Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dog's Xmas

Whenever Emmanuelle drops down to Gamone for a few days, as is often the case, she looks after, not only her father (who takes pleasure in cooking for his epicurean daughter), but our dog too. Yesterday, I was attempting to save my virtual yacht in the Vendée Globe regatta from running into a calm zone... unsuccessfully. Meanwhile, Manya took Sophia out for a long walk on the slopes. And I used a long-focal lens to take a photo of them from my bathroom window.

OK, I agree. That's a terribly lazy approach to taking photos of your daughter and your dog. Quick, I need to throw in a few plausible excuses! As everybody knows, I'm getting on in years, and I can no longer step out boldly in the Xmas weather and wander around on the slopes. Besides, that silly computerized regatta is truly exciting but demanding. Ask my son François... who seems to have suddenly decided to pull out of the rat race and visit New Zealand.

For Sophia, apart from strolling around on the slopes of Gamone with Manya, it might be said that happiness is a sunny morning.

Emmanuelle is constantly aware that our dog, like all of us, appreciates acts of kindness... such as a Xmas gift of a soft pillow.

One of the nicest images in the Cosmos is that of a yawning dog leaning on a fat, soft, warm pillow on a sunny morning.

It's the canine equivalent of pulling out of the rat race, and indulging in lazy delicious sleep.

With lessons from my children and my dog (and Christine, too), it's not impossible that I'm slowly acquiring wisdom.

BREAKING NEWS: Over the last twelve hours or so, I've been receiving messages from alarmed observers, virtual skippers in the Vendée Globe regatta, who can't understand the circumstances in which my son suddenly turned his vessel in a northerly direction. Has he gone mad? Did he fall overboard, leaving a phantom vessel with nobody aboard? Is this some kind of a subtle navigational strategy aimed at getting back into the race? To say the least, the behavior of François was disturbing... and many of his fellow navigators have been worried, if not anguished. You know how it is. We round-the-globe sailors are a tightly-knit bunch. Many of us have left our wives, family and friends back in Brittany while we brave the oceans of the world on our computer screens... and we naturally get worried as soon as one of our kin gives the impression that something might have gone wrong. OK, we can always call upon the friendly Royal Australian Navy to intervene, if the worst comes to the worst, to get us out of trouble. But we don't necessarily wish to upset Aussie taxpayers. In any case, the good news is that my son François, on Kerouziel, is back in the race. The bad news is that he's going to miss out on an excellent opportunity of visiting New Zealand. In case readers don't know, that's the land where his paternal ancestor William Pickering [1843-1914], after whom I was named, did the basic surveying for the future city of Auckland. In that same land, more recently, a certain French secret-service agent named Alain Mafart, who happens to be a relative of my son's mother, Christine Mafart, organized the destruction of the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior. As they say in the land of Confucius: That's the way the cookie crumbles. In any case, it's a fact that we navigators live in a crazy world where all kinds of exceptional events can happen... including encounters with vast zones where the wind no longer blows. That's sailing. That's life.

Hey! I'm wondering. Are Vendée Globe skippers allowed to sail with a dog aboard?

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