Yes. You learn something every day. I am in a constant state of learning things, little things like: if you pour milk into a cup with a spoon in it and the milk hits the spoon, it will curve into a concave shape and come out again and soak what ever you happen to be wearing. Best to move the spoon out, or at least away from the jet of milk. I think I have learned that one now: took a few reminders though.
One thing we learned today, is not to become complacent.
Ed had just popped round for lunch and to kindly start making a dog bed for the new dog.
"I think she must be getting used to us," said Mark, leaning on the doorpost of the lounge and looking fondly at the innocent, placid dog on its furry blanket: "I opened the door and she just stayed there."
Lunch was on the table, Ed went out to get a chair from the terrace and there was a honey-coloured blur as the dog headed for the outside world.
The gate was open and she was off up the road displaying the reason why the breed is used for hare hunting.
Mark got the car out and we revved up the road, praying Mr Malras wouldn't be trundling along at four km an hour after visiting his 'potager', or worse, the prat who drives the Ferrari in a cloud of dust as if our little road is Brands Hatch.
The dog is incredible. It can do a stretch of about a 3/4 mile in about two minutes, a steep hill too.
We drove Starsky and Hutch style, me shouting 'Gala' from the window, as if there was about to be some exciting flower festival happening in the afternoon.
She doesn't know her name yet, that's obvious, either that, or she doesn't like it. She ran and ran, then turned sharp right; Mark skidded on the newly- laid gravel and turned hard into René's drive.
The dog reached a low wall and jumped. A splash of water rose into the grey sky, rather like David Hockney's 'A bigger splash (without the Californian Blue sky) I remember thinking distractedly as I ran to see what was behind the wall — René's new pool obviously, now with a large floundering dog in it. Gala had nearly climbed out: an extraordinary feat of strength and determination to flee from what? A comfy bed, food, love. Of course we can't understand why she feels the need to run, and God knows what she has witnessed, and what she might imagine could be about to happen. It's only been two days; there is bonding to be done . . .
René came out smiling, happy that the dog was OK; no mention of pool filters, dog hair, gravel etc: his wife relieved that she could resume the lunch. We returned, wrapped the dog in it's blanket and ate lunch in silence for a while, contemplating how far she might have got and whether we would ever have found her.