My Mom is a pretty serious Francophile, who daydreams of living in Paris and calling "Ici Pierre! Et tout suite!" So each morning, we begin our day by reading about the antics of my PONs pal , in deepest France Profound. The more I read his blog, the more I think we live very similar lives. My Mom is half Scottish and one half of his people (Mongoose) are Scottish. We're both shaggy dogs of a beige hue. We live in villages. Okay, so his is in southwestern France and I'm in the southern part of Manhattan in the West Village. But hang on....
Wilf hangs out in his "rickety old farmhouse." Me and Mica hang out in our "rickety old pre-War apartment." Wilf and me share plumbing and contractor problems on a regular basis.
While Wilf begins his day with a walk around 6:30, that's approximately the same time Mica wakes Mom up to get him some fresh water from the sink. She then groggily locks him out of the bedroom ("Where do you think the word 'catapult' came from?") for a bit more sleep.
Later in the morning, we go out to admire the sunflowers. Just like Mongoose and Wilf!
Wilf likes to christen the tyres/tires in his neighborhood. I prefer to leave pee-mails on objects that are less likely to start moving.
Wilf has bountiful fields of wild flowers to sniff. Me too. These bags filled with plants and flowers are actually quite interesting - made of recycled materials and attached to vertical surfaces all over the West Village. You can "adopt" one and care for it, or leave it up to Mother Nature.
Wilf likes to take in the local scene (and occasional snacks) at his nearby farmers' market...me too!
Most of the vendors have treats on hand for dogs and Mom feels guilty not buying something when I'm begging for a cookie. So we end up with more produce than she can ever eat in a week.
Wilf has Mme. Bay and her interesting hairstyles and colors. We've found just the place for her next Manhattan makeover.
Living in France, Wilf enjoys the delicate scent of lavender wafting on the breeze. Okay, so I have to go over to the florist, but same thing. (Although I bet Wilf is allowed to water his lavender plants.)
In Wilf's village, there is much excitement about pottery. Here we have a store that only sells these little glass pots.
Wilf's village is filled with centuries-old cafes and bistros. We have the White Horse Tavern, a whopping 130 years old. (Although Wilf is welcomed at his local cafe and the tavern has about a 100 signs up declaring "NO DOGS ALLOWED.") Sidenote: the White Horse Tavern is also known as the last place Dylan Thomas drank before returning home, growing ill and dying a few days later. Really says something about the food and drink of the establishment, huh?
Wilf can find all sorts of delicious French cuisine in his village. Me too! There's Pastis, Paris Commune, La Recette, The New French, and La Ripaille...
...this new restaurant Bistro De Le Gare. Let's take a closer look at the menu and see if there are any of Wilf's favorites to be had...
Hmmm, wait a minute! Chile Rellenos! Corned Beef Hash! Tamales!!!! Apparently they consulted Mme. Bay when they were creating their authentic French menu...
Here's where we go for croissants and bagettes—just like Wilf.
(Unfortunately, no early morning absinthe drinkers in the Village, though there is the odd homeless man sleeping off in a corner in the park, bottle clutched to his chest like a child's Teddy bear and a blissed out smile on his face.)
Another fine French establishment. I particularly like walking past this restaurant and scooping up any errant french fries that have fallen off the tables or stray pieces of bacon!
We even have our own endearing characters, like Mohammed and Ali who run the magazine store. (It's called Casa des Magazines but I'm campaigning to change it to Maison des Magazines.) This is Ali. He lets me hang out behind the counter and feeds me bits of his breakfast croissants while Mom buys her 100th magazine of the week. Ali is like the mayor of the Village - he knows everyone and everything that's going on.
Wilf is cautiously friendly with the Village cat and I'm trying to befriend Tiger, the kitten who lives at the bodega on the Corner. She's little and she never hisses at me, but I get kinda shy around her. She was sound asleep on a stack of Poland Spring bottles - who says cats are afraid of water?
Still more sunflowers growing in the West Village. These are planted along Jane Street and haven't quite come into bloom yet.
And if you needed any more proof that we are living parallel lives, take a look at this building to the north of us!
So what do you think? Is the West Village just about exactly the same as a charming village in the Western part of France?
Okay - so I guess they don't have alligators in the sewers like we do. Vive la difference!