Thursday, October 27, 2011

Whistling in the wind

On my morning walk with Ben, I was taking in the crunch of my feet on the leaves when I realized that I was hearing something else...floating notes of a disjointed tune and they were coming out It wasn't even a song, something solid to identify with to place my mood here or there, "Stormy Weather" or "The Man I Love" but just pure, unadulterated randomness. How lovely to find myself whistling. That has to be an example of a simple joy if ever there was one.

My Mom likes to tell a story from when I was about three years old. She was out, a baby-sitter left in charge. Said young lady suddenly became terrified when she heard someone in the next room. She reached for a kitchen knife (ok, maybe I have made that part up in my memory) and burst in to find little curly topped me sitting on the floor, whistling away, totally lost in my music. 

Have you ever heard a sad whistler? A tragic one? I didn't think so.

"You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and...blow."

And as if this post isn't random enough already, a teaspoon more of sugar to make the medicine go down. Further along on our walk, Ben decided that he had had enough. I did not agree and, ah-hem, being the supposed leader of the two, insisted he follow. He refused. I pulled. He pulled back. I finally pointed at him and said, "If you don't get your act together mister, I am going to give you a kick in the pants!" His ears perked up. I added, "Ok, I know that you don't actually wear pants but you know what I mean." He considered for a moment and then kept walking. Yes, it is official then. I am the crazy lady who has conversations with her dog in public. Soon I will be making little outfits for him to wear. I think I need an intervention. 

Found attached to our new oven filter


  1. Hello Heather:
    We never read manuals or any instructions for operating machinery....far too exhausting! Just hit it sharply with a hammer is our motto. Kill or cure!!!

    Your cheery post today transported us into a 'world' which we always associate with whistling and instructing animals in the nicest possible way.

  2. NO OUTFITS for BEN!He is perfect the way he is!
    Good to hear your whistling away..........

  3. I'm laughing, I just tried to whistle, I can't, but a noise came out that had Dylan's ears perked up I don't think he cared for it because he left the Funny about Ben not wanting to move I think it's a golden thing because Dylan does it too. The husband had to call me on Sunday to drive where Dylan decided their hike was ending to pick them up...stubborn dog! Enjoy your day!

  4. Oh my, Jane and Lance, that made me so happy! I am a sentimental girl, what can I say? I could be friends with those chipmunks, especially. And she definitely got the job done more efficiently than threatening...And certainly, the most effective manner for repair is to give something a good whack--everyone knows that! Unless, of course, you just so happen to have a magical companion or two to fix it for you...

    Not to worry Contessa. There is however, an extremely eccentric former fashion editor here in Arles who outfits her fat Labs with Hermes scarves...

    Debra, really? I thought that it was just Ben that was so strubborn! I have never had a dog before that was too lazy to go for a walk...sigh.

  5. Hello Heather:
    So pleased that you liked the clip. It makes us happy too. We were worried that you might not spot the link as the link colour is so pale. Who needs a dishwasher when one can have chipmunks, eh?!!

  6. Voila! Changed the hover color to something hopefully more striking. Hmmm, perhaps chipmunks will be all too willing to be present at Manor Hattat? Although I can't quuuiiite imagine Timéa supporting that in the least! Especially for their dishwashing method.

    Off to warm up the cassoulet for dinner! Hoorah!

  7. Oh....Miss Heather?.....

    Not to rain too entirely on your parade....and bearing in mind that you have spent perhaps TOO many of your days amongst Frenchmen (mostly Roman Catholics and therefore not to be trusted)?.....

    I have to say that it was with considerable distress and discomfiture that I read this most recent of your postings. I could not help (as I sat forlornly at my widower's window in this old house, looking out at the sodden autumn leaves lining the back walkways) thinking "This poor, obviously ill-advised, young Heather creature has NO idea, does she?......."

    Please allow me, Miss Heather, to BEG of you that you recall (surely this is stored somewhere in the back of your racial memory, upon which you should always RELY) Our Fine & Sound Old Adage:


    So very true. Surely, you will agree.

    Please do not allow your young, impressionable mind and sensitivities to be overwhelmed by the "experiences" with which (and I have no doubt about this matter, having once been in danger, myself) the French will attempt to overwhelm it. You need not be "rude"; simply tell them that, however much they ask you to whistle, you will not do it.

    If they ask you to whistle, firmly (yet politely) say that you will not do it. Please, while you are traveling abroad, do not allow immediate circumstances to compromise your integrity as a Young Lady of Good Sense & Careful Breeding.

    I cannot sufficiently stress the urgency of my request. Let me add that, while you are in France, you will be seen as setting an EXAMPLE for other, visiting, young American ladies.

    Please do not afford The Consulate, The Church of England, or your entire family any cause for the extreme shame and social-disgrace which will inevitably be occasioned by your continued whistling in public domains.

    It's simply not a thing that one does.

    Quite Concernedly yours,

    The Right Reverend Doctor David C. Terry

  8. Oh I hate it when the Reverend Doctor writes to me.
    It is always, always linked with a scolding of some sort of the other. I was born in Kentucky. It is written on my passport! Whistling is in my blood, Reverend David and trying to deny it would be denying the purest expression of myself. Yes, I know very well that one does NOT whistle in public, nor sing along to old U2 songs in the grocery store, nor let out little waffly sounds while yawning. And yet, I am guilty of all of these crimes, I am. So let me be lost--you see, after all this blog IS properly named--now you can't deny it!

    I would also like to calmly ask you to please stop predicting that I am going to h-e-double toothpicks in a handbasket. Yes, my memory is as wobbly as a great Aunt after too many tipples of sherry but I do seem to recall another incident involving a pigeon flying down my chimney. Ahem. Do you recall predicting my imminent demise? I am *pinching hand to double check* STILL HERE! So no need to scare me or my loved ones, just because Halloween is right around the corner.

    With slight indignation and ornery pride,
    Heather Robinson, Whistler at Large

  9. Well, I WAS only joking,Heather.

    The consoling fact remains that the two old women I knew who used to inevitably mutter darkly about how "a bird down the chimney mean somebody gone to DIE in the house!" are, in fact, quite dead, themselves.

    Everybody they used to tell it to is still alive and kicking.

    Happy Halloween, and I assume you've already seen Vicki Archer's blog's photograph of pumpkins/citrouilles for sale in a French market, with a well-intentioned sign reading "Jack Off Lanterns"?
    ---david terry

  10. Now do you really think that I could have missed that David? Or not known that you were joking when I wrote you back with what I thought was wild abandon in the silliness department?

    Am wondering what Halloween is like in your parts. Hoping it is festive.

  11. I wanted to wait a bit to be sure I wasn't just being resistant to change before I said that I prefer the former masthead. I lived in France for five years and Arles and beyond were one of my favorite places and I don't think the new masthead evokes the region nor, even more serious, your writing and photos. I'm not calling for a return to the old but am hoping for a new one - sometime.

    warmly, joan

  12. Thank you so much for your honest and thoughtful feedback Joan. I definitely agree that the current layout is not evocative of the region and have been very surprised that some folks with what I consider excellent taste preferred the previous template. I have also seen my readership drop which my be a coincidence, or not! Will think about it.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

  13. not put your dog in clothes! he will be humiliated for the rest of his life. The Jose lamp is on its way, carried by me on a Delta flight to Bordeaux via Brussels, it will be then handpacked with care and shipped to you from Agen (Lot et Garonne) Wished i could hand carry it all the way to your house. Please let me know how you like it and would love to see a pic in place. I would write a little post about it. I may be in Avignon in january, perhaps i could pay a small visit??

  14. Oh Francine, I would never do that to Ben--he is the world's most sensitive dog. I tend to make an exception once a year and plop a Santa hat on his head for a photo and that is it.

    I am SO excited about the lamp and thank you heartily for getting it back to France. I will definitely let you know when I have received it and will send photos--c'est promis! As for January, I would be truly delighted to meet you and you are most certainly welcome here in Arles... :)

  15. Hello,
    just read your comment at *My French Country Home*!

    Bon dimanche!
    ♥ Franka

  16. I think I am already considered the mad, English woman of the village by the locals, who always catch me chatting to Crusoe during his morning constitutionals.

    I love the label

  17. Merci pour la visite, Franka! Isn't Sharon's blog fantastic?

    Oh good, Dash, at least I am not alone. :)


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