Monday, September 20, 2010

Travel: France Aug 2010: Festival International d'animaux

At this state of my life, things have transpired to give me two French holidays a year. One in the millionaires' playground of St. Tropez, the other in the French region of Nullepart Centre (i.e. the middle of nowhere). My parents, some years back, just before it became trendy and a several years before it became passé, bought a set of tumbledown French farm buildings with a view to making them habitable enough for an occasional summer residence.

Over the years, much time and effort has gone into making these buildings habitable, and now, many years later, a couple of them are. Although most of the structures retain their tumbledown charm.

Scary Spider (c) 2010 Peter More
Living there, you must first get over any qualms you have of cohabiting with nature. You must embrace "l'existence rural" (which I just made up). Not only does the surrounding countryside teem with wildlife, but so does the house. The house is occupied by flies, wasps and moths; a hundred varieties of spider (from large to superlarge, which live off the above); and several sizes of alien centipede things (which apparently eat the spiders). Not to mention edible dormice which will you will hear more of soon.

Spider-eating centipede (c) 2010 Peter More
And I haven't even begun to mention the wildlife outside, including ants, grasshoppers, crickets, bees, hornets, butterflies, frogs, slugs, bats, beetles, lizards, snakes, deer, glow worms, owls, pigeons, pheasants, and all manner of other wild things.

Cool Chickens (c) 2010 Peter More
As well as this wildlife, there is some tamelife. My parents have a couple of chickens which spend their time scratching around the ground and once a day yodeling to announce the arrival of a new egg. Forget your dogs, cats and newborn babies, chickens make the best pets. They have personality, curiosity and form a close companionship which breaks down the moment food appears.

Sheep (c) 2010 Peter More
There are also sheep in one of their fields (courtesy of a local farmer). Sheep are awesome. Forget your prejudices, sheep all look very distinct from each other and have very different personalities.

And, of course, there was my parents' faithful, aging dog, Marley.

Marley (c) 2010 Peter More
And to add to all of this, we brought our own cats, just in case there weren't enough creatures lying around. The cat's story, I'll tell soon. In fact, pretty much every one of the creatures listed above will get its own story. Oh, and there will even be monkeys.

Monkey (c) 2010 Peter More


Citizen_Stu said...

A monkey your parents farm?

Peter More said...

Ah, you'll find out.

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Unknown said...

Bloat is most common on deep-chested dogs and I've heard pros and cons to adjusting the height of water/food bowls for dogs. With a dog as big as a Great Dane, it is standard to have an elevated bowl. For your case, I'm not sure what would be the best to recommend in terms of height.