We returned to La Creuse in June, for five solid days of house hunting. I had booked us into a bed and breakfast in a tiny village called Chavanat, not far from Aubusson. We had decided to centre our search in this area, although we also had four or five properties to see in the north of La Creuse.

We arrived at Le Bon Weekend on Monday evening. As we pulled into the gravelled car park opposite the bar restaurant my wife opened the door and was immediately greeted with the muzzle of a dog, which thrust itself into her hand.

Now, as cat people, we are not generally fans of the dog.

Dogs often smell like they have eaten something rather unpleasant (which invariably they have), and whatever it was it has seeped into the very hairs of their coats. Once you have transferred this viscid substance onto your hand, by (for example) stroking the beast, it seems to have some magical properties: even though you know it is going to smell as pungent as a fetid badger's hole, you are somehow compelled to take a deep sniff.


We looked over to the smiling couple who stood in the open doorway. The dog bounded back over to them and we lifted our bags out of the car.

As I walked over to be welcomed by our hosts, I could see, out of the corner of my eye, my wife lifting her hand to her nose.

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