Fiona Alderman: Rural Living in France
Computers and Local Fetes
Last month I regaled you with stories of banks and computer problems? Unfortunately they are still not resolved and seem to have become worse, if that is possible? With further hassles at the bank because the card fraud happened again and never ending difficulties getting the computer up and running. The new one crashed too, under guarantee, so we have to send it back. Then our little tablet had Wifi problems too so I had to try to sort that out by going on the Hotline then wait and wait and wait …….Not easy in French. Finally managed it after several days, then I had to try and get the main one by distance repair. The technician who was called Mr Laid, ie Mister Ugly, I am not joking. He helped me through a complicated system of button pushing to see if he could reactivate the computer. Another several days spent but no joy, we have to send it back, so I took myself out to the new local Fête in order to calm myself down.
It was lovely, and even had a Napoleon figure, a local character, who is passionate about this period of French history. His whole house is full of the memorabilia and he goes around the country with his wife promoting it. Luckily, she is just as keen!
This year the local Halle was used for pottery, glassblowing, basket weaving, wrought iron work and candle making. Such a change to see the village animated again, as it has become less and less in the last few years. The once lovely village fruit and vegetable market is decidedly poorer this year? With very few stalls, it is sad to see.
However this new one called Fete Ancienne showed us all the old fashioned ways of living and some agricultural machinery too. Including: tools, tractors and vintage cars it was a sheer delight. It was very busy with tourists and families enjoying a day out. Now I’m back home to battle once again with modern reality.
A Woman in Men’s Clothing
The Feminist movement in the late 1800’s in France brought radical changes to women in society. One of the main players was George Sand, born as Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin in 1804 in Paris. She was a lively child brought up by her paternal grandmother in a world of literature, music and the arts. Quickly developing her own strong personality and mannish look, she began writing novels with her first book ‘Indiana’ published at the age of 28. A breakthrough at that time, it dealt with women’s rights and even free love. George Sand had many affairs, including with Frederic Chopin, whilst she was married to a Baron with whom she had two children.
She was strongly opposed to the French Revolution, and fully supported the Feminist view regarding anti violence, rights for women and better conditions the poor. She wrote many novels and her writing was a key element in the fight for women’s freedom. Her autobiography was published in 1854, named Histoire de ma Vie. She continued to fight for many years for women’s liberty and the right to divorce.
She died in 1876, in her childhood home near Paris. Her surviving children sold the publishing rights of her books for millions of old francs, which would be worth a lot today?
The Funnies to Finish
I have to laugh because there is always something in the French language that defies translation. My French neighbour came rushing in today asking me to take the phone and answer a call from an English person. He had seen an advert online called Le Bon Coin selling and buying goods. What I gleaned after a few minutes, was that he wanted to see some winches. Now, that is a new word for me. Apparently it is treuil. However, more contact will be required but to sort out the famous rendezvous with my neighbour and the caller. Could take days!
I love French expressions and these are some I learnt recently:
Tomber dans les pommes – literally falling into apples. It means collapse or faint.
Ni raisin ni figue – Neither a grape or a fig! But really, neither the one nor the other.
Une bonne poire – a good pear, but meaning someone is a bit naive or too nice.
Well, I shall go and have a little fruit compote as this has made me want some fruit!
Until the next time from “Sillygnac.”
www.salignacfoundation.com Film and dance courses in SW France
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