Yesterday we (Tod, Smudge and I) drove the two hours to Riberac in the Dordogne to drop off some last minute paperwork for the accountants for our first tax year end in France. Next year we will find accountants with an office that's closer!
Having Smudge in the car is hard on the ears. He bark-yodels, loudly: "Let's leave, RIGHT NOW." "Look there's a cow." "We've overtaken a bicycle." "We've stopped for petrol." "Let me out for a walk, RIGHT NOW." But it's also good to have him with us, rather than leaving him at home on his own for hours.
To give us all a break, we decided to stop on the way back for dinner in Bergerac. We wandered down through the Old Town to the banks of the Dordogne, threading our way past pavement restaurants setting up for the evening and last minute shoppers carrying extravagant flower arrangements - today is Mother's Day. All of this takes time with Smudge as every lamp-post and shop corner has to be sniffed and a new message left. Sometimes we have to double back, to check out a particularly alluring smell. As our attention is at dog level, it is easy to overlook (or perhaps underlook) the attractions aimed at humans, such as the statue of Cyrano de Bergerac.
We checked out a couple of restaurants in a small tree-sheltered square and decided to go for the Moroccan one. The other was all duck, duck and more duck and although Smudge seemed to prefer it, he was outnumbered. Rain threatened and the waiter was doubtful, but by staying outside we could have Smudge at our feet, where he could keep close watch on importunate pigeons, occasional grey cats and the elderly black dog under the table next to us. Smudge refused a taste of Tod's foie gras (discerning dog!) and the steak kebab did not pass muster (though the black dog thought it was fine). My chicken kebab, however, was acceptable.
We strolled back to the car under increasingly lowering skies, this time catching a couple of moody evening shots of Cyrano. And the sunset as we left was spectacular, but also warned us of the weather about to come.
I huddled in the back of the car with Smudge as Tod drove us home for deserted mile after mile, lightning flashing across the dark horizons around us.
After yesterday's exertions we're all having a lazy morning.
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand