My sister and her husband recently moved over to France down near Cognac. Famous for its, well, Cognac. I’m yet to visit and intend to as soon as circumstances allow to see just what a fantastic job they’ve done renovating an old farm house into a livable home.
Its been some 6 years of hard work, travelling backwards and forwards trying to do mass amounts of work in short bursting spells. Until finally they decided to give it a go permanently and get the house completed and settle over there.
I know its been a massive decision to finally attempt this opportunity, with reservations and stress over leaving their everyday routine lives over here and re-establishing a life in another country. Communicating will always be an issue until they get to grips with the language, but with plenty of LOUD conversations with locals, (shouting always makes it clearer).
I know for a fact this does work as my grandfather demonstrated to me as a boy.
We had a French exchange student staying and my Grandfather called during her visit. What followed was a perfect demonstration in communication.
“CHURCH OF ENGLAND? (she was French mind) OR CATHOLIC??” This was important to my grandfather for some reason and was the first thing he actually asked her.
She in the meantime was sat looking bewildered shrugging her shoulders palms up.
It just got louder.
The thing was I actually started trying to help.
“HE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOUR CHURCH OF ENGL…(wtf?)”
I caught myself as I was shouting it louder than he was and sent him out.
But, with plenty of avecs and toute sweets we got by.
Now Wayne worked in the building trade like myself, which with the best will in the world is just an apprenticeship in Tourettes. Absolutely fluent in Fuckanese. English is probably a second language. So I can understand how hard it must be to go somewhere where you have to get past your pigeon French and begin living an established life and be able to communicate. Something they’re managing well, and gradually learning the language.
So I have no doubt that as this coming year passes their French will improve to the point of all the locals learning better English. Just to save time.
But seriously I know its been an upheaval and I know there will be some things that will be missed. But on the whole I think its a good thing and a great opportunity to lead a more relaxed self sufficient life.
As the house has come along, and I mean it really has come along magnificently, I think their slowly but surely creating a space for them selves in the local community. The great thing on the whole, is that the local community are making a space for them. You see they aren’t just there to visit, or holiday. They’re there to live and I think that this is respected due to the fact that they’ve taken on board a derelict farm house and re-established back into the working village life.
Kerry come’s back to the UK and stays at my home for a week once a month. She work hands on in her old job then spends part of her time back at home in France doing the same job via the PC.
During the rest of the time over in France, Kerry and Wanye have become part of the local working environment and have taken skills over there that only add to local life.
Wayne can work on the construction side of life or, repair and fix vehicles. Always on the go, busy not happy stood still and always something to do. Just always ready to work hard and overcome a problem and make something work. Plenty of strings to his bow.
Kez has always been very get-up-and-go, very hands-on, multi talented and loves creating. She used to hand make broaches and head-dresses for functions and wedding. Just stuff out of nothing . Bits of cotton, gauze, beads, you name it. She just enjoys being busy and doing. Creating. I think they compliment each other so much, both prepared to work so hard for the other.
Kerry and Wayne have taken to working part time on the local Ostrich farm which has been a source of entertainment. The birds are powerful, extremely large and very nervous. Part of the work involves treating the birds, checking them out, tagging, just plain dealing with them.
There’s two ways of getting to grips with them and these are
A. Kerrys way.
B. Waynes way.
Normally, to get hold of one, they are herded together until someone can actually get “hands on”.
Once they’re close enough you have to get a grip on their neck to restrain them, drop a blanket on their noggin and someone else will lean on their backs to help control and guide them until whatever needed to be done is.
It can be a wrestling match.
Wanyes route to success is unintentional throttling until the bird blacks out. With hands a gorilla would be proud of I suppose controlling how hard you grip the birds neck is hard to judge.
And the first time old “banana fingers” got to grips with one, the poor bastard just collapsed and blacked out till someone explained he was choking it. And air is a requirement.
Kerry’s way, ah. Finesse. Gently, gently gain the birds confidence. Stroke the neck on a regular basis. Whenever your passing in fact . This way it gets to the point, the birds approach you.
Then its just a simple thing of getting (a gentle) hold until it becomes a secure grip, bag on the noggin, guide where you want, Do what needs doing, release….etc, etc, ect – Francois’ your uncle.
Wayne will be stood watching in awe at this point with his lasso drooping and Stetson tipped back…Its not all Berets and Garlic cloves over there.
But seriously, he doesn’t wear a Stetson.
Unless its sunny and he’s picking the vines.. but that’s for later.