Fiona Alderman’s Blog: Salignac or Sillygnac?

Thérèse Gaigé, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

I am not sure who came up with the name Sillygnac, but I know probably Barry first started it.It would have appealed to him. In all the wonderful ideas of rural France, the good things as well as the completely stupid that have seemed to have become more and more true. The last month I talked about local problems here. The Fete des Voeux that was very late, and which didn’t accomplish much, to the forthcoming local elections that are now being talked about and fervent campaigning is underway. Nothing is clear.

It was reported that anonymous letters had been sent to the Mayor so that has been circulating around wondering who the culprit might be? The Post office has new weekly opening hours, which I can never remember, but at least we still have this service, for the moment .

The new bar owners are slowly establishing themselves, but it isn’t the same as before. A different clientele and a different style of meeting/serving the public. A younger crowd too. So I go up to the Cafe de la Place which is still great and meet people there in a more welcoming atmosphere.  I was surprised one day to see Lilian, the owner and father of Thibault, who runs it now, in the kitchen making the pizzas! Already they are extremely good but he said it was “revenir aux sources“ Coming back to basics. From when they used to work there. He helps out again in the kitchen and his wife Cecile helps sometimes in the restaurant. So they are still about and it is lovely. He is going on a week’s training, he told me, to make authentic Sicilian pizzas . Apparently a whole different ball game in terms of the base and fillings so I shall be delighted to try it out when he comes back. He has origins in Sicily with his parents so this is back to basics too.

Madame Tussaud

Hmvh, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Hmvh, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps a slightly gruesome subject but it is a story which is fascinating. Little Marie was born in Strasbourg in 1761 – sadly losing her father who was killed in the Seven Years War when she was just a baby. She and her mother moved to Switzerland where Marie’s mother became a housekeeper to a well known doctor who also made wax anatomical models.These were used for teaching purposes. He moved later to Paris taking them with him, where Marie grew up learning how to make wax portraits. By 1776, Marie was his full time assistant and was already proficient in both sculpture and her own wax work portraits; from Voltaire, Rousseau to Benjamin Franklin and even Napoleon. She then made death masks of people who had been guillotined, some of whom she had claimed to be friends.Those were Marie Antoinette, Jean -Paul Marat and Robespierre of the French Royal Court.When her benefactor/doctor died, he left his entire collection of waxworks to her. She married a civil engineer called Tussaud and subsequently had a still born daughter and two sons. By the early 1800’s when peace treaties in Europe allowed people to travel freely, she was invited to London to exhibit her works. With an events producer named Paul Philidor and  travelling in both the UK and Ireland, with one of her young sons, she worked very hard to establish herself. The tragedy of recurring conflicts between France and Britain though made it hard to return to France and her family. Many years would follow before she would see them again. By the age of 74, having worked and travelled tirelessly, she rented out a room in Baker Street in London, where she would have a permanent exhibition, that would eventually become the famous Madame Tussauds with the popular attraction of the Chamber of Horrors. This depicted the French Revolution and its murders. To mark the Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838 she  made a waxwork of her, showing her remarkable talents and also business sense.When she died at 88 her business was successfully taken over by her children and grandchildren. It now has replicas throughout the world which is an amazing achievement. Bravo Madame Tussaud.

 The French Challenge

the french challenge

This last month I have been doing an online French course. With Comme une Francaise and Geraldine Lepere. She is an excellent French  teacher and I have been following her weekly lessons for  quite a few years now. Based in Grenoble, she has students at all levels of experience and all over the world too. I found when I first came here, even after doing classes at the Alliance Francaise  in Glasgow, I had all the basics, but not so confident in speaking. It took time of course, and now I am at a pretty proficient level. This last month I have been doing her 30 Day Challenge, which has been great in really seeing what I do know, rather than how much I don’t know. There are videos on different regions of France, the first being Dordogne, so that was easy ! Vocabulary,  pronounciation and general day to day expressions are discussed in a very down to earth approach with her. I have learnt many things though and it has been a good focus every day to reply to posts with other members, and in French. Here are a few  expressions that have come up this week:

“Un peu soupe au lait “ literally a little milk soup. Funny, as it is used to describe someone who is quick tempered, or easily offended.

Another beauty is “ Ca m’en bouche en coin” meaning literally that stops me right into a corner. Really it means I’m so impressed , I can hardly speak.

“ Ca envoie “is  Cool !! I have tried to sprinkle these new phrases casually into conversations with some effect ! Here is her website , which I highly recommend.

Merci beaucoup. Fifi’s stories from rural France

February 2024

Fiona Alderman Blogging from Rural France – The Black Duck
Fiona Alderman : Greetings from Salignac

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France

Written by :

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.

Comments are closed.

Copyright Glasgow Westend 2009 thru 2017

Contact Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End | About Pat Byrne | Privacy Policy | Design by Jim Byrne Website Design