Housesitting, Housesitting in France, Life of adventure, Neighbourhood Walks

Neighbourhood Walks – Espalais

Firstly, introductions to the loveable crew: Miss Dexter and Mr Toulouse, unfortunately, Mr Toulouse was unavailable for the photo shoot, he has declined the notoriety. In other words, I could not get him to stay still for even one moment. Mr Toulouse the black cat you are a nightmare to photograph. Though he does have an adorable nature if not just a bit camera shy.

Without further ado here is Miss Dexter:


Miss Dexter is a young cockapoo, for those of you that aren’t familiar with the dog breed, it is a combination of a cocker spaniel and a poodle. She is a rather cute one at that. Mr Toulouse is a male cat that is more than happy to laze away his days by himself outside in a large barn. He is also a motivator for Miss Dexter to finish her food. Sharing is a concept that Miss Dexter is not accustomed too.

With all our experience in dealing with various animals, we have come to the conclusion that most have various individual idiosyncrasies. Miss Dexter is no exception. Her’s is to perform an unusual enactment of a shaggy meercat. Believe me, she does do it rather well. Not sure why this is done while walking. Maybe it’s due to her small status and her curiosity of what is over yonder that makes her desire to grow taller a necessity while out for a wander.

Les and Dexter

What is somewhat amusing is my encounter with another being who is inclined to be more stubborn than me. This stubbornness becomes more apparent when we are out walking. Miss Dexter is inclined to plonk her backside on the ground and stay firm in her request not to move.


Then comes the negotiation, well pleading/bribery on my part, to get us once again on the move. Which we do eventually as I refuse to carry Miss Dexter all the way back to her home. All in all, for a young dog she is very well behaved. She just knows what she wants and when that should occur. Of course, these demands are carried out gently, like many strong-minded females that I know, whether human or animal!


Even with her need to sit, Miss Dexter does enjoy her walks, with enough sniffing to energise her brain and desire to carry on. Our walks in a commune within the Midi-Pyrenees is flat and surrounded by a river, which makes it an island of sorts.

On a coolish morning, large broad streams of steam can be seen from most angles along the roads we wander. These are from a nuclear plant not too far in the distance. When I first saw them as we drove into the area, my activist mentality felt like it should be kicking in and protest about why a community would accept this monstrosity in their midst.

We are visitors, and this is not our community.


It was time to leave my mind open to listen and absorb what the locals think of having this power source in their backyard so to speak. It was inevitable that the local community would be rewarded and any protests subdued by the handing out of cold hard cash, the continued source of income in a rural area is a hard option to reject. With so many rural villages lacking growth and prosperity who can blame them for a cash injection instead of opting to focus on the “what if’s”.

The Village

It is then easy to understand their capability to put aside any negativity that this source of power could possibly bring to them all. Unlike New Zealand, France does not have the undesirable tag of “the shaky isles”, in which for us makes rejecting a nuclear plant quite a natural thing to do.


Other walks around the neighbourhood soon make my focus on the nuclear plant fade away into the background. We certainly enjoyed strolling along the narrow side roads, with groups of old farmhouses and fields of tall trees with bare trunks, to quaint villages, where a treat of buying a fresh baguette is more motivation to walk at a faster pace and a longer distance.


Which brings me to mention that we measured a few walks and it was my target to do them twice, once by myself and the other with my two cohorts. With added enthusiasm and energy, we finish one of our varied walks with the usual reward being a cuppa for us and a treat and snooze for Miss Dexter.



38 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Walks – Espalais”

        1. Yes, I too follow Liesbet’s blog and they are both full time housesitters like us. Though they have a business as well as Liesbet is trying to finish off a book!! Much busier than us ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Yes, it is a lovely part of France, and, it will be interesting to see it in Autumn when we go back in September. Lucky Jo’s Mum ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Certainly an adorable little pooch. Some of those doodle X names are quite humorous. We had been looking to see if we could get a Westie X Poodle. Yes – theyโ€™re called a We-poo. We kept looking… I wonder if theyโ€™ve ever crossed a Great Dane with a poodle.

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  2. Cute dog. We had a black cat once and couldnโ€™t photograph her adequately. Even her nose was black, so if she shut her eyes and kept her mouth shut there was nothing to see! I tend to your views on the nuclear power plant. We have the greater pleasure (?) of living near the UKโ€™s nuclear missiles. Hmm โ€“ at least weโ€™ll go up quickly.

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  3. Miss Dexter is hilarious! I can totally imagine her as a meercat and I love that she has strong opinions about when (and when not) to walk!

    My sister has a cockerpoo as well- she is also full of personality. Dogonality!?

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    1. Ross, I just recovered your comment from my spam folder and other 20+ genuine comments!! Very annoying! Now regarding the baguette business. Yes, it is a vending machine. Most of the bread even comes out in a paper bag, though not all. I think it must be filled each morning as the bread is fresh, though an expensive way of buying it.


  4. Miss Dexter looks gorgeous! I like a dog with ‘attitude’. Nuclear power is fine until it goes wrong, which it often does! The repercussions can cause misery for generations. Unbelievable that Japan should go down the nuclear route, given the fact that its lies on a major fault line like New Zealand. It was a catastrophy waiting to happen! X

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    1. Miss Dexter is gorgeous. Yes, we too love a dog with ‘attitude’, she did remind us of Barty ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully not, regarding Japan!! x


    1. Thanks Rosie, she is adorable and had us laughing over the few weeks we have been here. It has been a wonderful housesit to do.


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