Fiona Alderman blogging from Rural France – From Strikes to Yellow Jackets
The French do like to have strikes and really they are quite effective.However this month it has touched us locally in France Profonde.
Firstly, the post office.This is a tragic one unfortunately.A woman post mistress in Sarlat killed herself after enduring months of harassment which went largely ignored by her superiors. She kept making complaints but to no avail.She must have been in such torment to hang herself, leaving behind a young son?
Apparently this is not unusual with the stresses of working life now. So many problems and worries not listened to. So because of this incident the syndicate went on strike to remove the persons concerned ie early retirement. It took nearly 3 weeks to resolve and of course we had no post in between. For us perhaps not too annoying but for a number of people waiting for eg medical results, salaries and bills to be honoured?Not easy.
The second one concerns Mr. Macron the Chef D’Etat. The rising prices of carburant escalating beyond belief and the taxes on top the people have said enough is enough.On the 17th November there were blockades everywhere. Called “Les gilets jaunes ” the yellow luminous jackets were worn by people to show their discontent. Everywhere in France came out in defiance of the Government, which is looking a bit precarious under Macron’s rule.
Decent ordinary working people are struggling to survive. People are angry and want to be heard. The last really big strikes were in the 60’s and they were powerful. Let’s hope this time it will be different but with severe casualties already from this one day? I believe they are continuing with the ” poids lourds” ie the heavy transport lorries which will block roads and create havoc until the Government listens. Rings a bell? Since first writing this, there have been strikes in Paris with riots on the streets, the use of tear gas and barricade. It hasn’t stopped yet and where is Macron?
A Scottish Twist
French slippers, called Les Charentaises are marvellous. I have always noticed them when I visit French households.By nature people kick off their work shoes on coming home and slide into these soft moulded ones that were created in the Charente region of North France in the early 19th century by a man called Theophile Rondinaud and later on by his son.
It started with a Scottish tartan look which the family business would export all over the world. The highly skilled shoemakers had the great idea to incorporate old felt tip pens to make the soles and also use unused fabric to make the upper part of the shoe. At that time in the 1940’s some of the excess material came from naval uniforms. Surely they were pioneers in the world of recycling?
However these very high quality and super comfortable shoes are in great demand from young to old. Modern updates too with fluffy boots slippers and mules. They are also called “Les silencieuses” quiet because they move without a sound on hard French parquet floors. I am still not sure why or where the Scottish element came in!
The Beaujolais has arrived
As the slogan says, the Beaujolais Nouveau had its annual day on November 15th. Here in Salignac all the shops, cafés,only 2 mind you, and the small corner shop L ‘Epicier set out the distinctive red bottles to woo us to have a taste and buy some. I went and mingled with the locals and did have a few swallows, but really found it a bit weak. There is of course such a lot of hype about it but I didn’t really know its origins.
Under French law the wine is released at 12 01. am just a few weeks after the harvest and festivals are held everywhere to celebrate. It began about a century ago and was a cheap and cheerful wine produced by the local winegrowers of Beaujolais for them to enjoy at the end of the season.The Gamay grapes are handpicked and the wine is meant to be drunk young. Not sure if that means you must be young to drink it!
It became such a success throughout the years and by the 1970’s a marketing expert named Mr. Duboeuf had the idea to have a race, carrying the first bottles to Paris.
That’s why it is called Le Beaujolais est arrivé. It has arrived.
That’s all for now from France Profonde.
Fifi’s Stories from rural France. November 2018.
Dance and film in the Dordogne www.salignacfoundation.com
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