Our land tour of Thailand continues up into the highlands crisp and dusty from the lingering dry season. We enjoy wandering village roads so small our map apps can’t tell us where we are. Here, we find more new food to try, new friends, and scenery that burns itself into our souls.
Betrayal makes a heart go hard, but love is the great tenderizer. I’ve been there before, I know. And, it seems I’m going there again. Will I stay or will I go? Will I give up my territory, the comfortable truce with Bess, and life on the ledges to follow Andrew and Leslie where ever they may le
I’ve always heard rumor that a cat will choose you, you don’t choose a cat. But, is this cat choosing to live on a sailboat, at sea, one that is scheduled to cross the Indian Ocean next year!? Join us in this blog post as Andrew and I prepare to catnap Katherine “Kitty” Hepburn for a li
Which makes the house, duh, l’hôtel de Sens. Since you’re curious, here’s a bit of the garden.
The garden and hôtel pictured are in the area of Paris known as Saint-Paul. You can call up a walking tour of the quarter on your phone and follow it around, which is what we were doing when we visited this garden, which is in fact a lovely park in a quiet neighborhood. The building is medieval, as you can see. Most of Paris was razed and redone during the 19th century at the behest of Napoleon III, but a few things, like this and Notre Dame, were spared. So it’s worth looking for.
While we were looking for it, and other parts of the quarter, we walked looking at our phones. Time after time a Parisian native would stop us and ask us if we needed help finding something. Of course, we didn’t, but this behavior was from people popularly thought of as snooty and unhelpful, on the good side. I’m here to tell you that such is not at all the case. Indulge me in another story if you will, this time involving motor fuel and cash.
Tami and I carry the same credit card, so when one of ours (nevermind) was lost on the bus from the airport to the Gare Montparnasse, we had to cancel it. This meant that we had no credit card with which to buy gasoline for our rental car. (We did set it up so that the card was valid for the rental car company, and nobody else, until the end of our rental period.) (Europecar. I recommend them.) We took a train to Angoulême, where we stayed for five days. Charente is a beautiful area (formerly a province, but long story,) and here’s the view out of our bedroom window to prove it.
From Angoulême we drove to Bordeaux, Saint Émilion, Cognac, Royan, and Chabonais over the course of several days. By that time we were low on gas. The station we found (there aren’t as many as we have here) was credit cards only at the pump. The kiosk where one can convert cash to a ticket with which to buy fuel was broken. Thing is, I had never really spoken French before, but when we decided to ask someone to use their card and I’d give them cash (our debit card still worked at least, but not on gas pumps) I looked around and saw only French people. It was raining hard, too. I asked the man at the next pump, “comprendez-vous Ainglais?” and got a “non.” Digging deep, deep into what I’ve learned from various sources (Duolingo is a great place to start) I then used my no doubt horrible French to ask him the favor. He was eager to help the poor American, and I gave him fifty Euros, after which he pumped fifty Euros and one cent worth of gas into our car. (Amazingly, that exactly filled the tank.) I gave him every compliment in French I could think of, and he smilingly said goodbye.
I ask you, is that rude and unhelpful? (Spoiler alert — no, it is exactly the opposite of rude and unhelpful.)
I’ve posted about this before, but whatever you do to other people is reflected back on to you. In France, we take pains to be polite. French polite. That means always say hello, please, thank you, and goodbye. To everybody. Sounds silly, right?
Not to the fine, friendly, helpful people of France it doesn’t. Votre santé, France!
Many people do not know this. Beagle lovers, never to be trusted on that basis alone, will argue the point. But, Beagles are evil. If you just stepped in a fresh pile of dog poop in your own hallway, you probably keep a Beagle. If no surface in your home is a safe place to cool a pie, you probably own a Beagle. Even a bit of Beagle background can corrupt even the normally fine and well-behaved Basset Hound. I know this from experience. Sure, Buffy the Basset Hound was evil, because she was also part Beagle. No pure Basset would ever be so disdainful of house rules and the masters’ wishes as dear old Buffy. Stubborn doesn’t cover it, either. We tried an invisible fence with a shock collar. She quivered, she peed, and she kept pushing until she was free of the evil fence. On the outside of it. That was the Beagle in her.
Tyrion LeChien, sure, he seems innocent enough. He loves his walks. So much so that he’ll slip out of his harness to keep walking if his owner, or even the other dog sharing the leash, hesitates too long. He slips his leash using evil magic; there is no other explanation. And he is always cute and loveable and innocent, even when he is leaving a puddle of pee the size of lake Mead on the floor, with a big old steamin’ hunk of souvenier from yesterday’s lunch in the middle of it. Evil. No other word for it.
And that’s Beagles. You gotta love ’em, because otherwise the SPCA would have you hanging by your pathetic thumbs. Because they’re evil. Look in the dictionary if you don’t believe me. Beagle=evil=Beagle. See? I would never lie to you!
We left Katherine “Kitty” Hepburn behind, but it didn’t take long before even Sonrisa was trying to persuade me to take on new crew. Will this little roof cat fit right in as Katherine “Kitty” Hepburn Oddgodfrey the First?
The day after Andrew and Leslie’s 13th Wedding Anniversary dawns with Sonrisa ready to splash and return to the life at sea she loves and knows best. By the end of the day, she finds everything is back as it should be.
Captain Andrew had just put the finishing touches on his pristine re-working of (almost) every aspect of Sonrisa’s underbelly when he discovers a problem that requires him to conduct another major surgery, just fourteen days prior to our scheduled splash. Join us in this blog post to watch Andrew’s
As the summer months wore on, Andrew kept promising Sonrisa she’d be ready to go back in the water by the end of August, just in time for Andrew and Leslie’s wedding anniversary. As time drew near, Sonrisa was riding waves of hope and doubt about the possibility of this tantilizing promise. With o