Written to friends in an email in August
At the end of July our local commune was “en fête” and it was important for us to go, if we are to be part of this community. Not knowing what to expect we strolled into the village in our jeans with the dogs in tow, to find the entire village standing around dressed up for a night out. There was an outside bar where we tucked ourselves and chatted to the barman, trying to look nonchalant. Saturday night was cabaret night in the local village hall. We felt we were part of the cabaret as we were eyed and commented upon. Fortunately our dogs are great ice-breakers. Airedales are not well-known in France and we have learnt that the first question to us nearly always is: "what race are your dogs?" We struggle then to construct a sensible reply, but we are learning to smile, nod a lot and always say "Bonjour" and "Bonsoir" to everyone we meet, in the street, the shops, restaurants.
Our dogs have become serious café animals. We tend to walk them late in the evening when it’s cooler and they like town life where we can search for cats under cars, stroll down to the riverside (trying to ignore the background aroma of sewerage) and finish up in the town square café watching the world go by.