Rogues, Thieves And Hobos!

03 Mar

Christmas 2011 and the New Year period of 2012 were settled times for us. After the rather nasty Storm Joachim had ploughed its way through France and into Germany, wreaking havoc along its entire path, we were able to clear Sue’s garden of minor debris from the trees, and we headed for the beach at Saint-Georges-de-Didonne. Although he was still plagued by night time coughing, and unable to walk further than 100m without stopping to rest, Tom was feeling, and looking, much better; driving short distances presented as no problem for him. However, little did we know, but it was only a brief respite.

Nearly every day, coat pockets filled with ‘doggy poop bags’, we would pile into the car – Tchica sitting regally in the back seat with the lads, Elmo in the boot after we had removed all the furnishings. Tchica is one of the most laid-back RottieX bitches we have ever met, in fact, she and another Rottie, Amber, Sue and Rick’s bitch, are up there on a pedestal for us! Although, we have been very lucky, Alf the hound in the Tarn et Garonne, Leah and Susie in Les Eyzies, Forest and Hector in Brittany, there’s very little between them all where good, gentle character and obedience are concerned; each of them has a special place in our hearts.

Elmo, though, must be the naughtiest, most wilful, exceptionally mischievous dog of all time, and we love him to bits!

I nicknamed Elmo ‘El Nino’, after the Peruvian translation for ‘the naughty boy’, a weather cycle that creates all manner of problems around the world, when we first looked after him and Tchica during the summer of 2011! That’s what Elmo is, a constant series of whirlwinds and hurricanes that simply don’t dissipate until he falls asleep, exhausted, each evening! He is an absolute rogue of the first degree, a rascal that oozes unconditional love and affection for all man- and woman-kind! Elmo is the dog that all children should have as a play-pal during their early years, particularly. I expect readers get the picture by now, Elmo is the dog we would have loved to be a much-loved part of our family unit, if only circumstances had been different for us.

During our years as hobos, there have been many other pets that we have met, cared for, loved, and that have loved us in return. One of those pets was a very large, overweight, black Sam. We had been recommended to young Sam’s owners as ‘excellent sitters who enjoy walking dogs’. Absolutely correct! So, during the summer of 2009, we were called on to look after Sam in the Dordogne, and to exercise him until he attained the sleek shape he needed to be to live a long, healthy life. In the six weeks I was with Sam, my menfolk were ‘sitting’ in different regions in France, we walked an average of 12kms to 15kms each day. Sam lost weight, so did I! But, we were both much healthier for that weight loss and muscle toning. End result, a happy, bouncy Sam, and two happy owners who arrived to remove Sam to their new home in the UK, and to continue with his exercise regime.

Sadly, some two years later, and long after our son had painted and decorated a lot of that same property in the Dordogne, unpaid, in return for the owners putting a roof over our heads for a period of 5 weeks during the winter of 2009/2010, one of Sam’s owners emailed me to ask if we had ‘removed tools from the property, forgetting to let him know’! In other words, had we stolen the tools, including a rather large strimmer! I still have the email, and my emailed response, in which I reminded him that our ‘old girl’ aka our Citroen, could not carry his ‘missing tools’, we always have a car that is filled to capacity with all our worldly hobo goods! I also informed the guy that we had been hundreds of kilometres away from his French property when his tools had, allegedly, been taken – a fact I could prove. Additionally, I reminded him that he and his family, and their friends, had spent holiday periods in the property since we had last been there, I have the chatty emails letting us know when they were in France with Sam.

Pete, you know who you are, we are still waiting for your apology. We are hobos, not by choice or deliberate design, but through circumstances that are beyond our control. We are not, never have been, never will be, thieves.


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4 responses to “Rogues, Thieves And Hobos!

  1. Sue

    March 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    “El Niño” – brilliant name for Elmo!! Believe it or not, he has calmed down since he was delivered to me by NALA (“Nos Amis Les Animaux” an association in Vendée) when he chewed his way through one third of my books and crunched up nearly all my DVDs. Now, he can be left in the house without doing any damage. All he wants is to be loved, to play and to be close to his humans and any doggie companions.

    There’s a reason why he wants to be so close – he never had a puppyhood; he was attached to a chain 24 hours a day from a very young age with no company, human or animal although he was fed and watered and, so far as I know, never beaten.

    He was over-excited and overjoyed to have the four of you!! With me, he’s relatively calm and will come when called, sit, lie down and wait and will walk very nicely on the lead. In fact, he’s a very well-balanced dog who just loves everybody. But he’s still very exuberant when visitors arrive so, if they don’t know each other well, I put him on the lead for the first few minutes.

    I think he gets a little bored living with me just me and Tchica (not that he misbehaves anymore) and a family would be ideal for him. So, Chrissie, I hope you get yourselves settled soon!!

    • hobosinfrance

      March 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Bless you, Sue, I was so hoping you would respond and give that overview about Elmo aka El Nino! I don’t think he was beaten, either, but I would say he was definitely terribly deprived of company, 4-legged and 2-legged. Certainly, he knows he’s now loved and valued, by you, by us, even by Tchica who does so well, she doesn’t just tolerate him, she plays with him, and she instructs him, too!! They loved the beach, Sue, although we couldn’t take them very far along the beach at Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, due to the storm damage and clean-up programme in progress at that time, but they were both brilliant on the beach at Royan. Chrissie & Family xxxx

  2. merewoman

    March 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Gosh, Chrissie, you certainly found a few shits amongst the flowers, didn’t you? How terribly, terribly unkind, ungrateful and rude. I’m wondering what use you’d have for a large strimmer, or in fact any strimmer at all, being as you are living permanently on the move and without a garden of your own!

    Thank goodness that you have made so many staunch, supportive and decent friends during your calvary. But what a shame a few people of your own nationality heaped further stress onto you.

    • hobosinfrance

      March 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Yes, indeed, Susie, we have met some folks to whom we probably wouldn’t have offered the time of day after the initial meeting, when we lived in the UK! But, they have been far outweighed by sincere people we have met who have true values and genuine depth. It takes all sorts to make the world go around, so it is said! Perhaps, in real terms, we have been extremely lucky. Pete and his wife (entirely different to her husband) were aware that I taught horticulture, in my range of teaching subjects, during my long teaching career. I guess he thought the 2+2=4 factor would weigh heavily in his favour, and against my integrity level, when his wife discovered the tools were missing. The truth of the matter is that he threw away so much stuff, it all went to the déchetèrie – we were there at the time – that he probably couldn’t remember what he had thrown! He told us that he was supposed to phone his wife (who was in the UK) before disposing of large items, but she was apparently working and he couldn’t be bothered to wait for her to get home after work! He offered us several items, ie 2 refrigerators and several sun-loungers, it didn’t seem to connect that we couldn’t carry such stuff, even if we had wanted it! But, we managed to find good homes for those items (good friends who lived about an hour away), and Pete declared himself to be delighted! Strange man! Warmest regards, Chrissie


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