I arrive back at Poitiers airport on Friday afternoon and after sitting in a boiling hot traffic jam on the peripherique - it's a bank holiday weekend in France - head straight to Frances and David's, to pick up Biff from 'summer camp.' David is sitting outside with a glass of wine, looking exhausted, while three dogs joyfully chase each other around the garden, trampling over the plants and the beautiful peony bush. (In addition to Biff and their own dog Milou, Frances and David have also looking after Molly, a former hunt dog who is eighteen months old and very energetic.)
'Looks like they've been a bit of a handful,' I say.
'Not at all,' he replies. 'In fact, we were just saying how nicely Molly and Biff play together.'
To prove it, he shows me a photo of the two of them nestled together on the sofa, Biff lying between Molly's paws. Casually, he mentions that Molly is a bit of a bolter and her owners might be having second thoughts about rescuing her. Molly might, he hints, soon be in need of a new home.
Biff does indeed look blissfully happy running round the garden with his canine pals in the late evening sunshine. He even hesitates for a moment before climbing into the car to come home with me.
And on Saturday morning, he lies in the courtyard among my wilting geraniums wearing his 'hard done by' face. I am consumed with guilt. Much as I love my house, I'm starting to think that it's time to move so that Biff has a proper garden to play in. Acquiring a second dog to keep him company isn't really an option. Is it?