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April Blog from France – Fiona Alderman

An April Fool in France

All over France, on the 1st of April, school children are cutting out paper fish shapes to signify April Fool’s day . It is not clear why the fish? They are then hung on teachers' or other children’s backs in secret. Jokes are played all day long and even bakers make little cakes in a fish form which are deliciously wicked.I saw this photo outside our local school which made me smile. A giant pencil saying prudence enfants.ie take care on the roads children are crossing..

In the news there are often stories that are highly believable but are actually fake. In our local supermarket there was a notice to say that there would be a fish stall every Saturday but in reality there wasn’t. Over the intercom someone told us there would be special hours of opening at the supermarket but again this was false .

The weather has been lovely too despite a false report on the weather that it would be raining , but that is not always an April fool!!

l'atelier gourmandNew kids on the block

There have been a few new structures suddenly appearing in Salignac . As always, from one day to the next, something happens. Firstly a little maroon van opened up its doors to reveal ”un atelier gourmand". In French a gourmand is someone who enjoys their food and is rather a compliment. On looking up a dictionary the English translation is greedy! Yes,it is an American diner with hamburgers, chips, salad in a bun with various dressings.A luxury hamburger stall. I went one day to try it.For 10 euros I ate a very nice meal and enjoyed sitting on the Square in the sunshine. I think they call them food trucks and they seem to thrive in rural areas especially.

The other major structure is a covered market hall which has cost a cool 45,000 euros. This is for the season when the market is in place starting next month through to September. The council obviously thinks it is worth it as they have invested so much but we will see.Next month’s report!

Talking about the castle

Our neighbours at the chateau de Salignac are renovating their roof amongst other things. Restoring it with the “lauze” stone that is intricate and highly skilled is taking them a long time. Also a lot of money . We know it has been taken over by private owners in Switzerland and has a Russian funding connection. Again, the Batiments de France will have contributed as it is a historic building dating back to the 11th century and the 100 years War.  I have been speaking to the manager of it or chatelain in French.and as they don’t stay here all the time they contract out the work to local business.They seem to have a very haphazard way of working,.doing a lot one day and then stopping for a few days. He says it will take at least 20 years for it all to be done and I am not surprised! I have been on a visit there one time but only in certain parts as the rest is falling down so it will be good if it can be saved and put back to its former glory.

The synchronized cats

Our little cats are growing up and are certainly enjoying the lovely Spring weather. We watch them a lot as they are so curious and so funny. Sometimes they sit like meerkats watching the birds that are flying too high for them and they seem to swivel their heads in unison.Their mummy  called Mo , is a bit fed up with them now I think and often growls at them to stay away.
As the famous writer Baudelaire said about cats “ les grands sphinx allongés au fond des solitudes qui semblent s’endormir dans un rève sans fin” meaning they are like giant sphinx ‘s lying stretched out in their own world, seeming to sleep in a never ending dream.

Well I wish you all a very happy April from la belle France.
Fifi’s story from la France profonde. avril 2015.

www.salignacfoundation.com Film and dance courses in the Dordogne.

Fiona Alderman: May in Rural France
Fiona Alderman: More of Fifi's story from Rural France
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Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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