Archive for July 30th, 2014

Work in Progress

July 30, 2014

It’s been incredibly difficult to get someone to help in the garden and I thought I’d solved the problem when the retired gardener in the village agreed to come and sort out our jungle.

He came a few times in May and cut the grass but, despite the fact that I thought I’d expressed my views on weedkiller and Round-up in particular quite strongly, he sprayed the stuff all around and killed off the raspberry canes and devastated what was the vegetable patch. Now I wouldn’t want to eat anything that might grow there.

veg patch

All through June there was no sign of him. If I phoned he would say “I’ll come next week” but then it would rain and so I’d assume he wouldn’t come – and he didn’t. Then it was too hot to work outside especially as he has been told to take it a bit easier due to his health.

All this time I looked around for someone else to ask and finally, the physio gave me the phone number of a retired couple who do his garden. Of course, I couldn’t just take on someone else without sorting it out with the other chap first so I phoned him again and said I had visitors coming in August and I’d like the garden to look less like a jungle. I explained that I hadn’t been able to cut the grass as I had suffered the last time I mowed the ‘lawn’. It hurt my feet to walk on the uneven ground.

He agreed to come and ‘faucher’. To me, that means literally to scythe, but I assumed he meant he’d use a kind of robust strimmer.

He turned up with a pair of shears!

“But you can’t cut the grass with those!”

“Oh, I thought you meant the ‘ronces’. I found out later that that means prickly weeds.

We looked at the garden together and he muttered something about using more roundup which led to a similar conversation concerning my views and he even ventured to agree with me. I tried to give him every opportunity to back out of doing the garden on health grounds but he insisted he had cut down his clients to just three, including me, so that put me in an awkward position.

However, I wasn’t sure how seriously he took me when i said I didn’t want him to use weedkiller again so I rang him before he came to make it clear how I felt.
I tried to be as polite and diplomatic as I could in a foreign language and at last, I think I got through.

He strimmed the grass then mowed it.


dug over an overgrown patch that use to be a flower bed:


planted some raspberry cuttings after digging over another patch:


made a start on clearing the terrace;terrace

And promised to come and clear up the rubbish on Friday. He will make a bonfire so maybe we can celebrate November 5th this year!

Priorité a droite

July 30, 2014

The priorité a droite rule is the most illogical driving regulation I have ever met.

Who but the French would find it completely normal that you can be driving along a relatively main road and a car can come whizzing out from a turning on your right and you have to give way?

According to the French HIghway Code which I have recently been trying to learn with CC you should change down to second gear when approaching a side road that has priority in case someone wants to come out in front of you. How mad is that?

In our village, this rule applies to all unmarked roads. Unfortunately our road has a thick white line where it meets the ‘main’ road so we have to stop. The next road, on the other hand, has priority so we have to slow down and look carefully to see if anything is coming.

I’m just about used to slowing down in all the appropriate places but actually driving out in front of oncoming traffic still goes against all my instincts. On Tuesday, I was driving back from the road which has priority. I stopped at the main road. A white van and several cars behind him also stopped. Suddenly the penny dropped.” Oh God, I have the right of way. BUT, as I’ve stopped, do I lose the right and suppose we both move off at the same time.. . .”

The patient white van driver waved me on and I drove out in front of him.

Will I ever have the confidence to drive out of a road without even looking to see if anything is coming like the French do?