So as we congratulate William and Kate on their new chapter with baby George, Lee and I begin our adventure in France with a new arrival of our own… of the canine variety! Meet Hank the miniature schnauzer (or Schnauzer Nain in French). He’s been with us for a few weeks now and has been keeping me occupied as I bid “Au Revoir” to ITV News for a few months and “Bonjour” to life with my rugby-playing husband in Clermont Auvergne, France.
The cute little fella has been settling in well. He’s been chewing everything in sight, except his own toys! We are now fully immersed in pup-sitting and pooper-scooping and, before you ask, yes he is named after Hank in Californication. Leeâ€™s a big fan, I chose the breed so he chose the name. I trust his namesake is a good role model because Iâ€™ve never watched the show?!
We were lucky enough to find Hank at a breeder in the heart of the French countryside here. Itâ€™s amazing the places you can discover just by putting it out there on Twitter! When we collected him, the lovely family kindly invited us to stay for a BBQ. I was a little apprehensive about a dining experience entirely in French, but with the help of Google Translate and some memory of conversation lessons Iâ€™d been taking, we all muddled through: “Bon Appetit!”
And fortunately, when the chat dried up, the language of sport doesn’t need translation – cue fierce competition of table football.
Over dinner they told us that Hank already had his own personality, ‘greedâ€™ being the predominant trait! First in and last out at feeding time, good job Iâ€™m already used to a man constantly raiding the fridge then! My only hope is that a Hank is easier to housetrain than a husband…. Iâ€™ve made a good start teaching him to hang washing and change the remote to the news!
Speaking of la maison, prepping chez nous to be pet-friendly was a challenge all of its own – the language barrier getting the better of us. The French word for puppy is chiot – pronounced â€˜she-ohâ€™. Not, as we mistakenly said to the pet shop assistant, â€˜she-ott’. The latter translates as a curse word for a toilet! Iâ€™ll leave it to your imagination, but it was little wonder she looked dazed and confused!
I’m glad to say it hasn’t all been dog duties (though it feels like it!). Before Hank took over our lives and Lee had to start pre-season training, we did squeeze in a pre-pup romantic getaway. We drove from France to Lake Como in Italy (where George Clooney hangs out!) and it didn’t disappoint. We stayed in a stunning hotel in Tremezzo with a floating pool and lush gardens.
Finally, before I go, I’ll let you into a little secret… Anglo-French confusion also caught us out when we chose Hank’s name. He is, in fact, actually called Iggy. Confused? Well in France, unbeknown to us, the rule is that you register any pedigree dog born in the year 2013 with a name starting with the letter â€˜Iâ€™. Next year itâ€˜ll be â€˜Jâ€™ and so on and so forth. But our heart was already set on Hank so, whilst officially his first name is Iggy, heâ€™ll be called by his middle name!
Until next time, must sign off now to rescue my flip-flop from the jaws of our furry friend …. Oh the glamour!