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March 15th - Raves, moles and dog-clipping

      I’ve never been to a rave.  They didn’t exist in my young day - we went to festivals and sat about peering through our flower-decked hair saying deep and meaningful things like, “Yeah, like, groovy, you know?”

      So I’m not sure if the Moisson fête votive counts as a rave or not, but I suspect it does; three days and nights of ear-shatteringly loud music and seriously heavy drinking garnished with drug-taking, knife-fights and petty vandalism.  It takes two days afterwards to remove the vomit, excreta, urine, blood, beer, rubbish and broken glass from the village, and the smell lasts until the first rains of autumn.  What joy.

      Fête preparations include securing gates with chains and padlocks, removing all public flowers, bins and benches, hiding the cars, closing the shutters, keeping the cats and dogs in, roping off private land, and of course, leaving.  Most of the villagers leave.  Including us, of course.  Dolly doesn’t like loud music.

      She doesn’t like being groomed, either.  Thinks it’s sissy.  I mean, she might be small, white and fluffy, but in her head she’s a fierce wolf, savage and wild; a hunter of chickens; the sort of dog who sees off large rottweilers with one growl.  In her head she absolutely is not a dog who submits with docility to being preened and primped.

      So when I descended on her yesterday armed with a pair of dressmaking shears, she cast me a darkling look and shot under the dining table.  I had to lure her out with bacon nibbles.

      Poor old Dolly.  She can’t resist bacon, even when she knows that it’ll lead to capture and combing.  So out she came, her black eyes gleaming, and as she snaffled the nibble I grabbed her, lifted her onto the table and started hacking her winter coat off.  It has to be done.  She needs all that fur in the winter but now that spring is here, she really doesn’t need it any more and if I left it during the summer I think she turn into a roast bichon.  Mind you I do always leave her ears and tail long.  Because she looks so cute, such a sweetie-pie.  Muma’s ikkle didums.

      Didums nothing.  The minute I’d finished clipping her, she shot out of the cat flap and scooted out to the garden where she covered herself in glorious mud whilst digging up a mole.  Then she brought in to show off to the cats (Bad Boy Tombo and Sooty the Supervisor).  You can imagine the ensuing chaos; mole behind sideboard, Tombo knocks glasses off sideboard, mole under sofa, Tombo under sofa, Sooty on sideboard inspecting broken glass, Dolly behind sofa, mole in Dolly’s mouth, Dolly under sideboard, Sooty under sideboard, sideboard falls over, Tombo climbs the curtains, curtains fall down, mole under sofa cushions, Dolly digs up sofa, Sooty pounces on mole, Tombo leaps onto Sooty’s head, I wave Wellington boots and shout, mole escapes, Sooty biffs Tombo on the nose, mole shoots under carpet, both cats go berserk bouncing up and down on moving lump under carpet, Dolly gives up and goes to sleep in the cat basket.

      At which point Marie-France comes through the front door calling, “Coo-coo, t’es là, Samanta?”  They’re having a meeting in the Mairie about the fête.  Do I want to come?        “Er, bit tricky,” I say.  “I’ve got a mole in my boot.”

      Marie-France rolls her eyes.  “Do you want me to kill it for you?”

      “Kill it?  Kill it?  But it’s sweet.  I’ve just rescued it from the dog.”

      She thumps her giant capable fist into her forehead.  “Sweet?  A mole?  Sacré Samanta.  L’anglaise folle.”

      “I’ll be there in a trice,” I promise.  “I’ll just go and liberate this mole...”

      But I was too late.  By the time I got round to the Mairie, the future of the fête had been decided.  No more loud bands, no more all-night music, no more crowds of strangers, no three nights of unlimited debauchery.  No more fête worse than death - just a barbecued sheep and a disco on the Saturday night, followed by some apèros the next morning.

      Sounds, like, groovy, you know?

 Next column will be uploaded on April Fool’s Day - you have been warned.  This article is protected by all international copyright agreements, and reproduction is prohibited without permission of the author.

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