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vendredi 11 mai 2018

HELP! SPRING BUGS BUG ME!





In France, at last Spring has settled down! 
Everything is blooming, the birds are chirping all around, and the weather is getting much milder, so all's for the best, in the best of all possible worlds?

Not really , cause as surprising as it may seem, sometimes Spring bugs me!
You know why?
Because all the hibernating animals wake up, and that's when things go wrong for the scaredy-cat I am.





Yes, guys, any Spring bug crawling or flying around drives me nuts.




Hairy spiders hanging on their webs give me the heebie-jeebies, mosquitoes buzzing in my ears freak me out, and pesky ants colonizing my kitchen make me cringe.









You get the picture? OK, but the worst is to come...

I had never thought that Spring could make me lose my head, but believe me or not, last week I nearly went haywire!

After pulling out the weeds around the fruit trees, I had a shower and curled up on the sofa for a comfy break.
Short-lived quietness!! 
Suddenly my head started itching. I scratched it, but the more I scratched, the more it itched!





Suddenly the word " LICE " flashed across my mind.
My hair stood on end! 
Yuk! Lice laying eggs on my scalp!
Sure there was a price on my head!
What to do then?

Three hours later, when Dearhubby came back home, I urged him to check my scalp. He did it and said " Nothing to declare. Move along ".
" But it itches awfully ", I replied.
Then he smiled and told me : " I guess you didn't put a hat while working under the trees, so don't be surprised that chiggers have decided to build a road network on your head ".

Gosh, chiggers!!
I spent the night in the leading part of  " Chigger Attack ", the scary movie to come out soon.




The next morning  I was nothing but red raised bumps, pimples and blisters!

I rushed to the chemist's, and thanks to her precious advice (lavender essential oïl) the itching invaders packed up to more hospitable countries.

What do you think?
I shouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill, and  just enjoy Spring perks?




Right you are, but unfortunately moles also have decided to bug me!
Do you know how to get rid of those tireless underground diggers?

Thanks in advance for all your tips and tricks!

I hope my misfortune will make 








mardi 1 mai 2018

LILY OF THE VALLEY : A LUCKY CHARM??






In the language of flowers, the Lily of the Valley is said to symbolize the return of happiness.
A kind of lucky charm, then?
My foot! That's just a load of rubbish!!

Last year I planted some, cause I thought it would be awesome on the first of May to greet my friends with some sprigs of home-grown Lily of the Valley.

Believe me or not, it just brought sweat and tears!!

And yet, as I'm new to growing plants, before embarking on that May Flower journey, I had surfed the web in search of the balmiest Spring breeze.

It was as clear as a bell : lily of the valley was the easiest plant to grow.
To spread its sweet fragrance, it just needed shade and moist soil.
No problem : I live in Brittany, the best place to be for Lily of the Valley, (and for me, too!).

I planted the roots under the canopy of a hazel tree, and waited patiently till Spring came round the corner.

 Mid-April my hardy " lucky charm " had made itself comfy, and its white buds and upright stems were spreading all around.



I was absolutely delighted, but unfortunately my happiness was 
short-lived...

One morning Dearhubby came back from the garden with a few leaves of my precious white flowers and crushed them under my nose.

Jeez! What about the delicate fragrance I had been longing for all throughout Winter? Gone with the wind!
Within a wink, the garlicky smell of my so-called lucky charm killed my dream of a new Mayflower Land, and my Lily of the Valley, as well.







Wild garlic has never brought happiness and luck, but only sweat, tears and, even worse, blisters on my hands caught when trying to dig out that pungent invader!

Sweet Lily versus Stinking Jenny (an undercover agent's name for wild garlic) is a losing battle.




Up to now I have not found the miracle recipe to get rid of those cheeky squatters, so all your tips and tricks would be welcome!

                                  An unlucky budding gardener 

vendredi 27 avril 2018

THE HUNTING QUESTION




Do you go hunting?

As I have an English Springer Spaniel, that's the question I am often asked, and that's also the question which used to make me feel rather uncomfortable, cause I didn't know what to answer.

A mere "no" was a way to play safe, but sounded a bit rude.
Yet, if I let myself go, and gave my real stand on hunting, it sounded far ruder...



Sitting on the fence was getting harder and harder, but fortunately some years ago I found a way to answer truthfully without hurting anyone.

I was walking Canaille along the street, when suddenly a car screeched to a halt near me.  A man jumped out of it, and hailed me :

" Hi, your English Springer Spaniel is absolutely awesome. How old is he? ".




The guy looked so excited that I immediately know I wouldn't be able to dodge the dreaded " hunting question ". And, of course, that's what happened!

I could have turned the tables and answered his " does he go hunting? " with a polite " do you? ", but on that day, no shilly-shally! 
I decided to give my best shot and replied with an enthusiastic "Of course! ".

For sure the man was a hunting fan, cause then he peppered me with questions I tried to answer as honestly as possible...

Yes, Canaille (my dog) was a wonderful hunting dog. Actually the ultimate one!

Yes, he had a fabulous nose, and could detect preys whatever the surroundings.

Yes, his prey drive was inexhaustible, and he always showed willingness to go to any length to fetch the prey.

Yes, he loudly announced me where the prey was, and never barked at the wrong tree.

No, he didn't have any favourite prey. The bigger, the better!

No, he never brought back the prey. He polished it of immediately!

That's when the man looked flabbergasted, and at last asked the question he should have started with...

" What sort of prey does your dog hunt? ".

" Two widespread species ", I answered, " cookies and crackers! ".



When it comes to hunting, I can get nasty really fast, so now that's the way I get rid of that hot issue with a bang!

After all, life is much easier when sprinkled with humor, isnt' it?




vendredi 20 avril 2018

ICE-CREAM VERSUS SORBET








When it comes to frozen treats, are you creamy or fruity?
I mean, do you prefer ice-cream or sorbet?

For me, no shilly-shally. I scream for ice-cream( sorry, too easy!).
Actually, the clue is in the "cream" bit in the name.
I usually regard sorbet as the diet version of ice-cream.

I have often been told that sorbets are healthier, but nobody has ever warned me that their cool appearances are deceptive.
What I learned last week is that those frosty treats can be sneaky, and, even worse, toxic for yor mental health!!
Let me walk you through.

I was having lunch outside, and when the waiter gave me the dessert menu, I immediately spotted a yummy ice cream sundae.



But, suddenly I remembered that I was not in good terms with my swimsuit, and to make friends with that silly garnment again before Summer, it was more reasonable to pick up sorbet over ice-cream.

So, it was with a heavy heart that I ordered a lemon sorbet in lemon shell.


After all, it would be another version of the phrase " When life gives you lemons, make lemonade ".

Unfortunately my efforts were not rewarded!

I guess the sorbet was just out of the freezer, cause it was really rock hard.
First I tried to soften it with my spoon. In vain! That treat was concrete-hearted, and didn't let itself go!

I was about to ask for an ice-axe, when suddenly my angry and hungry spoon hit the ice so strongly that the little "polar ice cap " of my lemon sorbet took off with a part of my dessert, and landed a few tables away smack-bang into the bag of a lady!


She was about to leave, so I rushed to her and blurted out :

   " Excuse me, Madam, but my cap has fallen into your bag, and as 
      there is some ice under it, it will melt and damage what is inside
      your bag! ".

First, she looked flabbergasted, cause, I gess she thought it was a weird way to break the ice and start a conversation.
Then, she gave a quick glance into her bag, and, of course, could not see any real cap or hat.
I was about to tell her to look in the bottom of her bag where, for sure, a part of my cheeky sorbet was chilling out on leather, but, she didn't leave me any time for further (and clearer) explanations.
She stared at me as if I were the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland, shrugged her shoulders, muttered something like " lunatic ", and hurried out.



To crown it all, guess what happened next!
Hang on to your hat!

When I came back to my table, the rest of my lemon sorbet in lemon shell had melted!
No creamy Sundae would have ever played such a trick on me!!

So now, next time you hesitate between a yummy ice-cream and a sneaky sorbet, better think tw-ice (hum, too stupid, but couldn't resist).

vendredi 13 avril 2018

A " PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG " FUNNY STORY





My blog is not really a pet column, but as time goes by, it has turned into a kind of tried-and-true landing strip for dog lovers in search of pawesome stories.
Quite true that if you browse through my adventures, you'll come across a lot of love posts to everydoggy.
Lovey-dovey stuff, but " dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent " (Milan Kundera - The Unbearable Lightness of Being ).




Don't get me wrong, anyway. I don't pooh-pooh non-dog lovers, and today I'll tackle a hot-button issue : people who don't pick up after their dog.

It's a real scourge, and in some cities it's just like playing hopscotch, because everywhere you walk, you have to watch your step!





Even though social pressure is making things better, there are still too many " drop-it-and-leave-it " zones, and too many disrespectful dog owners who leave " the scenes of crime " pretending not to be involved!


OK! But even if having a rant from time to time is good for health, this blog is not a simmering pot of anger waiting to bubble over, so let's forget about those couldn't-care-less Fido owners, and let me tell you something funny about my job as my dog's personal poo slave.




Some years ago I shared my life with Charlie, the best dog I've ever had.



By the way, please not a word to Canaille, he would be extremely offended. No problem for Ulysse : he is wiser, and doesn't have a bone of jealousy in his body. Thanks in advance.

So, as I was saying, Charlie was a good boy, well-mannered and always eager to please.
Yet, when it came to doing his business, things were rather different.

Every evening before going to bed, I used to take him for a walk, and every evening the same old story.
There was a smart restaurant with a covered terrace down our block, and Charlie seemed to take a special delight in doing his business smack-bang in front of it.
No matter how long we walked,that mischievous guy would block his bowels till he was " in the limelight " of that restaurant!
Was he expecting applause from the customers inside, or, even worse, an encore??

I really don't know. The only thing I know was that every evening I tried to improve my skill and style to pick up Charlie's masterpiece, and to bend like a maestro thanking his audience.Then, I tied the poo bag and, red with shame, I dragged " my artist " into the lobby of our building.

All throughout his life, Charlie played his damned performance every night, except fifteen days off. You know why?
The restaurant was under works!!!
That's when it came to my mind that my naughty dog had been playing his embarrassing trick on purpose. 
But why?
Was it because of the " dogs not admitted " sign on the door of the restaurant? Who knows?
Maybe my sweetheart could read, but he was so humble that he never told me!



Come on, I'm kidding, I'm a dogaholic, but I am sober from time to time!

Have a pawesome day!



vendredi 6 avril 2018

HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH CATS?






As a dogaholic I'm second to none, and I can give you quiet a few tips to help you make friends with those attention-seeking critters.

But when it comes to cats, I have nothing much under my belt, not to say I start from scratch (sorry for that easy pun).





So, if you have a secret tip to bond with those "mini-lions ", I hope you'll let the cat out of the bag (sorry again!), cause I'd really like to be both a dog and a cat person.




Don't get me wrong, I have already tried, but my attempts have often turned into a flat refusal.

It all started years ago...

Once, a neighbour asked me if I could look after her cats for a couple of days. I accepted heartily, and to get ready for the job, I read a guidebook about how to be the perfect catsitter and get the key to a cat's mind.



Poor me, just wishful thinking!

My first steps into my neighbour's flat triggered arched backs, puffed hair and flattened ears. No way to confuse her cats' hissing reception with my dogs' tailwagging welcome.
All the time I was cleaning their litter and preparing their food, they played the off-ground tag game, but I didn't try to be the chaser.
The next day, when I opened the door, I immediately realized they had let their hair down (both literally and figuratively).
They had spilled their water bowl, kicked the litter ot of the litterbox, and to top it all off, they had had a manicure session on the leg of a wooden stool.



Perched on a cupboard, my two " employers " were staring at me as if saying : "FIRST WARNING! ".

The second time I challenged myself to look after a cat was none the better, it was just a sort of " Close Encounters of the Third Kind "...

Snuggle never showed me she deserved her name. She simply ignored me all day long, but never failed every evening to let me know who ruled the roost.
After dinner she always managed to take a French leave in the garden, and then I had to spend hours on the terrace, shaking her box of favorite treats to plead with her to come back home.
Once I even imitated a kitten's mews for help. In vain! Either Snuggle was not the motherly type, or I was a poor copycat, I still wonder.

Since then I have tried to bribe all the stray cats frolicing in my garden, with tiny bits of tuna, fishbones, and other yummy snacks .No way!





Those cheeky scroungers always polish off my presents, but never thank me with any head-rubbing around my legs, let alone the least purrs.
Maybe the poor dead little mouse I found on my door-mat was a love-token from an anonymous Tom cat? 



just for fun


Come on, don't laugh! Being persona non grata among cats is really frustrating, but how to become a cat person?
I give my tongue to the cat!!



vendredi 30 mars 2018

DO DOGS KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG?





Do dogs know what is right and what is wrong?
Definitely!

Photos and videos  of them caught red-pawed* after digging through the trash or tearing papers speak volumes about their moral compass.

Of course, most of those mischievous guys have been taught the Behave Yourself basics, and they know that shredding the mail or emptying the garbage bin on the floor is a definite no-no. That's why they play it a little guilty when their owners find out what has been going on while they were away.



Yet, I do think that some dogs have an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong.

Some years ago, I shared my life with two shelter dogs who never rocked the boat, except once, and what happened that day really gave me food for thought.

I had been to the supermarket, and when I came back home, of course my two doggies granted me an over-the-top greeting, you know, that kind of cheers that makes you feel like Marco Polo coming back from China with silk, spices and precious gems. Quite boosting and comforting when you are just back from the nearby shop with the most common household stuff!
So, I put down my shopping bags, and took a cuddling and petting break with my two die-hard fans.

Then, for fear the frozen foods would start defrosting, I left my two 'sled dogs', and went to the kitchen to store my 'shopping hunt' into my igloo, aka my freezer (my inner explorer is craving for an expedition to the North Pole).

Suddenly I realized there was something wrong with Charlie.
He kept racing in and out of the kitchen, stopping dead sometimes to stare at me imploringly.
Well, quite sure I would have to give up my Artic dream, and take Charlie on a 'business trip', you see what I mean : leash, poo bags, and ages spent exploring the same blade of grass. Neither adventurous, nor glamorous, but such is life with dogs.




So, I finished putting away my things, and followed " Pushy Charlie " to the entrance door.
That's where I discovered what his zoomings in and out of the kitchen meant...

I had left the pack of dog dry food near the door, and Indy had managed to tear it, and she was giving herself a treat on the sly.
I scolded her and sent her to the corner, I mean to her basket. 
She pretended to be sorry, but once curled up in her shelter, she looked at Charlie defiantly and growled as if saying " stealing is wrong, ok, but telling on somebody is wrong, too! Justice for all dogs!! ".




So, what do you think, do dogs know right from wrong, or is it only a matter of education?



* For non dog-speaking readers, to be caught red-pawed means to be caught red-handed.