Monday, May 30, 2011


Roses growing wild in the 'Sleeping Beauty' Garden
SORRY - this is a bit late.

Firstly, more about Ben, our Workawayer. who is a Canadian from Vancouver - my favourite city. He comes from a family of six and is a graduate in Maths and Earth Sciences. He is an extremely agreeable young man, easy to cater for and, as we have discovered, his French is far superiour to ours - well to Jim's anyway - mine doesn't count for much. He has been helping Jim around the domaine with tree removal, stone ferrying and gardening in general. He has also made a start on re-varnishing the exterior woodwork. He also cooked us a delicious meal one evening and does his share of the washing up. All a great help as well as providing us with some company. Apart from the work we have also made an effort to show him the charms of the Auvergne and the friendliness of our neighbours.

The details of the organisation that introduces hosts to Workawayers can be found on
Ben playing with Rufus
As previously mentioned we took him on Sunday last to a vide-grenier where he purchased a few items and on Thursday he experienced Maurs market day and lunch at La Bascule - a five course artisan's menu du jour for €12 including wine. The day's special was Lange du boeuf - very tasty.

However the highlight of the week was Saturday evening. 
We had earlier agreed to attend  a Fete des Voisins held in our local church and afterwards in the Marie. The first part was La Disparition de Li Sheng le poet - a performance by recitation by Odile Gesse, an elegant and beautifully dressed lady of senior years, of some story about the adventures of this poet. It involved, so far as I could make out, something about tigers, falling asleep on the banks of a river, dreaming and a good deal of hard work on the part of the poet, who, it seemed, triumphed in the end. 
The recitation was interspersed by some rather dreary music performed by Clothilde on the violin and Caroline on the double bass. 

Any lack of appreciation on my part was down to my inadequate French. Ben filled us in afterwards on the details we had missed, On the whole, it was quite entertaining, particularly when a fly settled on the actress's arm and walked up and down. At this stage she may not have known what it was but she did nothing to reveal that she was aware of it until it moved to the end of her nose. Only then did she enlarge the dramatic gestures being given during her performance to effect a fly-brushing movement which  sent the fly elsewhere.

I suspect that the twenty or so villagers who were also present, including our friends, the Dalmons, where also nonplussed about the drama presented which was organised by the present mayor..

As we had arrived at the church in plenty of time and nothing seemed likely to happen for a while Ben took the opportunity to walk around the village to take some photographs. He was almost immediately waylaid by a villager, who asked him if he wanted to view his room of passions! (translation from the French). I don't think Ben was able to refuse and was taken into a nearby house and shown a room full of interesting bric-a-brac and collectables including this old motorbike:

I think Ben was given a further invitation to visit one evening and have a chat. The villager seemed to be a 'character' and one we hadn't met ourselves before.
Waiting outside the Marie for supper to be laid
Anyway, afterwards we all went down to the Marie and had a buffet supper and (several) glasses of kir. This is where Ben's knowledge of French became apparent. He conversed easily with the villagers and Marie-Therese and Brigitte who sat opposite him at the table asked him many questions. He was later offered strong liquor, an aniseed based drink which he tried and pronounced delicious.
I think we were all agreed that it was a very good evening and much consolidating of our relationships took place and perhaps some improvement to our French also.

Martine preparing the salads

Inside the Marie having supper

So what of my project mentioned last week?

Here is the next step:

The basket covered with polyester batting
I have covered all six baskets in the same way using scraps left over from my quilt making as the joins won't show when the items are finished.

I have also started a new quilt. Here are the pieces washed and drying on the line. The fabric has to be washed to pre-shink it and then, of course it has to be ironed, then cut into strips.

Strips cut and laid out in sequence of  light to dark

Tomorrow (Sunday) we plan to take Ben up into the mountains to see the  volcanoes. The weather has been fine all the week and should be good tomorrow although bad weather is forecast for next week. Can we believe it?

Coquette and Tanya in the River Field

1 comment:

  1. Ah I should have liked to have attended the supper though whether I should have understood the poems....I doubt. Ben sounds a trooper. And he can cook! Wonderful!