|I am writing this on 'Toussaints' Day which is a holiday in France when all families pay their respects to their dear departed ones by placing chrysanthemums on the graves.
I am sure many of you have been as shocked as we have been by seeing the violence during the recent riots taking place in major French cities. Apart from a min-crisis in lack of fuel, we have been virtually unaffected but, as in riots in other parts of the world, there is a hardcore of 'professional' rioteers who are really causing the problem to escalate. However, now that legislation has been passed by the French government, things are quietening down.
Shortly after we moved here in 2007, two of our older cats died and we made the decision not to replace them as, believe it or not, we were not getting any younger either. There are around 10 semi-wild cats in our hamlet, all healthy and beautiful to look at. The farmer feeds them in the morning; our neighbour at lunchtime and we feed them last thing at night - all outside. Four weeks ago, two tiny kittens appeared - absolute miniatures of Slinky (our black cat) and Millie (our tabby). They still had their original 'kitten' blue eyes and they joined in the melee of feeding too.
Fast forward three weeks, the kittens are stronger with their 'proper' eyes and spending all their time in our garden. "No, no" Mike and I kept saying to each other, so we made a bedding box for them and put it under cover outside. They seemed to know it was for them and cuddled in it together. Then we had a major frost overnight; Mike went out with Frodo (our dog) first thing and, as he opened the door, the two tiny kittens dashed in and have not ventured out since! So Millie, a frustrated (neutered) Mum has taken them under her wing and she has housetrained them. Slinky and Frodo have also accepted them so 'Spooky' and 'Tigresse' have now joined our family. C'est la vie, best intentions but we could not bear to think of them trying to survive a cold winter.
The picture shows them with Slinky.
That being said, we are enjoying a lovely late autumn. Because the soil is quite poor around here we are experiencing a wonderful show of colours in the trees from yellow, lime, red, chestnut and deep green - staggeringly beautiful.
Editor's Note: Sandie George and I became friends when we served on an advisory board for an online bookselling company. Back then Sandie sold books from her shop in Merrie Olde England and I sold books out of My Old Kentucky Home. The conference calls we shared with sellers from Australia, Germany, Canada and other parts of the US became a time for Sandie and I to catch up on each other's lives. Not only is she an expert bookseller, but Sandie has television and animal advocacy in her background. Her husband, Mike, is a geologist.
A few years ago, the Georges retired to the south of France. Sandie writes for British and French newspapers and she's agreed to let us publish her work on WKJ.