Running in France III - Nice Doggy . . .
Last Thursday morning was my wife’s parents’ French lesson, which we tagged along to. The teacher, Caroline, lives in Abeilhan, which is conveniently just under 8km from Gabian. So I went with my running shoes on, my shorts under my trousers, and a breathable / wicking top in the back of the car.
The weather was grey and overcast, with the beginnings of some rain in the air. So as well as important and useful stuff, like the health-care system, we talked about the weather in the lesson. Apparantly the French phrase of very light rain translates as “raining like cat’s pee”. The logic is that it’s wet enough to see, but not wet enough to actually water the plants. Lovely. And the English phrase “raining cats and dogs” (i.e. really tipping down) has a translation that’s literally “raining stair rods”.
Anyway . . . after the lesson, I got changed and headed off - into the wind and some light “cat’s pee”, heading off towards Pouzolles, and then up to Gabian. (I’ve found that Google Maps just gets better and better - you can see the route I took on this map - 7.9km). I’d never approached Pouzolles on foot from this direction (from which you can see the Chateau), and every house I passed seemed to have a dog in the garden.
The French have only two kinds of dog. Either small, yappy rat-like things, or hounds from the depths of hell itself, specially trained to recognise and attack the English. You can just guess which category these fell into . . . huge mouths, full of fangs and slaver, red eyes, and the ‘I’m going to jump right over this six foot high fence and chew your skinny white legs off‘ stare.
Just as I was about half way along Avenue Paul Doumer (way-point 11 on the map), I ran past a parked car . . . which had one of the hell hounds lurking the other side of it. The dog was quite surprised, and did what any good dog would do under the circumstances. I stopped dead, waited to see what would happen . . . . would my tactics devised for sangliers work? Would they provoke an attack . . . would I ever live down getting my knees chewed off while on holiday? It was a tense half a second (which felt like half an hour) before it became apparent to the dog that there wasn’t enough meat on me to make a decent meal, and it ambled off, leaving me to carry on, trying not to get lost through the rest of Pouzolles . . . .