this sand loving dog ?

Then of course there's the Rickety Old Farmhouse itself. We've come back to find that a water main has burst, flooded the basement and caused all the newly decorated walls to crack. Bob and Sophie will be meeting a stream of builders and structural engineers next week.

Perhaps we'll keep the blog going in parallel as a venue for lifes esoterica.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A high security prison and a flight to London.

Our last morning in San Francisco. Time for a quick ferry ride before heading off to the airport. Two choices. A boat to Sausalito and one to Larkspur. We choose Larkspur. This is a mistake. Larkspur is the home of the California Department of Corrections San Quentin Prison . The ferry sails right past the prison exercise yard. The isolated terminal a mile or so from an industrial park. No sooner have we got there than we quickly reboard the ferry under the watchful eye of orange suited inmates and head back to town.

The ten hour British Airways flight to Heathrow punctual and as smooth as a millpond. Not even a hint of turbulence. A chance to watch Lincoln , Argo , a totally incomprehensible film called Cloud Atlas and a feel good movie with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal as inept grandparents. Bette Midler used to be a decidedly risque figure but now she's as wholesome as apple pie. The reverse of a disgraceful old age ?

At the airport a sign for Thai Curry stuffed French Crepes. Probably not a good idea before a long flight.
Another sign forbidding ' shoes with wheels '. Whatever happened to the term roller skates ?

Now there's an hour before our connecting flight to Toulouse. An e-mail from the breeder saying she's looking forward to seeing us.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dog toys and a forgotten airline.

PSA. Pacific Southwest Airlines. Or was it Pacific Southern Airways ? They must have stopped flying twenty five years ago. Some dimly remembered story about a disgruntled employee, a gun, and a BAe 146 jetliner. In a San Diego museum a collection of the airlines stewardess uniforms. The 70's fashions as alien as ancient history.

To a dog store. The woman behind the counter talkative but uninformed. All the toys apparently wonderful. '' That one's unbreakable " she says pointing towards what appears to be a squeaky Osama bin Laden. I ask her what sort of dog she has. She doesn't. This puts her sales patter in context.

We debate whether to buy an inflatable injury collar. '' Wouldn't they bite through it ? " asks 'the font'. ' Not a problem that I've heard about ' says the talkative woman before adding  ' but there again they might '.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Calm and intelligent

Out of the hotel and up the hill to the cathedral for an Easter baptism. En route the deep blue ceanothus in full bloom. The size and colour of the trees eliciting exclamations of amazement from these two middle aged gardeners. 

We get to the summit early. Not just  a few minutes early but the better part of an hour early. The church just stirring into life but for now quiet and peaceful in the morning sun. They've hung twenty miles - twenty miles ! - of green and blue ribbon from the ceiling. The ribbons  sway and jig and dance in the breeze, changing colour with the light.

Half an hour before the service and the nave is suddenly beyond packed ; thronged. Ushers trying, unsuccessfully, to keep the aisles and doorways clear. Grandmothers in salmon pink suits and black broad brimmed hats, teenage sons in sensible two sizes too big '' he's rocketing up '' blazers, a Nobel prize winner from Stanford, a seven foot tall NBA player, hundreds of young , twenty something , couples of every hue and unorthodoxy - this after all is San Francisco. When the organ starts up the ribbons shimmy into life.

Twenty two babies to be baptized this morning by the dean - a woman of gentle demeanour but ferocious intellect . Sanaz and Ayana and Cuiya joining more established Episcopalian names like Nicholas and Charlie on the order of service . Then the closing words '' But looking up , at dawn, they saw the great stone rolled away, and a light more dazzling than the day " ( strange how some baptismal sentences have a natural scan and beauty ) , the organ thunders, the babies gurrgle, people laugh, the doors are flung open and the crowds spill out. 

Angus can't help but wonder what change fearing cathedrals in England would do to have a calm and intelligent congregation like this filling the building , the youthful overflow eddying down the steps and into the park beyond.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A pause .

The breeder sends through some photos of Bob and Sophie. They've discovered snow ,  which they like ; and rain which they don't.  They've been been examined by the vet and chipped. Both Bob and Sophie are well and thriving. They're at that inquisitive  ' Tell me , what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life ? " stage.

Now we'll say 'au revoir' until we're back from our Easter trip to California. Then there will be a new blog -

Happy Easter to one and all.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

" Aux armes ! "

The first of the years local grown white asparagus and gariguette strawberries brought to our door by the young farmer who lives in the modern house by the windmill. As unexpected as it is kind . The asparagus wonderful. The strawberries acid. Not surprising considering the snow and rain of recent weeks.

Nine o'clock on Saturday night. Scotland playing France in the Six Nations Rugby tournament. The salle de fetes alive with farmers, little farmers, famers wives and dogs. Jeans, blue rugby shirts and red / white/ or blue acrylic wigs the evenings dress code. The French teachers Golden Retrievers joining the Jack Russells and shaggy sheepdogs on their never ending circuit around the village green. When we arrive the mayor and a group of 'technicians' are setting up the widescreen television on the stage. The mayor has forgotten the extension lead so has to go back home to get it.  

To one side a tressle table. The old farmer dispensing something potent from a stainless steel tea urn into plastic tumblers. The very old farmer bad temperedly ignoring the mayor. The battle over the misplaced bottled water rumbling on. Madame Bay in red checkered headscarve, white frilly blouse and voluminous  long blue skirt dispensing vol au vents. '' Blue cheese and anchovy " says our republican Gypsy Rose Lee lookalike. 

National anthem time. The Marseillaise not so much sung as hammered out. Four year olds as passionate in the rendering of 'aux armes citoyens' as their parents. Scotland lose. In fact they lose badly. '' There's always next year " says the mayors wife consolingly.

As we walk back to the house the sound of Kool and the Gang singing that old French country classic  "We gonna have a party tonite " echoes through the trees. The villagers are having a celebration.

Today the chicken wire goes up on the bannisters.