June/July - my personal account of 2009
(Seasons- filmed over 12 months)
2 months which hail the arrival of a strange species in the area - Tourists, holidaymakers, out for a good time but who often don't have it! Too complicated, too much time with wives and children, unusually close contact 24 hours a day - 7 days a week! Just like the other period of the year, in December, when the same circumstances apply, and murders, suicides and violence are at their peak in family life!
They started for me with a suggestion to the "workers" in the family chateau that an earlier start may advance the work quicker, and wouldn't disturb me - would be easier for them, since it's cooler earlier, and we could all, maybe, have some calm for the holidays!
This suggestion fell on deaf ears, because it meant getting up earlier, not something they like doing!
I tried to get on with life as normally as possible, and tried to get my PC work done earlier, because the cement mixer they used had a habit of blowing up the fuses, leaving me looking at a somewhat blank screen - all my work erased - lost - parted in the ether!
And my PC's didn't like that either!
They complained in their own way...! The problem sorted out, a new one presented itself! A steady and constantly persistant "chip - chip " - for hours on end! It was the specialist "cousin" for masonry, chipping off all the superfluous "crepi" plaster, and there was a lot of it. Don't know about others, but these little noises are amongst the worst - they just don't stop, and you end up beleiving they never will stop!
Since I was imprisonned at home - every excursion for shopping and so on meant an obstacle course, worthy of the Armed Forces - I had nowhere to go to get away from "chip-chip"! Out came the sponge ear plugs, bought to avoid hearing the loud snores of someone who had shared my bed for a while they now served as "noise walls"!
I started, as usual, later in the month, when I was able to get out and about again, to change slightly the monthly programme - to fit in with the Tourist's time table. They never seemed to appreciate it, but there were changes to be made.
More cooking, so more shopping, no siestas - tourists don't do that when they're invited somewhere!
Much more rosé wine - as light in colour as possible, and served as cold as possible. This is the tourists paradise! They think that the more the wine looks like water, the weaker it is! I's actually the reverse normally, so the litres and litres they get down their throats gives interesting results!
Hell - they're adults!
- and on holiday.........!
This Scotsman - being the "local" and expert in "local" things, provided the main course of "Gardienne de Taureau de Camargues et son Riz sauvage de Camargue" (look it up and try it - it's good!) and the "non-local" - "non-experts" provided some lovely little things to serve before and after it!
As usual - not my prefered pass-times, but - it's TRADITION, folks!
Start of June was also voting time! As a European Community Citizen, I'm allowed to vote in certain elections in France, notably Local, Regional and European elections.
I do register to vote, on the basis that a lot of French don't, but spend their life complaining! If I vote I can complain, if I don't vote - shut up! Seems a reasonable maxime, not very polite maybe, but reasonable, which applie, I think everywhere!
During long periods of my life I wasn't able to vote, Army life is different, and in the early European days, the law didn't allow me - as it now does.
Tourists came and tourists went, always in constantly changing colours - Skin white, skin scarlet, skin red, skin slightly browned, skin slightly burnt, skin crispy, skin "negroid" all depending on the race and origin! Amazing procedure to watch as an outsider looking in!
I was informed, with a triumphic hint in the voice, that "all was finished" in the outside areas!
All I can see are thousands of plaster and paint splashes where they shouldn't be - on the stairs instead of on thewalls, and vice versa!
Never mind - no more "chip-chip" MAYBE!
All the cables, phone, internet, TV, electric etc., have been "sort of" replaced on the walls, and promptly fell down again, taking a considerable amount of fresh crepi plaster with it!
These are the risks you take if "remote family" is employed! Cheaper - yes, better.....well?
The owner's son and wife came to "inspect", and talked vaguely of "rent increases"! They stopped when they saw my stern look, and maybe thought of what they would have to put in order to "conform" to all the rules and regulations! Even then there is a "barometer" (that's what it's called) of rents in any given area, and a list (long as both arms and a leg) of things that have to be present, like double glazing, doors that fit and close, water heaters that don't just heat thechalk deposit on the inside etc...,etc...!
Of course, mundane tasks like cleaning the banister rails or stairway had not been done. These were tasks too minor in importance to be done by the family specialists, so - guess who did them....?
I only did so because I was fed up with cleaning my appartment a dozen times a day. Every time I went up or down, I obviously brought dust and "gunge" in, and had to clean up again! Besides - the cat was complaining, bitterly, about the lack of clean air and cleanliness - penible little animals sometimes!
To cheer me up, I was informed that the German authorities had increased my pensions, by the princely sum (overall) of 3.56euros. After increase to the Health Insurance charges, I actually got monthly increases of around 1.80euros.
I think I'll go out and celebrate!
In mid July, my brother-in-law came to spend a few days, change routine and accompany his grand daughter to a singing contest in the area.
I have had little contact over the many years, they live in USA, me in Europe, and I've probably had more contact with them since the death of my wife in 1993 and then of his wife earlier this year, than in the 30 odd years before that.
Circumstances change, and so do people.
In any case, he was very welcome, and we spent a few days looking around the area, eating and drinking too much, and other things that "holiday makers" do!
Shame our only day at the coast wasn't a nice day weather wise. It's often like that, here at Vauvert you leave in beautiful sunshine and arrive at the coast (20 miles away) under clouds!
But then - we had an enjoyable day out at some friends (who normally live in Upper Savoy, so they're used to weather changes...) and a nice meal at their holiday home, with some charming female company....!
Then the beach! The "local expert" kept his clothes on....!
And the weather had become "Vauvert" style.....!
Visits to some of those "elderly" places that all Americans seem to adore (St Gilles, cathedrals and stuff) interspersed with the local market and "round & about" filled in the 5 or 6 days quickly, at least for me, and I enjoyed it! And we even ate some "grenouilles"....and enjoyed them - at least I did!
I was quite relaxed, due probably to the fact that this season was a relatively quiet one, for a couple of years some Tourists prefer to go elsewhere - or not at all - on holiday. Since I haven't been "mobile", I see people less, a situation which suits me down to the perfect measure, because - as I've already said:
Tourists are a strange breed!
The period rounded itself off with my preparations for the quarterly visits to various doctors and vampires, and my next Tourist expectation wasn't until around September time.....!
Until then, the Village fête rolled off - in the usual façon:
Certainly different from "Morris Dancers"!
You can see more here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/home - (Thousands of photos) - or here:
http://vauvertvillage.blogspot.com/ - (All things French....!)
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iwmpop (mrlemarquis) - 30600 Vauvert, France - Dec 2009