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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