The Twilight Open Doors Weekend

After several hectic weeks of preparation, the weekend of the Twilight Open Days approached accompanied by an unprecedented continent-wide heatwave. Meteo France announced a canicule and many departments, including the Dordogne, were placed on Orange alert. In the days leading up to the event, the volunteers battled the rising mercury to mow, strim and weed the garden, sort books and bric-a-brac and bake mountains of luscious food. The hot weather was not going to beat us and so the gates duly opened to welcome our loyal supporters on Friday and Sunday.

Inside the house the Puddings all chilled out, with air con in the rooms, shading on the terrace and a paddling pools to plunge in if they needed a cool off. There were cuddles aplenty as visitors new and old met their favourite puds in doggy-person. In the washroom Gloria our wonderful groomer spruced up a few puds and gave one of the visiting outreach dogs a haircut. Out in the courtyard, under the shade of the marquee our guests cooled down with ice-cold drinks, a slice of cake or a delicious lunch, before heading off to browse the books, pick up a bargain on the bric-a-brac stall or treat themselves to some plants for the garden.

In the words of one of our visitors:

We had a wonderful time today. Thankyou Mike and Leanne for inviting us into your home to see the puds. They looked so contented just laying around and keeping cool with the air conditioning. We had a lovely lunch made by your volunteers. What a wonderful home you have, every one of the dogs comes with such sad stories but now they know they are safe and loved xxxx

Saturday evening was very special, with Phil the Saxman serenading guests as they sat out in the courtyard and enjoyed a glass or two of tipple, plus some fabulous tapas. There was still time for a pudding cuddle too, and as you can see from the photos, Puss the cat took the opportunity to get some undivided attention. Some of our super supporters even stayed overnight, locally or in our caravan to enjoy the action on Sunday too. Fortunately the temperature had started to drop a little by then, so we were delighted to welcome more visitors.

Twilight friends who could be with us on the day joined in via social media, with exciting fundraising events organised over on our Facebook Fundraising Group. How many dishes does Twilight use in a day? You’ll have to join the group to find out. And there was virtual cake and aperos, with generous donations to help meet the enormous electricity bill we’re expecting for the aircon.

And, finally, Leeanne says:

How lucky or unlucky were we to organise our annual Open Weekend on the hottest of the century? Personally, I would say lucky. We met old friends, we met new. Regular sponsors came to see “their” special pud. We had a 50/50 split on English and European visitors: 16 Friday and 35-ish Sunday. Saturday night we just melted along with the saxophone – it was all very special.

The measurable bits showed 1500€ income in total. The bits that you just cannot measure: maybe two more French local volunteers. Long time and deeply loved supporters of Nala met her for the first time. Never have I been so humbled in such a beautiful family’s space, who travelled all the way up from Toulouse just for a few hours. And other Associations came to share their love, from both our local SPAs, and local and distant friends.

And we thank our incredible volunteers, before, during and after in no particular order: Deb of Puivert, Jacquie, Spencer, Paul, Lesley, Ged, Gloria, Liz, Katarina, Wendy 1 and Wendy 2, Jill, Lisa, Stella, Jan, Fran, Tracey, Sophie, Franc, Jeanette, Hetty, Anne, Gwendoline, Jerome and his two friends from SPA Limoges, Aline, Deb of Terry, and my dear Mike. The energy you gave in preparation, or the smiles you gave on the day. We thank you from the very bottom of our paws. We are blessed to know and love you all.

Leeanne, daddy and puds