To an outsider’s eye there is a contradiction in provincial France. The people we have met have invariably been polite, helpful and honest, but they seem to regard each other as potential criminals of the worst kind. Therefore they surround their houses with security systems such as high fences and ferocious guard dogs. These animals seem to be quite undisciplined. Their frenzied hostility as we walk past has often strained our normal love of dogs.
Sometimes these animals escape from their yard and can be extremely intimidating. We have been bailed up several times and have had to cast about quickly for something to defend ourselves with (once we dismantled the absent dog owner’s barbed-wire fence to get a stake).
Nowadays we bring out the long bag full of jangling tent pegs and poles, which resides in the outer pocket of Keith’s pack. It is usually enough to just show this to a menacing dog to make it change its mind. This is all very difficult for two dog lovers.