Monday, 11 July 2016

Music and food

Duo Duende performing
It is that time of year again when the guitar music festival takes place in our village. Last weekend we started with a charming father and son duo from Albi playing Spanish and Brazilian music. The members of the audience were tapping their feet to the interesting programme they performed.

The first concert in the series is often under attended, but we were pleased to see that Chazelle church was over half full. An excellent start to the series.

Dinner awaits
Sunday we had a local favourite Bernard Bruel who sings Jacques Brel songs. He normally sings to a taped accompaniment, but especially for our festival, he accompanied a number of the songs on the guitar. He should do that more often as it was a much more pleasant effect, than just a tape in the background, an accordionist would be even better, but that wouldn’t have fitted into the guitar concept! The church was almost full and everyone really enjoyed his interpretation of the songs, a selection of old favourites and lesser known Brel songs.

Bruel sings Brel
There are three more concerts in the series, Emmanuel Rossfelder, who appears every two or three years and is one of the “Godfathers” of the festival, a group of Corsican singers who will be performing a traditional polyphonic repertoire (something I have never heard before)and we will end the festival with a French, Irish music band, who were so popular last year, we had to turn people away at the door. All three of the remaining concerts have already sold more than half of the available tickets, so it looks like it will be a good year not only musically but financially, which will enable us to carry on after the last two lean years have rather depleted our coffers.

Superb buffet
After the concerts, the volunteers get together with the artists for a buffet meal prepared by Monique and Chantal in Monique’s house, conveniently located almost nextdoor to the church. They do us proud every time and these evenings were no different.

All in all, we had two very interesting evenings, with delicious food, the only downer was France losing in the Euro cup final – but you can’t have it all can you?

Onwards and upwards to the next concerts - I can’t wait.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Nuts and Bolts and Road Signs

What are all these bits for?
All winter I have been on a committee to discuss and implement new road signage in Cormatin village – and who says life in rural France is boring?

The discussions were seemingly endless and mostly about the colour and shape and size, although we have taken a radical decision that I am sure no one concerned has fully understood. I am waiting for the flack we will receive when the new signs are installed and the old ones are removed, but I’ll keep my head down and plead ignorance on that one!

First the hammer then screw it into place
Saturday was the day that the new panels were to be put together. We turned out in force to help – umm well not quite in force, apart from us, there were Pierre the potter, Patrick the painter and Silvyane the sculptress. The ones without alliterating names and jobs didn’t turn up.

Cees and I are a whizz at Ikea kitchens and this should have been a doddle, but as non-fluent French speakers, we bowed to the superiority of our co-workers and even though I did my best to run around and pick up the multitude of fallen nuts and bolts, we still ended up with quite a few getting lost – to be blamed on the supplier of course.

In any case it was a good lesson in French, I have learned some new words even though the assembled troupe couldn’t decide whether the word for screw was masculine or feminine - une vis versus un vice. My word for the day is un écrou (a nut) not only because it took me the whole afternoon to remember it, but it sounds rather nice as well, although rather surprisingly it doesn’t go on a bolt (un boulon) it goes on a screw (une vis) – umm I not sure my teachers have been so accurate in their language usage here.
Just don't let it fall over
I have learned a bunch of swearwords which I won’t elaborate on, but they help when you are trying to hammer a self-tapping screw into a steel frame - lets not go there. My inability to pronounce the words “above” and “below” clearly enough to be differentiated from each other (they sound exactly the same to the uninitiated - read anyone who isn’t French and then not all of them either) caused endless hilarity, but we got there in the end.

Finally after 3 hours of work, four panels have been constructed ready to be “planted” on Tuesday and a fifth was mounted on the campsite wall. Fortunately we do not have permission to put up all seven panels as yet, so we have a chance to buy some more nuts and bolts to make up for the lost ones.

If I survive the fallout when certain people find out they no longer have their own personal sign, I’ll let you know how we get on with the installation!

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