When we take the dogs for their walk in hot weather, they always make for any stream or puddle to cool down. With his thicker coat, Ulysse suffers most and sometimes the heat even brings on a fit – not the result we are looking for on a nice sunny day.
With summer approaching (we hope), we decided that we should give the dogs a way to keep cool, without shutting them in the house. Whilst shopping last week we found what seems to be an ideal solution, sold by Carrefour for only 5€. If it works we’ll have cracked it.
Back to the period since the last words here. The weather for the fête was, at best, undecided. Within a couple of days, it changed to decided and, you guessed it – spring showers.
There is, to my mind, something altogether unpleasant about looking out of the window watching heavy rain approach, when there are things to be done that are better done, shall we say, in the absence of heavy rain. Sadly, this set the pattern for a few days – some of the heaviest rain we had seen for a while. We were hoping it would clear up in time for the lunar perigee on 5/6 May, when the moon would not only be full, but at its closest to the Earth.
What can you do in this weather, though? I didn’t even bother getting a big camera out, but here’s a snapshot of what we saw.
Inspiring? No. Disappointing? You bet!
Meanwhile, part of the local herd of Charolais cattle were rehearsing hard for their spot in the hit show “La France a un incroyable talent“. As a title, it is grammatically superior to Britain’s Got Talent, although I imagine the content is no better (I can’t really say, as I have never watched it). The act that the cattle are developing is reminiscent of the dance troupes that graced our Saturday evening screens in days gone by, or maybe even a bit like synchronised swimming on grass. Here they are moving into position for their legendary spoked wheel formation.
Whilst all this was happening, Clare was at a friend’s house, looking after her cats – one of which developed pneumonia and is quite poorly. That put a lot of stress on Clare, and she was not unhappy to hand the cat back when her friend returned.
Back at home, things are changing, too. The bread oven room has been re-purposed as a workroom for Clare’s craft activities and doubles as a lounge for anyone who comes to visit.
This is an early view of the room seen from the entrance door. There is a TV on the extreme right (just visible) that has a UK FreeSat connection.
From the other direction, you can see there is also a HiFi system. Speaking of HiFi but not, except that it sounds similar, WiFi also works in there.
Moving these things down from the study has freed a lot of space up there. Clare still has her corner with her PC, although she tends to use the laptop downstairs more, but the rest of the room is my play area – study at one end (with coffee making facilities and a water cooler, of course)
At the other end is my developing studio (or study-oh) where I shall be trying to produce animations (clay models, Lego and anything else I can think of) to at least pre-school standard
I have been experiencing a little frustration on the technical side. I have good stop-motion animation software on my laptop (StopMotion Pro), and the Microsoft LifeCam Studio webcam is superb for the job. I also have iStopMotion on the MacBook and had decided to use that exclusively, especially as it will interface with my DV camera (which the laptop won’t). It is also a pest having to disconnect the laptop from the external monitor, speakers, network etc just to take it across the room to do animation. The latest twist is that, although the MacBook recognises and uses the LifeCam, there is no driver for it that gives any manual control. It is, therefore, unusable.
Still, it is fun and, without any shame or embarrassment, here is a very short animation that represents one of my very first efforts. Two warnings
- Don’t blink – you’ll miss it, it’s only five seconds long
- You may need to watch it more than once to see all the actions. Mind you, it is only five seconds long.
That’s all I have for now. Today is pa(ni)cking day. Tomorrow we set off for a week in England.
We shall be going in the Twingo, although it is astounding how much space there is, even allowing for an extra passenger on the way back.
Sadly, the Astra suffered a total brake failure recently, and is now in the hands of a mechanical engineer. The parts are on order but won’t arrive for a few days. Jan, the man in question, will also see if he can sort out why the camper suddenly decided that starting is an optional activity. Something electrical that baffles me.
The dogs will be in the very safe hands of a friend, and we shall be on our first overseas trip for a couple of years.