Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I suppose owning a puppy is the closest I will ever come to parental responsibility! I am getting used to balancing the puppy's needs of firm, fair treatment, our needs for a life and the demands of our continued project. For the first time in my life I am up at 6.30 and by 7.00 have walked for a mile or so. By 7.15 the dog has been fed and we have had tea and by 8.30 we are usually up and ready to go, having done all our morning jobs. Gremlin, in the meantime, is growing up faster than we can keep up with and is certainly living up to all the breed characteristic of being intelligent, strong willed, energetic and loving human company, especially ours. Ian is also warming to him as well although the walking is definitely my responsibility!

The dry summer has been particularly bad for the vegetable garden as even with watering, the high temperatures have burnt a lot of the leaves. Also, as it is the first year of growing on my patch and I did not have much time to cultivate the soil I was not holding out any high hopes. So, it was too hot for the spinach, the peppers are tiny, the aubergines have not flowered and the potoes have produces a minimal crop. However, for some reason the pumpkins are enormous and will be ready for harvesting soon.

Locally the farmers are pessimistic about the sunflower crop this year, which is way below what it should be. With the cost of fertiliser, seeds and the labour to sew and harvest they need a good yield just to break even.

 I am still going to the nursing home on a volunteer basis. It takes quite a bit of energy but it helps with my French and I love the engagement with the residents. We will see how it progresses over the summer!

Ian is off to see a friend over the weekend so I have a few days here to myself to catch up with some writing, admin and do my tax return!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Gremlin

So the pool is in, connected and finished as much as it can be before winter, as we need to wait for the earth to settle before we lay the slabs around. The temperature has been increasing and we have been glad of somewhere to cool off.

In the end we had just a couple of days to finish the outside dog area before we had to collect Gremlin. It was a boiling hot afternoon as we drove to Bordeaux and our morning shopping trip was stressful and unrewarding. We finished with our usual meatball lunch in Ikea and then drove out to the breeders home, a little later than we hoped. Gremlin was out playing with his brothers and sisters when we arrived. After a while the others were put back in the puppy pen and Gremlin stayed out. He came in to the house, we sorted out the paperwork and then took him with us.

His first voyage was in the crate that we used to bring the cat down with us. It was more than big enough and after a few minutes of high pitched barkng he settled down the the journey, uttering the occasional whimper as Neil's cornering caused him to slide across the cage!

On the whole he has been pretty easy for a high energy, intelligent puppy. He sleeps okay in the night in his crate, he has only had the occasional accident, he now tolerates a lead and he will do anything tp please, but what I have learnt the most is that with a puppy you have to spend time getting to know each other and finding out what works and what doesn't. There is no one way of doing it; only a few principals and a lot of trial and error. What I hadn't realised before is how forgiving dogs are and that you don't have to get it right first time. I have a lot to learn.
Gremlin at 9 weeks