Rory’s Story


I was born under the hood of a rusty broken Citroën 2CV in a thunderstorm one miserable afternoon, three years ago. My mother was Estelle, the darling of the farm, and my father was the thug from the bakery behind the church, or so I was told. Sixteen of us called the Citroën in the hedge ‘home’ that autumn, until during a rainstorm in November one day a car drew up, containing the humans I live with now. I left home without a suitcase 20 minutes later, bearing nothing more than a handful of fleas and the name I had been born with, Phillipe de Courtois Barthélemy d’Aquitaine. My proper life had begun. Continue reading “Rory’s Story”

BENTLEY’S VIEW ON A NEW PUPPY written by Bentley himself!




Tuesday 4th Aug:
Hot. Too lazy to come down for breakfast. Lots of noise from the family about something. Bored, so lay in the sun for an hour, had a constitutional and then chased Rory round the garden for 10 minutes. I won on points. Sun crept over the house mid-afternoon so we had some shade on the terrace at last. Wish I could go in the pool, but I don’t actually like water! Too hot for a walk. Door-bell went about mid-afternoon, and amid much noise from everyone else a lady came in with a ‘thing’ – a puppy. OMG. My life is ruined. Snapped at it and hope that’s the end of it. Hopefully it’s not a keeper but only staying a couple of nights. The girls seem far too enamoured by it. Dad cuddled the damn thing. Hrmmph, not happy. If they expect me to sleep with ‘it’ they have another thought coming. However, although it’s very small, it is a girl. Possibilities for a decent date in a few months time, perhaps ? Had snacks under the supper table and went to bed. Forgot to clean my teeth. ‘It’ slept in the kitchen.

‘It’ howled all night. Didn’t sleep a wink.


Wednesday 5th Aug:
‘It’ had laid waste to the kitchen when I got down in the morning. Dad very busy with paper and bleach – good grief, how I hate the smell of that; it takes me back to my puppyhood days. Cheeky thing tried to eat my breakfast, snapped at it again. Hot morning, tried to snooze in the sun by the front door, but pesky ‘thing’ kept biting my ear. Thought I might take HER ear off or something, but Dad was much too attentive. Hopefully she will go back later today to where she came from and leave me in peace. I had to eat my breakfast outside for goodness sakes !

Spent the afternoon in the vegetable patch with mum, snoozed under a tomato plant. ‘it’ has a name, apparently – Evie. The girls still very excited by her, I have no idea why. She’s so small and useless for anything really. She came bounding down the garden at some stage and then started chasing the chickens, especially Falafal, the small cock. Now that was funny to watch, both of them pretty evenly matched for speed but Falafal managed to get the better of Evie. I watched amused as all the family shrieked round the garden after them. That was even funnier. Then she found the ducks, which was a very different kettle of fish.

Ducks 1, Evie 0.

Thursday 6th August:
Not a lot happened. Well, not for me. Evie tried to chew my face most of the day and I lost my temper a couple of times, I admit. She likes chasing my tail too, which is annoying. She learnt not to eat my food, anyway. I tried to keep my distance most of the day but gave up after lunch – she is very persistent. Rory and Clara find her fascinating and Rory seems intent on playing games with her. She, in turn, seems to find Rory extremely exciting and there were plenty of standoffs in the bushes until Rory had enough and climbed a tree. Stupid dog, she really is. It looks as though she’s going to stay, though, sigh. I’ll have to get used to her I guess. It’s very difficult refraining from finishing her food though. Got shouted at already for that. She seems to have some brains though and at least she’s pretty, no longer chasing chickens and no longer chasing the ducks – the latter not for the same reason as the former though.

Full time score: Ducks 3, Evie 0

Evie howled all night in the kitchen. Had to sleep upstairs under Dad’s pillow to cut out the noise. That was fun. Every time Dad went to sleep I’d lick his face…..very amusing.

Friday 7th August:
Pretty much the same as yesterday, though as Evie has now learnt to respect my space, I have a little more time for her. By the time we get around to going out for a drink in six month’s time I might even have got to like her, I suppose. Evie seems to have got the hang of going into the garden. I just can’t understand why everyone is so nice to her, and not to me. Why ? She’s so excitable and whizzes from A to B at high speed, little legs a-blur. At least she doesn’t yap too much, that’s a blessing. She also has stopped making so much noise at night. It’s almost as though she’s settling in, which is a bit much, quite honestly.  She chews anything and everything and she likes those dried pigs ears – golly, goes through them like a dose of sweets. She’s welcome to them, eeeugh. I hate them.

Lots more noise in the night. I suggested she slept in the chicken house – that went down well.


Saturday 8th August:
Evie discovered the front garden today when Mum was hanging out the laundry. Massive noise and shouting when she discovered the drain through to the road, never seen people block something up so fast. I had no idea Mum was so good with bricks. I’m pretty sure Evie can get through to the house next door, but we’ll cross that fence when we come to it (see – I made a pun there !!). Otherwise a pretty boring morning – cats, chickens, ducks and me, all targets for Evie in varying amounts of energy and excitement. She’s definitely not keen on the ducks – when they start flapping those wings it’s a different kettle of fish for sure.

Went round to Michel’s for supper, Evie came too for some bizarre reason. I would have left her at home in a box or something. She understands the principals of ‘finders keepers’ far too well for my liking. I am definitely losing out on some scraps, I think. Supper was lots of little things on plates, ideally sized for me of course, but no one would drop anything. Most annoying. And of course Michel and his kids were all over Evie like a rash. No one paid me any attention at all in comparison. Had a long chat with their cat about the injustices of it all, then found out she’s going to be pregnant soon and have kittens. Kittens? I ask you, what is the point of that??  Why is everyone so obsessed with puppies and kittens? Mia and Sophia turned up at suppertime (they’re staying the night with us on their way south it seems), and I thought I’d receive some rapturous welcome from them, but no – it was all Evie this, Evie that. I think I looked a little sad as Dad gave me a slice of salami. Just the one, mind you.

To top it all off, when we got back home Dad went into the boot-room and started some sort of construction project. Much banging and hammering and he came back in the kitchen with some sort of hutch arrangement for Evie to sleep in. I laughed so hard, my sides hurt. What on earth was the point of that ??? Why would you coop her up when she could play all night in the kitchen??

Slept like a log. Not a sound from the kitchen. I’m certain I mentioned a hutch to Dad last week, didn’t I ?


Sunday 9th August:
Much praise for Mia in the morning after her suggestion of the apart-hotel for Evie. I can’t for the life of me work out why mum and Dad didn’t do it before, I’m sure I said something. Anyway, breakfast was cordial as well. Evie had hers in her little dining room in the apart-hotel, which meant I could have mine inside for a change. Great stuff.

Had a great mega-walk in the afternoon. I noticed, somewhat jealously, that Evie came too and was carried some of the way. I mean, what is that about ? It’s called a WALK, not a CARRY ! Duh ! and then she slept when we got home pretending to be tired!  Anyway, lovely day, spent most of it lounging round the terrace, even found a roast potato under the lunch table, that was a big score. yum.

Evie spent her second night in the apart-hotel. Everyone else slept like logs. It truly was a great idea of mine. Shhh, I’m taking the credit even if it wasn’t my idea.  Why didn’t they listen to me before ??


Monday 10th August:
Today was a pretty unmemorable day really except for a point in time when I woke up in the sun to find Evie lying across my paws, her little face just inches from mine. I’m not going to tell anyone, but I think she’s actually bearable. I’ll let her stay for a while, anyway.

Tuesday 11th August:
Drama today and Evie got wet. Ha ha. Everyone was in the garden this morning doing odds and sods and Evie found something delightfully green and moist to roll in. Never seen so many people in such a state; it’s just chicken-poo for goodness sakes. Anyway, to cut a long story short, out came the wheelbarrow, on went the tap, in went Evie and on went the shampoo. Something along those lines, but it appears Evie hates water as much as I do – good girl. Who wants that wet stuff anyway? Washed, dried and pampered, we slept in the sun together again for a while. As long as she leaves my ears alone we’ll get on, I guess. She does have bloody sharp teeth.

Everyone slept like logs again.


Wednesday 12th August:

All good, nothing to report. Found an old bone today behind the chicken shed but it made too much noise when I munched it too hard and Dad took it away. Sigh. Almost found an egg too but it was empty. Small dog Evie still here so I guess she is here to stay. She found some duck-poo to roll in after lunch and Dad took her away to the wheelbarrow again. Not so much shouting this time as Dad does not take prisoners and Evie had no chance to do anything but submit. I suspect she may not try that again for a while. Summer life is pretty good and the sun is still warm. Rory and Evie had a great game in the evening in the dark, chasing each other through the undergrowth. I think they like each other. I think I may even like her.

Slept wonderfully again. That hutch thing was a brilliant idea of mine.


Some of you may also be wondering what has happened to my Local Artisans series – fear not, it will be back next month when I interview another “local”.  August is prime holiday month here in France and locals are either working every hour imaginable in the decent weather, making money from the tourists or are away themselves, so I decided to skip August and return with the next article in September.  In the meantime I hope you enjoyed a week in the life of Bentley, something a little different which hopefully made you smile!





Animal Tales Badge Final




HDR_1993 2The photo that started it all

It’s a dismal rainy afternoon in South West France.  The children are on their winter break for two weeks and it’s raining.  What is one to do ? Make cupcakes of course!  So, with the two youngest girls, we baked, we iced, we giggled, spoons were licked and a fine mess was made –  baking with the children is always wonderfully sticky fun.

The girls then said they were going to have a tea party.  I thought this was a great Idea.  So they dressed up in their party clothes, dragged in a small table from the garage, found the low stools and chairs, and then took out some real china and silver napkin rings. I just knew this was going to be one heck of a tea party!

However, the number of place-settings confused me at first, until I realized that an invite had gone out to one of the American Girl dolls. This was followed by much giggling and whispering, and then I saw Bentley, our dear sweet long-suffering Jack Russell, offered a seat.  Nothing really too unusual here I thought, and carried on with my paper-work.

However, out of the corner of my eye I then saw Rory, one of our six month old kittens, had joined in the fun. This now peaked my interest and I furtively started to watch a little more closely, un-noticed, in the background.  The giggling continued unabated.

Our youngest then left on the pretext of going to the bathroom, but she had that wicked glint in her eye and I knew something was up!  She returned carrying Eleanor, the friendliest of our Pekim Bantam hens; yes Eleanor was coming to the tea party!  Now I’d forgotten all about the paper-work, I grabbed my phone (no time to look for the camera) and started snapping away….this was hilarious !

IMG_2131Rory wasn’t sure – what was that icky-sticky stuff on the table ? Bentley started to have a meaningful conversation with Elizabeth, the American Girl doll.


IMG_1983More tea anyone? Bentley looked perturbed that his plate was empty. 

IMG_2034Rory thought he might just get the last of the crumbs as he enjoyed the rest of ‘whatever it was’ so much.  Bentley on the other hand, now has something ON his plate but cannot quite understand that he is going to be allowed to eat off the table, that’s a definite NO normally; and Eleanor, well she’s just sitting, wondering what on earth is happening….

IMG_1964Rory really wanted more – and then some more. Who knew cats liked cake?

IMG_2010Well, as soon as Rory licked his lips (yum, that butter cream icing is just too good!),  Bentley decided the temptation was too much, and no one was going to stop him from having just a sneaky little taste….

IMG_2004and all the time Eleanor just sat there, unruffled by the chaos and laughter….

What a fun afternoon; there is one thing for sure – our household is never dull – but this certainly beats electronics and television on a rainy afternoon. Of course, Mr H thought it was all totally normal when he walked through the door, but then he is slightly barmy himself – I can see where the girls get it from now.