Monday, March 29, 2010

Babies, books and storms

This weekend was pleasant with both Dom and Olivier at home. Olivier was helping a friend’s sister and her family move so we didn’t see much of him really. Dom arrived with a copy of ‘The catcher In The Rye’! I haven’t read that since I was 17/18. it’s funny, but when I read the first page while was waiting for the kettle to boil I remembered the words so well.

On Sunday afternoon Dom went to visit a friend who has had a baby. It’s a very funny feeling seeing your daughter cooing and aahing over her friend’s baby. She did take some photos so I could say aah too. Dom also told me that one of our ex neighbour’s daughters is expecting – I remember seeing her on her first day out of hospital when she was born. How did that happen? Time goes much too quickly.

Dom isn’t planning anything in that direction at the moment. Normally she’s going to Chicago in the summer, August I think, she’s decided to go whether or not she’s presenting her paper. Her summer job is in Poitiers so we won’t be seeing much of her this year.

Olivier is coming home on Thursday for two weeks and then he’s almost finished. I think that he said that his final exam is on May 10th. He’ll be home as he’s working in the towers with Rob during the summer.

Today was a beautiful day. Warm and sunny. Tomorrow is a high tide and strong winds are forecast again. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that the small amount of work done after Xynthia isn’t undone again by tomorrow evening.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An interesting exchange

A week or so ago I was walking back from the post office when I saw that an elderly man walking a few meters in front of me needed to stop and rest. He sat on a low wall and looked very out of breath, so I stopped and asked him If he needed help. He assured me that he would be fine after a brief rest and that he’d had two operations on his heart which wasn’t working too well. I decided to leave him as I didn’t want to agitate him by making a fuss.

This morning I saw him again, this time sitting on a bench in the park to rest on the way home. He was very pleased to see me and we walked slowly together for a while. He explained that he would be having new tests and that they would change his medication as his heart was beating very slowly. He joked about visiting Lourdes. In fact he had visited Lourdes when he was a young man - not that he needed help then. He remembered having a great time. He also told me about visiting London – he saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, which he enjoyed. Our village is full of newcomers, but he is a real villager and remembers the war, when he worked at La Pallice (Wow! Some of Indiana Jones II was shot there ) and then after the war was over he joined the army and made a career of that. I think that during our conversation he forgot about his health for a moment. I really enjoyed our little talk. Next time I see him I’ve got some questions about the history of the village.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring, a time to be cheerful

Unfortunately I don’t have much news as such. Today is dull and wet, a contrast to the sunny days we had during the week. At least it’s not freezing cold.

Something I haven’t done for a long time a few years, is dip into my diaries to see what I was doing on this day in the past….

20th March 1999
1999 was the last year that I managed ‘a page a day’. The 20th was a Saturday too. Christian had been on a school skiing trip and we collected him at 7.30 in the morning. I was really pleased to see him as I’d had a phone call on the first day that he arrived asking us to come and fetch him as it was awful. The following day he telephoned to say that everything was wonderful and that they were going to have a karaoke evening. Somewhere amongst my papers I have a letter from Dominique, written when she was around 12. She went on a school trip to Carcassonne and wrote to tell me how much she hated it and that no one liked her and she didn’t like anyone either. ...

Christian left home to live in the UK when he was 16 and Dom left for Poitiers when she was 17. They are both happily settled, so their first times away from home couldn’t have been too bad.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It’s difficult

Last weekend when I took Olivier back for his lift to Poitiers, we took the road which was furthest away from the sea. It didn’t seem right somehow to ogle the misfortune of the people that live in that village. Even on the road we took we could see that the sea had entered into the fields, there was still a lot of water. We could smell the sea too.

This morning I went to collect Olivier and decided to take the road nearest to the coast. Everywhere is brown, the sea and salt burn the plants. We can see where the sea came to in our village too, just by the browned grass and winter wheat. The ‘sea’ smell was very strong and the side of the road was just about there. Some of the tameris trees have fallen as the ground around their roots was washed away. The worst part were the houses that had been flooded, some of them empty ,now. Outside piles of ruined bits and pieces of furniture, wood and other belongings and everywhere the trace of brown silt, now dry, but covering everything at ground level. Olivier said that even as they arrived in the village this morning they could sense that something had happened. He was right.

I parked outside the school which is our arranged pick up point. I used to teach there when I was an assistant. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for the teachers having lost some of their pupils.

Olivier is taking the train to go back on Sunday. I’m pleased I don’t have to go there again for a little while

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Calm after the storm

The water has all gone on our little bit of coast. The marshes have been drained so the water level is lower than it was before the storm. There are still mountains of stones from the beach that need pushing off the road and back into the beach. Several people drowned in the village where I take Olivier back for his lift to Poitiers. When I went for my leg treatment last week my doctor told me that her husband operated on a man from that village just before the storm and on Sunday they had to tell him that three of his family were gone.

A man was arrested because he’d gone to the mayor of the same village claiming to be in charge of the cleaning up procedures. The mayor was suspicious and made inquiries. It turns out the ‘official’ has already been in prison for organising the building of two kilometres of motorway a few years ago. (the modern version of delusions of grandeur perhaps?). He’s on his way back under lock and key.

The wind has turned around and is now coming from the North-East (Siberia). It has been very cold for over a week and looks like we’ll have to wait for another week to get back into spring mode. It’s lighter in the evenings, so when Rob gets home we go out for a walk, it’s lovely, but so cold.

I have daffodils! About twenty years ago I planted some bulbs and for several years now I’ve seen the leaves but no flowers. I think that some animal or bird must have moved them around or something because they are quite separated out and I have four flowers.