Monday, August 25, 2008

Traveler with baggage

Even when the journey's only a couple of hundred meters long (the distance between our two houses at Gamone), the voyager will travel with his basic luggage. For a human, this might start with a toothbrush and a change of underwear. For Pif, it's his plastic "bone", which squeaks when it's bitten.

Our canine neighbor Pif, belonging to Alison, intrigues Sophia and me. For a start, he often runs around in circles trying to catch his tail.

Pif doesn't quite know what to make of the smelly billy-goat Gavroche, roughly his same size, when he drops in at the house for his daily dish of cereals.

The two animals share a common fascination for photographers, and look upwards with a view to understanding what's happening.

In such situations, Pif's floppy ears bend backwards, revealing their pink interior. There's no such problem for the rigid ears of Gavroche. Meanwhile, the great canine queen of Gamone resides calmly, as usual, in an ethereal domain, well above such trivial earthly agitation.

It's eleven o'clock on a sunny Monday morning, and Pif has just arrived at Gamone, full of smiles, and jumping (literally) with joy. There can be problems, of an evening, in persuading the delightful dog to go back home with Alison when she returns from work (as a waitress in the restaurant at the famous caves of Choranche) on her scooter. Let's say, to simplify, that Pif takes pleasure in having two homes. I'll be sad when Alison takes him away to Spain in a few weeks. It goes without saying that Pif will be traveling, as usual, with his squeaking bone.

ADDENDUM: Just after finishing the above post, I received an unexpected visit from my Choranche neighbors Tineke Bot and Serge Bellier, who stayed here for a delightful outdoors lunch in the shade of my giant linden tree. Among other things, they were able to observe the case of Pif at first hand. Their conclusions: It would appear that Pif has moved in at my place, heart and soul. And he seems to lead a joyful existence here. Be that as it may, we all feel that it would be unwise for Alison to set off to an unknown lifestyle in Spain, in three weeks' time, with Pif in tow. Tineke suggested that I should write a letter to Alison offering to hold on to her dog up until she gets settled in Spain, and is ready to receive him. I think I'll do this. On the other hand, I don't wish to appear dog-matic. Insofar as it's obvious that I'm fond of Pif, it would be incorrect to think that I simply wish to hang on to this little creature. On the contrary, it would be great if this dog were to discover the exciting atmosphere of a horse ranch in Spain. But it would be wrong if Pif were to be more or less abandoned by Alison in Spain, as has been the case at Gamone.


  1. While travelling back to Paris, I said to myself: I'm convinced that Pif will never go to Spain - I bet a bottle of champagne! It seems that I'm about to win my bottle...

  2. Tineke was fascinated when I told her about your desire to learn Dutch and reside in Flanders. You really must meet up with her.