Monday, December 11, 2017

Busy days, noisy nights and winter weather woes

French Village Diaries winter weather woes storm Ana
Storm Ana
I was a little bleary-eyed this morning thanks to my new friend Ana. Actually, she’s not my friend at all, just the latest named storm to attack us from the west, blowing around all night, causing things to go bump, crash and the roof tiles to clatter around, which kept me awake. I was convinced daylight would reveal debris and disorder in the garden, but thankfully all was well if rather damp this morning.

It was also quite a busy weekend and the last thing I needed was a storm-damaged nights sleep, but at least I was able to take the executive decision not to drive Ed to school in the dark, when the gusts were being recorded at over 100km/h. We might not have enjoyed a lie-in, but we did have a sneaky lazy morning together.

The weather this last week has certainly been varied, from thick fog last Monday, when I spent the morning doing the Limoges airport run, to freezing fog on Wednesday, pouring rain on Friday, then blue skies and sunshine, but heavy frost on Saturday to gale force wind with more rain on Sunday and into Monday. I’m not enjoying this wild array of wintery weather one bit. Thankfully there has been a lot going on to take my mind off of the weather.

French Village Diaries Sauze Vaussais mediatheque inauguration
Cutting the tricolore
On Saturday morning, as a local councillor, I was invited to attend the opening of a local mediathéque (multi-media library). For a small, rural town a brand new library and multi-media centre, with meeting space for the town associations, is quite an achievement and while I overheard some saying the architect had used too much metalwork on the design, most of us agreed the mix of glass, local stone, wood (the town is home to a large wood yard) and metal (as the building was originally a ironmongers shop) was just right. One of the perks of being a councillor is the invites to local special ‘do’s’ like this, where I have observed the French ribbon-cutting tradition, and I love it. A line of dignitaries proudly stand behind a tricolore ribbon, which one of them cuts to officially open whatever it is we have gathered to celebrate, they then each take a small section of ribbon away with them, often tucking it in their top jacket pocket. Although I wasn’t a dignitary, our village Maire did cut me off my own piece of ribbon when I explained this was a very French thing to do.

French Village Diaries Sauze Vaussais mediatheque inauguration
The dignitaries and their speeches
The other tradition is for all the assembled dignitaries to say a few (or a lot) of words. Thankfully as we had an event in our village to attend, we only had time to listen to the eight-page speech from the town Maire and sadly had to leave before the other seven started their speeches!

French Village Diaries village elders Christmas meal
The table setting for the village Christmas meal

Our afternoon was then spent entertaining our village elders, the over 70’s who are invited to a five-course Christmas meal each year. It was great fun, good company and we all enjoyed the foire gras with fig and onion chutney, the salmon served in a scallop shell, the duck, the cheese and the black forest themed dessert. As a councillor I’m honoured to be included, and rather glad that the serving and clearing of the tables is down to us as at least it ensures lots of exercise between courses.

French Village Diaries village elders Christmas meal
The Christmas menu

I’m not sure if today’s laziness was down to a food hangover from the weekend or the lack of sleep last night, but with a busy week ahead of me, it was probably just what I needed.

This evening I attended a local Brexit information meeting set up by the British Embassy, which was informative even if all our questions don’t have answers just yet, but it's getting late now, so I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

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