02 March 2012

Weather, politics, animals

The weather just goes on being strange. Today our low temperature is what would normally be our high temperature in early March, and the high yesterday afternoon would have been appropriate for a nice day in May. The weekend will be nice and spring-like, with a change in the weather coming on Monday, when the usual cold March rains will get started.

The French presidential campaign
is in high gear now. Incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy is campaigning full-time, and he's omnipresent on television and radio interview programs as well as on news broadcasts. Socialist candidate François Hollande has been campaigning hard for a month or more now. Extreme-right candidate Marine Le Pen says she now has a good chance of gathering all the 500 endorsements she will need to get her name on the April ballot in late May.

Sarkozy, as usual, appears to be bogged down in details that don't seem very presidential. Right now, he's offering teachers, for example, a plan under which they would accept an increase in the number of hours (+44%) when they are on duty in the schools in exchange for a higher salary (+25%). Interviewers keep pointing out to him that his administration has eliminated thousands of teaching jobs over the past five years. Why not hire some of those teachers back if there are now not enough teachers to take care of all the students? Oh well...

Our neighbor the mayor asked me and Walt for some photos that she might use on the village web site. We supplied some earlier this week. She especially requested photos of local sunsets, and we have plenty of those. I'll be interested to see if she really decides to use any of them.

If you look closely at the top of the cat's head, you can see
the reflection of Callie's scratched nose in the glass. Bert
seems to be examining the scratch with great concern.

With Bertie and Callie, it's status quo. Bertie got used to coming into the house when the weather was so cold a few weeks ago. We were able to close off the living room/kitchen area — there are doors — and also put up a barrier that kept Callie upstairs. The dog couldn't see the cat so she didn't get excited, and the cat felt secure and would settle down and sleep either in front of the fireplace or next to a radiator.

Bert looking past his canine friend to see
if the humans are paying any attention...

We'd rather that Bertie remain a basically outdoor cat, so we don't overly encourage his visits. He sleeps on top of a tall piece of furniture in the garage, where it's relatively safe and fairly warm, despite the fact that we leave a garage window open all the time for his comings and goings. We've made him a comfortable bed up there with a thick blanket and a towel or two. We actually bought him a little bed last week, but he hasn't shown any inclination to start sleeping in it so far. Maybe if the weather were colder he'd use it, but he doesn't need it now.

Bert's new bed should keep a cat pretty warm —
if he ever decides to sleep in it.

Yesterday Bert came up to the French doors that separate the living room from the terrace and meowed some, letting us know he wanted to come in. Callie heard the meowing and of course got excited. The two animals gazed at each other through the glass for a few minutes, sitting quietly. Finally Bert gave up hope and went back downstairs to eat some kibble. I went down and played with him for a few minutes, without Callie.


  1. You could try putting one of Bertie's well used towels in his new bed so that he gets the idea it's for him.
    Our weather has turned milder than normal and there are already warnings that there will be a drought in large areas of the country. Which is a mixed blessing - we need the rain but we are enjoying the lack of mud on our walks with Lulu.

  2. Good idea, Jean. I should have thought of that.

  3. I hope that Bertie comes to use that nice looking warm bed. Jean's idea sounds good :)

  4. Cats are such fascinating creatures. Our old cat Dobie developed arthritis and, never being a good jumper, found it difficult to get up on the bed. So we bought him a set of wood steps. We tried to get him on them, but he didn't like them because they were slippery. So we quilted them. It took us 6 months to get him to use them. We then bought him his own large pillow for sleeping. He would simply sniff it and lie down next to it for the first month.

  5. After a long day it is a joy to read your post! I rest with a gentle smile on my face. Merci!

  6. The mayor is lucky to have access to your beautiful photos.

    Bertie is lucky to live with you despite having to put up with Callie.

  7. you can put down several beds & the cat may not choose to use them....or may use for a few months and then stop ...if there's a spot in the garage that gets a lot of sun (not sure since its a garage) I suggest placing the bed there....maybe a few treats scattered across the bed, but u dont want to call the mice (tho maybe B would prefer those to treats...I dont blame him for wanting to come back in & sit by the fire again...they love warmth (and some actually enjoy human interaction....even if its just using us as a lap to sleep on)

  8. what a great story teller that reflection picture is! great work!

  9. Jean and I witnessed our beloved little, outdoor kitty, Miss Maynard, being attacked by a coyote last week. We got her to the vet, but she wasn't able to recover from her wounds. She had never wanted to come in the house, so we'd created a sheltered area for her under our deck, equipped with a pet heater pad. The pad was inexpensive and kept her going through years of cold, damp, Washington winters.
    Enjoy every day you have with your precious animals.

  10. Dean, so sorry to hear about your cat's fatal encounter. We don't have coyotes here, of course, but we do have foxes... and cars. We hope Bertie will outlive Callie, as he should. We hope to have both for the next 10 to 15 years.

    Evelyn, you are right. If it hadn't been for us, who knows where Bertie would have ended up. Janet was on her way to England and had found no other takers.

    Mitch, I know you are right about cats. Dogs too. They make their own way, sometimes accepting and sometimes rejecting our offerings and suggestions. That's their nature.

  11. The top picture should read....
    "You are feeling sleepy...really sleepy... you are going to sleep... when I click my claws, you'll start clucking like a chicken!"
    The second picture... "Did it work? I can't hear out here..."

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  13. I love Bertie and Callie's pics !

    Aren't our "animaux de compagnie"/pets wonderful companions ! I can't imagine my life without my cat...

    My sweet Filou never uses his "bed" which is in the kitchen, not far from his food, he prefers sleeping on my bed or in any place he fancies :-)

    Funny Filou !

    Have a good evening ! It was much colder tonight...

    Mary who has deleted her initial post because of typos...


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