There’s a much-used Italian word – ‘furbo’ (feminine form ‘furba’) which means sly or smart depending on the context.
It’s basically what Florence is, as demonstrated by the photo.
She was due this morning to be sterilised, but the only way to get her into the car is to bribe her to jump up with a bowl of food.
Since she had to have an empty stomach for her operation, this device wasn’t possible.
So what happened? She saw straight through all my pretences, flatly refused to co-operate, and we had to cancel.
Florence and the car don’t get on together too well.
When we were due to take the dogs to kennels the night before the CT scan in Milan, I put her supper in the back of the car to lure her in but all she did was jump in and out like she was on a spring.
In the end Clive held her steady on a lead over his shoulder from where he was sitting in the front passenger seat while I booted her onto the rear seat before tying her with another lead to the dog guard behind.
It was a long-drawn-out episode which I’m anxious to avoid.
Therefore I’m starting a regime of giving her all her meals in the rear of the car so as to make it a comfortable space for her. I’ll gradually get closer so she’s OK eating with me near enough to shut her in. Then I’ll shut her in for a brief time, then longer, and so on.
At least that’s the plan.
Yesterday when we went to the hospital for the lemon of a visit, we were obliged to leave Florence behind.
She’s very heavy and while I can lift her into the back of the car once, this time she escaped and then was spooked. A struggling Florence is a different matter.
So I’ve undertaken to try to have her get into the car under her own steam.
It’s obvious she’s not agile enough to make it in one leap like Taylor, so Giovanni and I made up a light but strong box by way of a step.
She was extremely reluctant to use it, but fortunately she’s a greedy little pig.
With the help of some biscuits just out of her reach in the hatch, she eventually got up there on her own.
In the photo she cautiously places a hind leg on the box.
There’s a way to go yet, but I don’t want to leave her behind again if I can help it.
Galileo is the kind of dog that hunts for truffles.
We decided not to train him because it would have meant giving him different conditions to the rest of our dogs.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hunt, obsessively, for anything small that moves (unlike truffles).
This mouse is his handiwork, I’m sure: I found it near the car where he’d been circling, and I can’t say it gave me much of a pang because they get in the engine. One even made a nest in the Wet Wipe packet in the glove compartment.
But the big green lizard that he killed – of a type so big we call them Komodo Dragons – now that did upset me.
Walking along the river bank yesterday, I found a twig with a fiery orange tip.
I thought the tiny, brightly-coloured fungus might photograph well with my + 10 lens.
It certainly has an alien air about it – even a dangerous one.
It also looks like pieces of slightly gone-off gooey yellow pepper.
Wet weather seems to be well set in now.
There hasn’t been anything dramatic like a storm; just steady rain with frequent mist.
(I catch myself saying that the mist has come down, whereas in fact it comes up, rolling up from the valley like smoke.)
The first wet evening, after we’d taken the car out not long previously, I opened the front door and blinked.
Apart from on the car, there were leaves everywhere – all over the path, the flowerbeds, the gravel, and falling as I watched.
Some combination of cold and damp had caused the oak trees to suddenly shed the leaves which they’d held onto until then.
Clive had company while I was in the fruit and veg shop. He took this photo through the windscreen.
A warm bonnet is a great attraction on a foggy morning.
It’s ironic because Clive got so cold sitting in the car (he has difficulty regulating his body temperature) that he’s ended up with a fever this evening.
I’m quite sure the cat had no similar problems.