top of page


Quote of the day: ’A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.’ - Josh Billings

Simon’s offering: ‘I’ve crossbred a crocodile and a homing pigeon. Expect that’ll be coming back to bite me!’

This is what it has come to. Poor little chap.

Arnold is the main event of today.

And a very sad state of affairs it is. Quiet too. Even somewhat sombre.

Arnie is the small dog that cannot be tethered. He is meant to have been on bed rest for the last week.

It has been an impossible task.

The painkillers render him feeling invincible. Only yesterday he was attempting the stairs, succeeding once without my knowledge, but of course then he has to descend them. He tried going up again later, whipping through my legs, but by the time he was at the top there was no way he was going to get down again.

I cannot bend down to pick him up or stop him. Even if I could, at a robust nine kilogrammes in weight, he is almost double my future lifting capacity ‘post-surgeon-checkup’ in a bit under three weeks. It’s way less than that at present. Incredibly frustrating.

Fortunately Simon was upstairs at the time and carried Arnie back down.

Then there was the cat.

Simon is the proud owner of many projects. One of them is a very dejected looking 2CV. It is housed amidst the very depths of assorted large and small engined machines, some of which are in varying states of disrepair. Somewhat akin to a scrapyard really. In fear of somnolence I will refrain from listing the entire entourage, however suffice to say, along with redundant or duplicate machinery, there are enough projects to keep him going for another 30 years.

After the house renovation. Of course.

There are other such projects too that will be tackled ’when the house is finished.’ These include a 1950’s table football machine and a wine/cider press. Wonderful objects I am sure.

Back to the cat.

The 2CV has a name, as does most machinery and tools around here. Christened Cyril upon his arrival, he is currently snuggled cosily under an all weather cover.

Yesterday it was a gloriously warm day but very windy. Titi the cat, white and tabby, pictured above, often secretes herself on Cyril’s seats, hidden away in the darkness under the cover, especially when it is raining or blowing a gale.

At the end of the afternoon, Simon was superbly fulfilling yet more housekeeping duties by gathering the washing from the line. All was calm and the dogs were sniffing around Cyril as often happens.

In a flash of utter chaos, a jet black feline streak emerged from under Cyril’s cover, making a frantic, stupid and desperate bid for freedom, followed closely by two further black canine streaks in hot pursuit bringing up the rear. One with, most probably, a herniated disc. It appears Arnie can indeed still attain a pretty speedy lick when he wants to, as was duly demonstrated.

He and Ruby show no mercy and are off in hot pursuit, whereupon said cat legs it at break neck speed up to the very top of the walnut tree.

This proves a great distraction and entertainment for Arnie as he sits at the base of the walnut tree, longingly spying on the very black, very terrified cat for several hours. His gaze never faltered.

At least he was resting.

Sadly, by then the damage was done. Come the end of the day, the boy who should be on bed rest, is even less able to walk and dragging his back right leg even more.

So… another visit back to the vet this morning.

It’s bad news.

His back legs are losing sensation, as his suspected herniated disc is now advancing. His own doing.

If he continues to carry on as he has been, we have to face the likelihood he will require surgery. This may be an option even if he stops.

If he doesn‘t calm down, continues to chase cats and roust about the way he has been, paralysis is possible.

If he rests and does absolutely nothing, there is hope he will recover.

There’s no telling the boy to ’Calm down!’ or ‘Don’t chase cats,’ so we have resorted to desperate measures.

The crate of shame is introduced and there he must stay. Apparently it is politically correctly called a crate now, not a cage.

In fairness, he entered into it of his own volition as his bed is in there. He’s allowed out a few times a day, on a lead, to do as he needs to do, but sleep and rest are the order of the next few weeks. The vet said two, four, or six of them. We just don’t know. All we can hope is that things sort themself out.

A daily course of steroids to try and help things along too, in addition to the twice daily tablet of morphine. He’s in a really bad way.

Ruby doesn’t understand what’s going on either. She can’t quite fathom why she and I go out for long walks and Arnie has to stay here.. Or why he is on a lead to go round the garden. Or indeed, what he’s doing languishing in a crate.

Interspersed pictures are more beautiful wildflowers from Ruby’s and my walk earlier. They are popping up all over the place.

‘Hope,’ ’Spring’ with a capital ‘S’ in this instance, ‘eternal’ and all that jazz.

No sign of the cat today. Even if it was around, it would be as safe as houses.


Mar 17, 2023

Poor wee Arnie. Just as spring round the corner.

A flurry of primroses

It´s me, Basia

Mar 18, 2023
Replying to

Hope all is well with the gnashers x


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
bottom of page