It's the time of year when owners of huge, fluffy white dogs march through the streets of American cities, demanding better fluff-removers.
Last weekend it was the Silver Spring Thanksgiving parade, and Belle joined a small but handsome group of her breedmates for a Great Pyrenean rumble. My smallest girls were very proud to be part of the parade, and took turns holding the banner of the excellent local rescue group.
Soon we'll be in Middleburg, Virginia, whose Christmas parade is the Mt Everest of mountain dog marching. The last time we went, there were something like 60 dogs. That's an awful lot of white fluff.
But while we wait for Middleburg, here are a couple of snaps from Silver Spring. Better get your fluff-removers ready.
So Halloween's over for another year, much to the dismay of the bloodthirsty womenfolk who constitute my family. We had a particularly gruesome display from our two smallest daughters, and all I can say is: whatever the hell happened to Disney princesses ?
Here's A as Edwina Scissorhands:
And here's Z as the wolf girl with her Viking friend (and their dog):
I have a sister-in-law, Jehanne, who appears on these pages very rarely, mainly because she lives in France and we only ever see her when we fly across the Atlantic. When I first met her, she ran a riding school and all four of my daughters at one time or another fell in love with her fleet of ponies.
Now she's an incorrigible multitasker in the most daunting Deroche family tradition, holding down about six different jobs, one of which, it recently turned out, involved performing as Calamity Jane in a wild west show held in the Alps (What ? You didn't know they had cowgirls in the Alps ?).
Did I mention that she's also raised two fabulous teenagers - the same two who spent the summer with us in America this year ? You probably wouldn't guess that she's the mother of a 19-year-old boy who's about three feet taller than she is.
It's fun having such a cute sister-in-law, and whereas I wouldn't swap Sylvie for the world, I wouldn't mind if Syl bought a frilly leather waistcoat and a hat like Jehanne's......
Somewhere back in that 2013 summer of constant surprises I posted a couple of shots from our family lunch in France. We went to Sylvie's brother and sister-in-law, Nicolas and Catherine, to see the lovely house they created from a hillside ruin and to check up on their four children, the oldest of whom, Hugo, visited us in Washington earlier in the year.
Since then so much has been going on that I never got around to editing the rest of the photographs. So here, for members of my French family, are some reminders of that excellent lunch....
Her birthday weekend is finally over, and she has a whole year to wait until the next one. It was party, party, party all weekend, which of course meant pink, pink, pink. With leopardskin trimmings, naturally....
I celebrated my 60th birthday a week early in Paris. Sylvie had the bright idea of taking us on a five-star tourist jaunt through the heart of our former hometown, and a huge success it was too. We boarded our floating restaurant beneath the Eiffel Tower, and drifted comfortably up and down the Seine while waiters plied us with food and drink (and more drink). It turned out to be a glorious evening, and the view from my seat was perfect, even when Anouk insisted on taking pictures of her own....