We're Street Legal At Last!
The trusty ol' Toyota Avensis is now worthy of the fine French highway system according to the guys at St. Amand's Controle Technique inspection station. Wen we took her into them on May 22nd she was in bad shape, no spare tire and the entire set of lights on the driver's side had been destroyed by a mere Bambi on the road between Lignieres and St. Amand Montrond. Pain in the arse we had to get started with making her legit again...thus we got her inspected knowing full well she would fail. That though was key to getting her fixed properly and thoroughly as the repair shop (Mr. Gue's Garage in town) now had an official piece of paper that outlined her several problems in detail. We even found a new lamp that suddenly appeared on the dash that lights when the lights are ON to signal the driver that all the lamps are functional! We've never seen that light before in all her years with us. So we entered the office and I placed the old documentation from the last visit on the counter. What ensued was pure confusion and dread as the shop owner tried to convey to moi what was to occur, this of course in pure, unadulterated by French words I might recognize. I understood little, if any, of his Berrichon dialect...quite common here in the Berry (ahem...a wiki: "
Berrichon is a French dialect spoken in the French province of Berry. The word is also used as a demonym and as an adjective meaning "pertaining to Berry".
The dialect evolved out of the langues d'oïl which evolved during the Middle Ages out of the Vulgar Latin spoken in northern Gaul. Its general use in the Berry region began to decline in the sixteenth century as the local aristocracy and bourgeoisie began to adopt standard French, leaving Berrichon as a "patois" used by the peasantry in the countryside. Subsequent developments, such as the French Revolution, which created a sense of nationalism, and the establishment of free, mandatory, primary education under the Minister of Public Instruction, Jules Ferry, which greatly expanded the teaching of French, further undermined the position of Berrichon.
It is, therefore, no longer possible to say that a Berrichon "patois" exists, but rather that a regional version of French does. Traces of Berrichon and its regional varieties remain today. Most Berrichons still remain very fond of regional words and expressions and use them often. For example, instead of the word pie (magpie), one often hears edjasse in the north and ajasse in the south of region.",
so at an impasse and having tried several lines of enquiry I gave up and called our friend Liz for translation services. She was going to drop what she was doing and race to St. Amand to help us too but I stopped her and told her, "no, he's right here" as I handed the phone to him as quickly as possible. This was a fortuitous event as he dropped everything else he was going to do and took the car into the garage to complete the inspection immediately as he got off the phone with Liz! Yes, I apologized profusely for my lack of French, for my breathing, for my inelegant stupidity. Soon we had the precious sticker for the windshield and all the proper paperwork in order. We left feeling proud of our accomplishments for the day.
I've taken slightly but significantly ill through last night's mostly sleepless and bothered-by-the-kats night's rest. Not a "stomach flu", probably some cross-kat/mouse-namination that yielded explosive diarrhea and a certain shade of green at 12:30am, 1:15am, 2:30am, 4am, 6am and 7am and throughout the rest of today's morning and early afternoon. I was frog green most of that time and could not lose sight of the toilet rooms for any reason...I'm a slow runner these days. Burp! You know what I mean.
Progress Is Our Most Important Product
That was the advertising slogan of General Electric in the 50's and 60's in the USA...well I've renewed it right here in the Maison Blanche in Lignieres. Lights, we have lights in the Dining Room, my Ancient Kitchen and, as I write, our incredibly able electrician is installing wall sockets for my counter in the Ancient Kitchen and also plugs for the dining room. That's the order of the day, tomorrow he'll attack the Grenier (attic). We are ecstatic to say the least!
It's been wet and cool for the last few days, rain every night at least and a bright and sparkly thunderstorm or two has visited us. It's been so wet that I can't continue the courtyard clean-up, too much mud! Tomorrow maybe.
I spent a good portion of yesterday dismantling the snake's den of power extension cords that had kept us (mostly) in electricity these last 3 years (20 months of which we weren't within 6000 miles!). It all worked and the house (and us!) are still here, no smoke, no fires. What an improvement to have s fully electric house once again!
Our friends Dave and Sue have returned from their visit to England, they brought us Cheddar and a mystery cheese all of which is quite appreciated! Their Cheddars and Stiltons are wonderfully strong and flavorful! The BEST! We'll make up a cheese plate for our 5pm "sit" we do every day when we remember to.