Fiona Alderman: Glaswegian blogging from rural France, October 2014

first paraNews From Salignac

BB is 80

Yes, the iconic figure Brigitte Bardot ie BB, as they call her in France, was 80 recently. A national treasure who wowed us all in the 60’s with her glamourous lifestyle and equally fabulous love life, was seen in a rare interview on French TV. Certainly she has aged, but with skilful lighting and a sympathetic interviewer, she blossomed and one could see why she had caused such a stir. She still has a magnetism, and whilst her passion now is directed towards animals, her eyes light up when she talks about them. She has had a chequered past though, giving birth to a son but not being able to look after him and apparently had no real maternal feelings either. As she said years later she was just a child herself and still needed mothering. The son was also in the interview and stated they have had a rocky time to get to know each other, after many years of estrangement, but with the birth of a grandson BB is finally able to give the love she couldn’t do before. Her life is still as busy as when she was making films, but they seem much happier and fulfilling. She heads her own Foundation which is completely devoted to the protection of animals. A recluse, far away from the cinema she gladly gave up, but with a simplicity in her way of life now, and she certainly looked a very happy 80. Bonne Fête Brigitte!

tomato sauce 2French friends French style

I was asked to come and help prepare ratatouille in a French household on a lovely autumn afternoon. Big dilemma. At first I said, non merci, but realised my mistake. I was honoured to come into a French woman’s house especially the kitchen!!!  I have known Suzanne, the lady in question, for quite a few years now and really like her. She is always busy, rushing about here there and everywhere and she has a heart of gold. I wasn’t prepared for such an afternoon though. From collecting the vegetables from her very plentiful garden, to cutting and chopping them up for the ratatouille, she announced we were going to do a ‘farci’’” as well! Ooooo la la as they say. This is the stuffing for marrows, peppers, courgettes and tomatoes. We started this mammoth task as she was going to give me some of it to take home as well as making some for her and her husband plus various other needy people. This was for our winter stocks and continued with extracting the juice from the tomatoes which would serve as tomato sauce and residues for soup. Already my hands were sore from chopping and I asked to take some photos whilst thinking of this curious friendship scale that the French have. I would say that Suzanne is now an “amie” a good friend, the highest in the list and the most treasured. There is also “copin/e “ in the masculine and feminine, which is a pal or someone you know quite well. It can also mean a girlfriend and boyfriend. Then there is a “pote” which is a buddy or a mate, mainly for guys and a “camarade” which is more of an aquaintance. All a bit of a mine field but I feel I now have several amies here and they are precious to have. By the way I went home with a platter full of stuffed vegetables, baked in the oven with cheese on top, a dozen, at least, pots of ratatouille, some fresh veg. from the garden and several bottles of tomato sauce!!

nurse's bag lastThe French Health Service

We are very lucky with the Health service here in France. After many years now, we are in the system and can benefit from it. The only one we have found to be a bit lacking is the eye situation . Not a one operation eye test, prescription for glasses and an immediate availability in an opticians, we have two very distinct organisations. Firstly, to make an appointment with an eye specialist, and that has a waiting list of up to a year, to then go to an opticians with your prescription to have your glasses.All very time consuming. If it is something that requires surgery that is a bit of a time problem too.
The eye specialist will refer you to a hospital or private clinic and they are not all on the front door step either! We are battling with this as Barry needs a cataract operation and have already waited over a year, going to several specialists and with no great result. He has a RDV, a rendezvous, for this December, so fingers crossed.

However, we do have a marvellous district nurse system. Very hardworking. They travel all over the countryside and are on hand for the community.

We have had to use this service a lot and at the moment one of the 4 nurses in the practice comes to the house every two days. One of them, always cheery and super efficient, came in carrying what looked like a large gladstone bag. Most unusual. She explained it had been a wedding present from her future husband. It has seen the “wars” a bit but it looks great!
Well, from “Sillygnac” as someone once called it here, as there is always something funny happening, I wish you all a bonne journée from La France.
October 2014. Fifi’s story from rural France.

Fiona Alderman with Top News from Salignac
Fiona Alderman's blog. One September in Rural France

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France

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Avatar of PatByrne 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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