With Olive oil, tree felling, Barcelona and guests.
Flights on time arrive at Brussels international airport, Zaventem. Olif has pre booked the train tickets (as she does) and we board the train for Brussels Central station only 30minutes away.
We board the train, “First Class I presume Nessie?” says JS. ”Actually, no” I respond, but too late. JS struggles into the first class compartment with two oversized worn out Samsonite suitcases, and attempts to “jam” them into the space between the seats.
Now, I know he got “O” level maths at least, but even the simplest person could see they were not going to fit. Well and truly stuck fast, no one could pass down or up the aisle, unless you were prepared to have a running jump and hurdle them. We had a packed train of posh Walloons, Belgians, a couple of Germans and us!! Not even the Germans could dislodge them!!
“Blow the buggers up” was a suggestion!
Thanks to the intervention of the guards, paying extra because we were in first class with second class tickets we made central station!
5 days in Prague followed, JS lost his wallet with all his credit cards in so Olif’s bank account came into play, a first I must admit! So I limited his spending!!
A busy summer here at St Blaise, sunbathing, swimming, golf, occasional B&B visitors (only 54 this season) and the inevitable french lessons.
We have another long suffering teacher, Mathias, a charming neighbour who inadvertently offered his services to teach Olif and her hubby, along with JB, a consultant cardiac anaesthetist, a pilot and engineer, and an “A” level maths teacher. Not mentioning who, but we have on our team, an “A” level in french student, a degree in French student, an “O” level grade A student and ME!!!
Is this fair I ask?? Anyway, all has been resolved; I make the tea and cook the afternoon cupcakes. Occasionally I throw in a bit of french grammar, just to confuse both Mathias and the swots!!
The other evening we celebrated Jeff Auboin Leroy’s (such a posh name, that’s why Olif knows him and his wife Chantal, our deputy mayor) 90th birthday party. Jeff looked splendid, gave a speech to 30 people and stayed awake until midnight. We, thanks to our French class Pilot swot, gave him a present of a flight in a Cessna 172, flying from Cannes mandelieu, circling over Figanieres and back. Now Jeff was a fighter pilot for the American army during the war, and so was an excellent experienced Pilot. However, Jeff had assumed that we had hired the aeroplane and he was to be the pilot. At 90years old! He thought he could handle the flight, but thought the take-off and the landing could be a bit hairy!
We thought we would drive to Barcelona in September, only 6 hours from here by car. Although by all accounts there is a lot of car hijacking so we were warned by friends that one must keep the car doors locked, chain oneself to the driving wheel and carry a .22 air rifle attached to my knickers at all times. I spent much time with my bernina sewing machine making adjustments to all my knickers, so as to conceal such a weapon and successfully felt that I could tackle any intruder!!
We stayed en route at Tossa del Mar, couldn’t resist the name! We never made Barcelona, but that is another story, but I am sure my rifle insertion will come in useful some day!
Sister in law Jill is very content living in Figanieres with her two french poodles, who regularly spend a lot of time searching for the muddiest largest puddle they can sit in, so they then can be taken to Madame Audrey Toutou. This toilettage in Draguignan can pamper a dog as though it was a film star.
Listing just some of the treatments available:
Massage, aromatherapie, balneotherapie, entretien physique-par exercise et le sport, coiffeur and a dental hygienist! You go in as a poodle and come out a chow!
Tash and Cedric have bought a mobile home near Frejus. Consisting of two bedrooms, lounge, dining room, separate loo and bathroom and a kitchen, with a huge garden and 300euros per month for the use of an Olympic sized swimming pool, tennis court, restaurant, bar, the inevitable boules area and this includes all electricity. Not bad for the cote D’Azure! Both of them have rewired, insulated, painted, re tiled and a new kitchen is about to be installed as I email.
For rent during the summer months!! (I suppose they will be living here rent free whilst they rent their pad out!!)
JS is now the picture of health, having earlier discovering he had a low iron level. He has had every orifice tampered with and tubes searching high and low! The final test was for him to swallow a camera enclosed in a huge smartie, and carry a monitoring system for 5 hours. (He did complain to our translator mademoiselle Tash that it was impossible to swallow such a beast, but was promptly told in no uncertain words, that he was to get on with the job in hand and stop attention seeking!) Amazing technology, and costing the French state 600 euros for the pleasure!! All clear, so the list of jobbies has been presented to him, now, with no excuses.
I often wonder why the French produce cars with indicators, they never use them, as well as not fully understanding the reasons for white lines on the road. Child seat belts should be omitted as well, and an ashtray and mobile phone slot should be attached to the steering wheel. A horn is a must, designer bumps and scratches also a must, before delivery of the new vehicle, and finally no need for tax or insurance because there is no point because most of them never buy it in the first place! And finally, do not even attempt to drive on the road just before 3pm. One must take into account that 90% of the French have a most enjoyable relaxing wine fuelled lunch for two hours, suddenly realized the time, and need to be back at work prompt. Absolute panic hits them, they jump into the Clio, sound the horn, light the ciggy, shove a peppermint into the mouth (conceals the wine breath) and drive on the left side, right side, it doesn’t really matter actually side, as long as they make the office on time. No need to worry about the Gendarmes cos they are in the same inebriated state.
Bonfire night soon, so JS decides to build his own massive one with all the trimmed olive branches. As JS is such a law abiding citizen, he checks with the Mayor of Figanieres for the OK to light up, and away we go.
A magnificent sight, a roaring fire, flames 60 to 70 feet high and getting higher and higher and closer and closer to our house!
“Get the hose Nessie, and be quick about it!” Running like a 16year old going on a 60 year old, I gather the hose, collect the watering can and aim…miss the fire entirely and soak JS. What would you do in these circumstances?? Search for the insurance papers, a good divorce lawyer or call the pompieres?
Moral of the story… What do olive branches contain? Highly inflammable olive oil.
Visitors this year included Tess and her partner Keith, who chopped down a tree, in preparation for the winter fuel. Nancy and Jeff who cooked a lunch for 12 guests. Kate, who did all the ironing, mending and cleaning of the windows with Frank who chopped, and split about 60 logs. Richard the chef gave Olif several cooking Dems, and Em, Chris, baby Darcey and Gerard introduced the Granddad to soiled nappies and swimming lessons.
Olif meanwhile continued to sunbathe and wonder what other guest she could invite to compliment her labour force!
All my love