This was a totally immersive and unexpected experience in the South of France. It was our first house sitting job and we thought it would be a fantastic way to experience the area first-hand, save money on hotels, as well as enjoy our favourite animals, the dogs.
Morning Dog Walk
We’re house-sitting in the South of France. This morning T returned from taking the three dogs on their morning walk across the fields. He marched in loudly announcing,
“Squeak is on double-probation! He saw a dog across the road and went racing across the field right on to the road. A car had to stop for him! That would be great – telling our hostess, ‘Sorry, I let your dog get run over!’ I had to run across the friggin’ field after them. All the while the other two are running all over Hell’s Green Acres! It’s impossible to keep your eyes on three dogs at once. They squirted about 20 times, and must have had 3 shits a piece. Ziggy is the randy one, humps every thing; he will even hump a log… a dog humping machine. he would fuck a squirrel.”
(I am trying to look concerned, but almost rolling on the floor laughing!)
The dogs all have unique characters, just as people do.
Squeak is the quiet one, always on the lookout for a mouse, and although she is the smallest, she can run the fastest, and is the leader of the pack.
Ziggy, the Schnauzer cross, is not too bright, poor thing.
Zut, the collie/spaniel is brilliant, but passive and cowering, a rescue dog that has obviously been abused, constantly seeking attention and petting.
Sworn At In France
A few days later, when T took the dogs for their morning walk, he said that it was complete Mayhem. They attacked other dogs; they were digging and crapping in people’s gardens. They demonstrated a pack mentality, and were very aggressive. Farmers and locals swore at T, kicked the dogs, and shouted at him to put his dogs on a leash. (They are not even my dogs he wanted to shout back.)
T said he’s never been cursed at so much in his life – in both French and English.
“Va te faire foutre, trouduc!”
“Put your f’n dogs on a leash!”
It’s odd because the dogs are quiet, passive and well behaved at home – you couldn’t ask for more polite gentle dogs. It must be the pack instinct that makes them “go wild” on a walk across the fields.
Life On The Farm
Ah, life on the farm. Animals and plants play a major role. The neighbor gave us a basket of strawberries – sweet and juicy. It was a nice finish to our breakfast of fresh eggs from the hen house, with bread and hash browns. He said the strawberry farmer down the road often leaves a basket or two for his neighbors.
After putting the chickens in the chicken coop at dusk, I checked for eggs. No eggs.
“The chickens are on strike!” I announced, coming into the house. No eggs for breakfast tomorrow. So we went to the grocery store and bought something special: quail eggs, which you need to eat 6 of to make one normal-size egg.
About 3 am that night, we were woken to a cacophony of howling and continuous loud barking. The 3 dogs heard something outside. We checked around, but saw nothing. They settled down, but it certainly was disturbing. The interesting thing was that I was in the middle of a dream where I was standing in the kitchen and a big black bear was running into the kitchen. I froze. I closed my eyes, and didn’t move. The bear walked around me, and suddenly the dogs started barking, in my dream, or so I thought, and I hoped that the dogs would scare the bear off.
Mr. T himself is on Triple Probation. First he dropped a glass bottle of Balsamic Vinegar on the floor, then he sat on a chair which folded underneath him, and he collapsed onto the floor, and five minutes later, he knocked over a bottle of Olive Oil that spilled all over the floor. There was a lot of cursing going on as the dogs were very interested in tasting both the vinegar and oil. With great difficulty, he shooed the dogs outside, but only after they had tracked oil and vinegar all over the kitchen floor. Muttering and sputtering, T mopped up the mess, and cleaned the kitchen floor, while I giggled in the living room.
Only 8 more days of house-sitting in beautiful Southern France…
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