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dimanche 26 mars 2017




First of all, a few lines to thank you in the name of Canaille,my English Springer Spaniel, for all your feedback.
Last week's post in which I told you about his painful ' face-to-face ' with a deer has triggered not only friendly and sympathetic messages, but also wise advice from dog breeders and dog trainers.
I will test all your tips and tricks, but I guess my poor doggy will remember that misfortune for long.

Well, to look on the bright side, first, more fear than harm thanks to a caring and efficient vet and a lot of treats and cuddles.
Then, even better, now I am quite sure my dog has a very good memory. I mean, till that miserable experience, I thought he had some lapses from time to time, cause one hour after his meal, he often used to stare at his empty bowl and then at me with question mark-shaped eyes. As I can speak dog quite fluently, I knew he meant  something like " Time flies, doesn't it ? Already time for a snack ! " or " Isn't the clock late ? It seems I have been fasting for ages ! ". Sometimes he looked so pitiful and starving that I happened to wonder whether I had fed him or not. But, as the saying goes ' When in doubt forebear '. Wise choice, cause now I realize that that little devil was just testing my short-term memory, or, his power of persuasion and seduction : not a hard job, cause you know what dog-lovers are like, ...often a bit too tender-hearted, so ...

Anyway, as I told you last week, all's well that ends well, so no biggie ! No need to harp on Canaille and Mrs Deer's chance encounter any longer.

No, now Spring is on, and even if the temperatures are rising very shyly, and sneaky storms still threatening, it's high time to ditch Winter habits, and jump onto the outdoor activities bandwagon.
Pretty easy for me. First, because after quite a few downpours and sunny spells, the garden is longing for a good trim . The weeds and the brambles have had a field day over the last few weeks, and they will definitely remind my back that slumping onto the couch with a good book has nothing to do with muscle-toning workout.
Really ? OK, then my Spring motto will be : ' A healthy mind in  a healthy body '.
Pretty punchy and catchy, isnt it ? And all the easier to stick to, as my two dogs have granted me their confidence one more time, and I have signed a nine-month contract (Spring, Summer and Autumn) as  a dog walker. Weather permitting, that temp post is likely to turn into a permanent one !
That's the cushiest job I have ever had : easy, stress free and very well paid (wagging tails, cheerful barkings and boundings, and grateful eyes).

To walk them, I'm spoiled for choice, and whatever my route, they are always thrilled to bits.
No wonder, cause the wild country lanes, the wind-beaten coastal paths
the long stretches of white sand beaches are a huge breathtaking dogs' playground. Off season, of course, cause otherwise it is too crowded.
Fewer seagulls and more holiday makers and noise, well, all that is not their cup of tea, and mine, either. Fortunately, I know places far from the madding crowds where they can still frolic off leash then.

So, you see how lucky I am to be able to do an outdoor activity in such a gorgeous landscape !
But listen , that's not the only perk of the job.
Let me explain.

First, walking the dog in the wee hours of the morning is priceless.
Not only because unlike Canaille and Dearhubby, Ulysse and I are early risers, but also because everything is peaceful, and the sound of silence helps me to map out my day, and my blog, as well.
So, if you find some posts are a bit scrappy or far-fetched, just complain to my employer, I mean to Ulysse.
Come on, I'm joking . He is very easy-going and understanding, and as long as we walk for one solid hour, he lets you know that no complaint will be received !

At lunch time things are different. Ulysse and I are far from being on an empty stomach, and to avoid drifting off to Dreamland, we usually head for a brisk walk. No better way to shake off the sneaky calories ready to cling to our waistlines !
Ulysse has adopted that pace wholeheartedly since his last visit to the vet.
As the poor doggy was about to paw onto the scales, the naughty pet doctor said : " Now, sir, let's see how many treats and cookies you
weigh " !
Ulysse looked offended, and I lied low, cause I thought that perhaps the vet  could see the love handles hidden under my sweater !
So, since then, after meal, both of us go on our ' nature treadmill '.

And I have saved the best for last : the late afternoon stroll !
That's my favourite. You know why ?
Because it is the time when dog-owners are done with their daily schedule, and can relax and exchange small talks.
No need to tell you that I am a regular and active member of those open air meetings .
Everyday we tackle the same topics and we put the world to rights.Dogs race around our group, and when they start panting, we know it's time for a hopeful ' see you tomorrow '.
As time goes by, all those people have become kind of casual friends, but as surprising as it may seem, I don't know their names, and they don't know mine.
When I tell Dearhubby about them, I usually call them by the nicknames I've made up : Mrs Pet Rescuer, Mrs Only Organic, Mr Former Engineer, Mr and Mrs Always On the Move , and so on ...
So, guess what ! What was to happen happened !

Two days ago, Dearhubby and I were at the nursery garden when we came across one member of my ' outdoor community '.
That lady is a first-rate gardener and provides me with lots of tips and tricks to grow flowers and fruit-trees. Yet, I find she is a little heavy on chemicals.
I greeted her and said to Dearhubby :

      " This is Mrs Fertilizers, the lady I often tell you about ".

Dearhubby nudged me in the ribs, but too late !
Once a blunderer, always a blunderer !
Why not ' Mrs Pesticides " while I was at it !!

Anyway, I tried to put things right and said :

      " Sorry, but you know we've been pacing up and down for over a
         quarter looking for the fertilizers, that's why ... ".

      " Don't worry ", she replied, " I know the place by heart. I'll show
         you the department and advise you on what to buy ".

That's how I came back home with a large pack of fertlizers I'll never use, cause perky busy bees don't like chemicals.
Perhaps my nickname is "Save the Bees ' ? Who knows ?

That's all for this week, folks.

Enjoy your reading , have nice walks, and don't forget : BE PERKY !



dimanche 19 mars 2017





Hello all of you,

I hope things are going on smoothly for you, and that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you are perkier than ever and looking on the bright side.
I know life is not always a bowl of cherries, but come on, stop whining and wallowing in self-pity ! Pull yourself together and get ready ! What for ? Spring, of course ! Sunshine, gentle breeze and green grass are just round the corner. Here, scores of sunny yellow daffodils and primroses have already  heralded the end of the grim Winter days.

But, to be honest, the weather is still unsettled, and, even if the sun pokes out from time to time, hail storms and gusty wind have kept the four of us indoors over the last few weeks.

For Dearhubby and me, no problem : our last strolling at the local bookshop has cluttered the coffee table and the bookshelves for a while. By the time we are done with all those novels, thrillers, biographies and essays, the lawn-mower will be humming desesperately for its first outing.

But for our two dogs, things are quite different.
Of course, during the bright intervals they can frolic in the garden, and, to be more down-to-earth (literally), do their business there, as well, but nothing much to do with the wild !
I mean, you already know they are not the sporty type (see chapter : a running buddy), but even if snuggling in their baskets with some treats to chew is their favourite hobby, they do enjoy walking along the wild Breton paths.
Especially Ulysse, the Coton de Tulear. He is a jolly walker and has plenty of friends around, so, on rainy days, his sniffing time is never long enough to get news from all his nearby pals. Training his snout on the blades of grass, flower buds, weeds, brambles and ferns of our garden smells a bit like the same old same old !
A quick glance to check the neighbour's cat remember what " no trespassing "means, and he rushes back home to shake the drizzle from his fur onto the baseboards, or, when Perky the groomer is quick enough, get a gentle rubbing. When he realizes that his favourite dog walkers will stay cooped up all day long, no wonder then that he gets a bit gloomy.
That cute little dog is over 14 now, which means he is in his human late seventies, so he is the eldest in the family, and we have all been told to respect our elders, but you know what ?
I think I am a well-educated dog-owner, and in spite of his sad eyes, I don't yield to his whims : I just respect his sulking time !

For Canaille, the English Springer, that's another story ...
When we settled down here, his inner explorer woke up. The garden looked like a jungle, and every morning when I opened the door to let him out, he used to bark good-bye and go on his daily expedition searching for a clearing to do his Springer sprawl . I needed to whistle at least 5 times to get him back. Well, to be honest, I'm a poor whistler and the first three times counted for nothing.
Now, pawing out alone is just a spooky challenge... The wind blowing more strongly, the turtledoves cooing louder, the neighbour's cat's golden eyes shining through the hedge, or the cheeky magpies patrolling the orchard, well, all that makes him scared stiff.
Our budding Dr Livingstone had turned into a clingy stay-at-home dog.
Don't get me wrong ! I'm not telling you our dog is a chicken (suppose he read my blog !). He is an English Springer Spaniel, and  in his family tree there are plenty of first-rate hunters . Unfortunately, going shooting is not our cup of tea, so we have trained him only to hunt crackers and cookies and now that's the only game he is not afraid of.
But, let me tell you why he mustn't be laughed at.

Some weeks ago, he was still on stage, performing in " Mind the watch dog ! ", a play directed by himself. It was a character part and it required to be thought about a lot ... So, he used to spend quite a few hours rehearsing in his dressing-room (my study) on the luxury couch offered by his fans. Everything was going on smoothly : his audience
(Dearhubby and me) was won over, and he had already been awarded many prizes (mainly treats). He was so self-confident that some evenings after the show, he just behaved like a star, you know, waiting for an encore in front of the treat-drawer !
The play had been running continuously for nearly three years till the fatal Golden Bone Night.
He was the only nominee in his category, so that day  at dusk when the curtain went up ( I mean, when I opened the door), he pawed out quite eagerly and started his one-dog show.
Once  every nook and cranny of the garden had been searched, before getting back to the wings (the kitchen), he squatted ' for an urgent matter '.
A few seconds later, when he turned back to get back home, he came face to face with Mrs Deer.
Do you remember her ? She played the leading role in the early days of my blog.
Since then, she had been pushed into the background.

Did she bear a grudge against Canaille, because he had stolen the show from her, or had she come to ask for a walk-on part for her fawn hidden in the nearby bushes ?
I really don't know, but anyway, she didn't gallop off, and Canaille, either, cause he was petrified !
His imploring eyes tried to let Mrs Deer know he would not harm her, and that, far from enemies, they were allies in that chaotic and crazy world. In vain ! Mrs Deer didn't return his shy and fuzzy feelings.
Instead, she took a few steps back, put her head down in full on battling ram position and ... jumped over our poor doggy.
One of her hooves hurt his back and sent him to the vet in emergency.
Fortunately, more fear than harm !
An injection, some painkillers, treats and cuddles later,he was back on stage, but fearful for ever, I'm afraid.

Yet, " Mind the watch dog ! " is still running, but Canaille plays only in the matinee performances. For the night ones, Ulysse is his stand-in. He is a good actor, but, I must confess that when he patrols the garden, no way to see nature up close, to commune with the wild !
He wants to be the only one in the limelights, and rabbits, foxes and weasels have to behave and stay backstage(in the undergrowth), yet
Mrs Deer hasn't lost ground  she  still 'dictates the play ' !
But after all, years ago our place used to be her place, so ...

That's all for this week, folks. Enjoy your reading and share it !

And don't forget : BE PERKY !

dimanche 12 mars 2017



Hi everybody,

This chapter was to be posted one week ago, but Zeus decided to deprive me of power, and to show his strength, waited nearly one week to press the on-button again ! I mean, storm Zeus swept Brittany, blew trees and electric wires down, and we could regain electricity only last Friday evening ! I'll tell you more about that in another episode, but now, here is what you should have read last week !

I can't thank you enough for all your feedback !  My last story has triggered a lot of comments.
Quite sure, " Coincidences or Fate ? " is a controversial issue. So, for those of you who often feel awkward when it comes to making small talks, no need to rack your brain any longer ! Just tackle that topic and let the conversation flow : that's an endless debate.
By the way, thank you dear Emily for reminding me of Lincoln-Kennedy similarities. I had already heard about that urban legend, but you gave me the opportunity to read about it again. Well, I must recognize the number of coincidences between those two presidents is a bit baffling and gives food for thought ...

Anyway, whatever the subject, feel free to keep dropping mails in my inmail box*. Your comments, questions and suggestions are precious and always welcome, and up to now I have never failed to answer.
It's an easy  and reliable way to communicate, isn't it ? At least, easier and more reliable than leaving a voicemail message.
I must confess that being told what to do after the beep often gets on my nerves.
You all know that kind of honey-tongued message :

     " There's no one here to take your call at the moment. Please leave
        a message after the tone, and we'll get back to you as soon as
        possible. "

How pesky and frustrating ! Sometimes, worse : not even the weakest promising ringing time ! My call goes straight to a voicemail, and then, more often than not, I end up tongue-tied. Time to recall all the relevant information I need to get across, and the sneaky voicemail has cut me off ! Zero tolerance for spluttering !
That's what you call ' voicemail greetings ' ? How cheeky !
Some should be called ' voicemail warnings '. Then we would hear a message such as :

     " Don't bother leaving a message. We won't listen to it ".

A bit rough-and-ready, but such a huge time saver !

I guess I'll be dating myself if I tell you that I sometimes regret the days when the only three options for the outcome of a call were that, either it was answered, rang indefinitely, or blared the hope-breaking busy signal.
But that's a bygone age, and for the millenials among you, something like the prehistory of text messaging, I fear.

Come on, I know you must be thinking that for a chatterbox like me, leaving a clear and concise message is, of course, no picnic.
You're both right and wrong.
I'm so talkative with my friends, that, when I leave a message on their voicemails, what should take 30 seconds to say, usually take 3 minutes, so , more often than not, I get cut off. Never mind, I call back, cause I can't bear an online service to rule the roost ! be honest, that second message is often to give my name ! When leaving a message, that's something which often slips my mind !
Don't laugh ! I'm not the only scatterbrain ! I can't count the number of times I get voicemail messages where people go on and on , and I don't even know who's talking to me. Unfortunately, there's a limit to my spy skills.
Even worse, I remember once calling back all the ' Jane ' I knew (half a dozen), cause on the recorded message I couldn't guess ' Jane who ? ' had asked me for an urgent appointment !

But when it comes to something more formal, no off-the-cuff speaking !
Hemming and hawling ? No way ! So, I usually think through, or sometimes write out, what I want to say, before I place my call. For me that's the only safe way not to fill my message with lots of ' uhhhs ' and ' ummms '. Then, things go on smoothly.
That's a tip you can use, as long as your brain never short circuits. Unfortunately, mine often does ...

That's what happened last time I phoned my notary to make an appointment. I know he is always snowed under with work, and that my call would go straight to his voicemail, but I really needed him to squeeze me in. So, to make sure to emphasize the matter was urgent, I had written down my message without neglecting the smallest detail. You know how pernickety notaries can be ! But that's the mainstay of their job, and anyway, what is clearly thought out is clearly expressed.

As soon as the beep had sounded, I mentioned my name and my phone number, and recorded my message, paying attention not to mutter and talk too fast.
When I was done with my call and about to hang up, to make things less formal, I thought that something like ' Have a nice day ' would do the trick.
That's when my brain short circuited ! I said in a loud and clear voice :

     " Have a nice day, honey "

Honey !! Why " honey " ?? It did not even rhyme with " day " ! To end on a rhyming note, I could have said :

     " Have a nice evening, Darling ! ",or, " Good night, sleep tight ".

Come on, I'm kidding ! When I realized my blunder, I had already hung up !
What could I do ? Break into the notary's office and steal his phone ? Just nonsense !
You know what ? As the saying goes, you never change a winning team ...
Half a minute later, I phoned my notary again, and left another message begging him to forget the last words of my previous message, cause that was not what I meant.
All day long, I was in a daze, and in the late afternoon when the phone rang and I heard my notary's voice, I nearly fainted.
He just said he had understood my message (which one ?) was urgent, and that we could meet the week after. We agreed on a date, and before hanging up, he added :

     " Oh, by the way, as far as I can remember, your penname is Perky
        Busy Bee, isn't it ? So, let me tell you a joke :

       ... What does a bee say to the flower ?
       ... Hello honey !!

       I guess you were in your garden when you left your first message.
       So, don't worry, I have deleted it !

If I had been feeling more at ease at the moment, I would have replied :
       Bee-hive yourself !

But, one pun too many could have ruined my day ! Definitely !

I just thanked him politely, said good-bye and hung up.

Now you know why voicemails and me are not always in good terms.

That's all for this week, folks.

Enjoy your reading and don't forget : BE PERKY !

* for any information, questions, suggestions ,or anything else :