Thursday, December 16, 2010

Close encounters

There is no end to the distractions of working from home. The girls are at school and Iain is at work, which should mean peace and tranquillity and no excuse for writers block. Not so. I have just discovered Oscar, the mentally deranged pug, loudly chewing. Given that he inhales every meal whole in 15 seconds flat and then proceeds to race around the kitchen hoovering up any stray biscuits that happen to bounce out of his or Tallulah's bowl with lightning speed, I go over to investigate knowing only that it cannot be food he is eating.

He has stolen Issy's favourite dog-eared toy puppy that she has treasured since babyhood from her bedroom and has pulled out both beady eyes to indulge in a light snack. Having lost the tussle to continue (digging beads out of a pug's slobbery mouth is only marginally better than picking up poo) he is now consoling himself by licking the upholstery on the chaise longue.

He rates high on the cute factor, but there's no doubt he is one bone short of a doggy bag, or as I heard it called today, a Chewy Vuitton. We are taking him and Tallulah to London for Christmas (oh happy days on a 14 hour car journey) and Clare has begged us to bring Hotel for Dogs along as it is his favourite film. He joins in with the action scenes, standing at the side of the TV waiting to chase all the hounds when they run off camera and occasionally headbutting the screen in his excitement. Ruby and Charlie are desperate to video him in full audience participation mode and start a new YouTube sensation. Spot the difference thinks he has a career looming in movies, the other has no eye, dear.

Highlight of the week was a close encounters experience at Helen and James's annual Christmas carol service on Tuesday night. Following a tuneful rendition at their little chapel, complete with authentic snow flurries and a fantastic feast of curry and mulled wine for around 70 people, the kids decided to light chinese lanterns and let them float into the night.

As we left later that evening, we were amazed to see a cluster of them still alight, hundreds of feet up in the valley (the lanterns, not the kids.) We were slightly puzzled by the number of local gendarmes and pompiers gathering in the village with their own blue lights flashing as they set up a roadblock but thought nothing more until Wednesday morning when we heard radio reports of a UFO sighting in Bar sur Loup! Some of the villagers not at the festivities had reported strange supernatural lights and fearing an alien invasion, called the police, who were following up all leads with gusto.

Riviera Radio and Nice Matin gave the story further credibility, with Nice Matin quoting a terrified local who described ‘a stationary orange light about ten times bigger than a star hovering just below the cloud line. It lasted for seven to eight seconds then a second light arrived before disappearing. Three other lights then appeared.’ Yes, that would be the lanterns....

With C-day looming, I have further distracted myself by shopping for presents on the internet as I am still struggling to commune with the idea that the big day is really not far away. I thought I'd read the letters to Santa that I forced both girls to write to give me some ideas. Livvy's was extremely helpful, with full url web address links for the gifts she wanted, complete with colour codes and prices. So much for the old fashioned spirit of Christmas reigning supreme. Issy's was less specific and I think she must have forgotten which of Santa's elves would be reading her letter when she sat down to write the paragraph about how immaculately behaved she has been all year and will continue to be next year!

Bonnes fetes to everyone.....

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