Here's to the tomcat

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Aquitaine,
Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rose-Anne and Twan are arriving tonight, heralding the end of our stay and the beginning of theirs. I hope they will enjoy it as much as we did. Life in France suits me and the past few months have just flown by. 
Last night we dined at Coly, in Le Manoir d'Hautegente, I believe that means lord of the manor and that means it is posh. And expensive. So up till now, we gave it a miss but each time we drive by we sigh: it's so beautiful, wouldn't it be lovely just sitting there?
And it was. Everything was as perfect as you are lead to expect, except when Jacques' mobile starts ringing, bellowing out to the indignation of a select company quietly toying with their overpriced morsels. It was a new phone and he hadn't got the hang of the settings yet, so the whole restaurant was regaled to the most extraordinary Chinese jingle, pretty embarrassing, especially as he didn't know how to answer it. People were putting down their cutlery, glaring hard at him. Us. Just as we were trying to be inconspicuous, not quite meeting the dress code. Thank god I had forbidden Peter to wear shorts, though he protested a real classy restaurant would not make an issue of that. Maybe he was right, we were indeed treated with much courtesy, but I was still relieved it wasn't put to the test.
However, Jacques finally manages to silence the thing by turning it off, and back on again, resulting in the whole shebang being repeated. Apparently someone really needs to speak to him.
It's the lady who presently rents their house. Distraught she informs him that Annie, who owns Cledat's very own castle (a big house), just came by with an old wine box, containing his red tomcat, more dead than alive. Her newly acquired dog, a ferocious looking thing, and according to us all, an accident waiting to happen, had seen fit to grab it by the throat and not let go. Such is the nature of these dogs and I can't imagine why anyone would want to own one, specially not Annie who is quite capable of defending herself.
Anyway, after the initial shock, Jacques and Bernadette decided not to let it spoil the evening, shit happens, we would pick up the body later.
Well, there you go, different people, different strokes.

But that poor cat was on my mind for the rest of the meal and I was relieved when we could leave and at least give it a decent burial. I sadly remembered him sitting on our wall the other day, basking in the sun. I was sure he was smiling at me.
We arrive at the house and I rush towards the lady who was standing in the moonlight awaiting our arrival, looking kind of confused and I suddenly wonder why I was so eager to get here, what's the use, and I don't want to see the mangled animal. 
 'Sorry about this,' says Jacques, refusing to be sentimental, though he had cried out it was his favorite cat, before continuing on his main course, 'where have you put him?' 'Well, that's the thing,' the lady replies puzzled, 'he's not here. One moment he is in the box, dying, couldn't even lift his sorry head, and the next time I check, he is gone. Upped and left.'
'Fancy that,' says Bernadette, 'well, no harm done. Good night, we have an early start tomorrow.'
Hold on, maybe he crawled away to die somewhere. The lady had spoken of a considerable amount of blood, adding that Annie had made understood, as she dumped the cat on them, that as it had been trespassing she was not responsible for any veterinary costs
The French can be very practical in these matters.
'Ah.' smiles Jacques, 'he'll be all right, animals are very resilient.' Huh? Hadn't I just heard him sum up all the pets that had met an unfortunate end over the years?

This morning I got out of bed and went looking around for that cat, nothing so far but if I see him before we leave I will let you know. I know some of you will care.

So, a few more days and I'll be back in Amsterdam. Hoping to hear from Twan and Rose. Hoping to hear they saw a red tomcat lazing in the sun, smiling at them.
Or winking, I'd like to think he'd wink.

ps  Due to my incompetence the pictures of last night's events have disappeared. As small compensation some nice shots of a hot air balloon that almost skimmed our roof and a spectacular sunset:) 
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