Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Quest for a book

Although Internet shopping is getting more and more popular, I still prefer to walk into a book shop, browse around a bit and buy something if I find what I want. In my view, book shops are superior over Amazon and the like. And of course book shops can only survive if they have regular clients like us. Cluny has a book shop which has served us well in the past, and since I needed 3 sequels in a series of books, I orderded them in Cluny. The books would arrive on Friday; if there were any problems, I would be phoned. I told them I would pick the books up on Saturday. That Saturday, under a beautiful blue sky, I got onto my bicycle, cycled the 8 miles to Cluny only to hear that the delivery was delayed. Not very happy I cycled back, to find a message on the answering machine that the books had arrived in the mean time. After lunch I got on my bike again, returned to Cluny, and heard in the bookshop, that volume 2 was not available. Would I mind to take volumes 1, 3 and 6 (!) in stead? Yes, I did mind, and returned with volumes 1 and 3. I had also made up my mind never to order anything from that shop again. The next stop was The book seemed to be available, although not through Amazon themselves, but through a third party. Not long after I had placed my order, emails started coming in from Amazon as well as from the third party. The book was in reprint, hence not available; no money would be taken out of my account, and that was the end of my order. The following option was Fnac, a French competitor of And they had a number of copies in store! After a session of literally hours (the Fnac site is top heavy, and works at snail speed through our narrow broadband connection), creating an account, ordering the book and paying via credit card, I found out that something under way had gone dramatically wrong. I had not created an account, not ordered the book, and (luckily) not paid. A few weeks later we had to go to Mâcon for something different, when we passed by a good bookshop called Univers du livre. Out of habit we walked in, and out of curiosity we looked for part 2 on the shelves. And lo and behold, part 2 was available, and on special offer, so our quest for this book ended happily after all!

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Let nature take its course

On 7 August 2009 we finally managed to get hold of a very small cat, so small it hardly deserved that name, which up to that day had earned a living by scrounging at dinner tables in a village not so far from here.
We were looking for an outdoor cat to keep the mouse and mole population at bay, our friends in Vaux had more than enough wild cats roaming around their house, and that same evening we became the proud owners of a very young cat.
How old she was we did not know, but we guessed she must have been roughly 8 weeks old then. Even though Fifi has grown a lot since, she is still a very small cat given her age.
Recently she started to put on a lot of weight, which more or less coincided with the sighting of an orange-red cat on the premises. This cat seemed very at ease in the courtyard, not being bothered by Fifi, which made us think that this well could have been one of the 3 cats which were born here early May 2008.

Our first thought was that Fifi had been scoffing too many mice, but slowly we started to put Fifi (one) and the red cat (one) together, and the fact that Fifi had not been “done” yet made us think that she could well be pregnant. One evening something unusual happened. Fifi was not to be found in her usual hang outs, like in her own cave, or in the roof of the toilet block for the camp site, but she had draped herself on the doormat in front of our front door, and she certainly did not feel at ease. She even did not make one attempt to slip inside as soon as we opened the door to see how she was. At the end of the evening we decided to sit with her for a while, and finally managed to get her down to her own dwelling, and in her bed lined with her favourite blanket. Around midnight she was the proud but tired mother of two, and the next morning we found out that she had had a litter of four. In the mean time we are looking for a vet, because, however nice these young cats may turn out to be, five cats on the premises could well be more than enough!

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