Wood, anyone?

Wood, anyone?

Good evening globetrotters,

My alarm woke me up at 7:00 this morning. I went to bed around 1 o’clock so I gave myself more of a lie in than I would usually have had. I went downstairs and my mum wasn’t in. I knew where she was. She was in the neighbour’s chicken pen, cleaning up the feathers from yesterday’s crime scene. I ran over and started giving her a hand. “Quickly Emily, I’m scared that the chicken man is going to catch us in here”. I had left a note on the neighbour’s garage door and asked them to come and see us as soon as they got back. Sure enough, shortly after we got a knock on the window and the chicken man – I say that like he’s actually some kind of mutant chicken-man himself, he’s definitely not part chicken don’t worry – had come to see us. We did a quick customary ‘bise’ (a kiss on each cheek) and then I said “Bonjour Monsieur” << Hello sir >>

Absolutely shitting myself.

Bonjour mademoiselle – j’ai vu qu’il y avait une lettre attachée a la porte, mais je ne vois pas trop bien, donc je n’ai pas vu qu’est ce qu’il y est marqué dessus. J’ai aussi quelque chose que je veux vous demander au propos des poulets.” << Hello miss – I saw that there was a letter attached to the door, but I can’t see very well so I couldn’t see what it said. I’ve also got something to ask you concerning the chickens >> Shit. Oh holy crap. I then started explaining – blabbering – about how my dogs are really lovely and that I was so sorry and that I will replace the chickens and that I couldn’t believe that my dog had done this etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The man was a bit taken aback. He laughed at me and put his hand on my shoulder. He just wanted to know where the four chickens had gone, and whether we knew if it was our dogs or a fox that had done it. If I’m being quite frank about the whole thing, he really didn’t seem to care at all. He did come and inspect the fence but these country people really don’t see a chicken murder as a big issue. They just keep them for the eggs. He thought it was especially funny how I said that I wanted to call a vet out when I had discovered these poor little souls taking their last breaths. He took the deceased chickens that we had bagged up and stuck his hand in the bag. WHAT IS HE DOING?! I thought to myself. “Oué, ils sont bien morts. Ils sont froids.” <<Yep, they’re well dead. They’re cold>> He told us. Slightly disgusted by the fact that he had just touched the dead chickens I took a few steps back. “Ne vous inquiètez pas, je vais les jetter” << Don’t worry, I’ll throw them away >> He said. “Le vétérinaire vous ferait payer beaucoup pour les jeter!” << The vet would charge you a lot of money to throw them away! >> So we said goodbye, and that was pretty much the end of that.

I woke myself up properly with my usual several cups of sugary tea. I skyped a good friend of mine in New Zealand for a few hours and then disappeared into a good book about the teachings of Buddhism. Pretty nice really after that bit of drama.

I occupy most of my time checking my emails. I think I’m going to start setting personal goals, the main one being to stop checking my UCAS track every few hours. I am so bloody impatient. Every e-mail I receive has me wishing for another university offer. I think I’d die if I got into St Andrews. A lot. I am literally so excited for university it’s impossible; I’m looking forward to the amazing education, lifestyle and the new friends that I’m sure I will make.

This afternoon I was interrupted from my book to go and translate for my dear mother. The neighbour had come over and with the seriously – and I mean seriously – strong accent the locals have here in the south west of France, it’s no wonder that she has a lot of trouble. It’s lucky that I went to school here for a few years, otherwise I know that I would be lost too. It’s probably the equivalent of comparing a Yorkshire accent to RP (received pronunciation is like the standard southern ‘posh’ British accent). Everything sounds pretty nasal down here. All the ‘an’ [æn] sounds are turned to ‘ayn’ [eɪŋ]. http://www.phonemicchart.com (as close as they can be represented in English phonology).

So anyway, I go out to see the neighbour and he says that he has spoken to the local man who supplies the wood for everyone in the village – in the winter wood is a very, very exciting thing here – and he was offering to take us down to this man’s farm. Mum decides that she’d like to go so she shoves a coat at me and her best puppy dog eyes. We get in his car and I’m not even exaggerating, he must have been doing about 70mph on the tiniest, narrowest roads I have ever seen in my life. He didn’t care if we nearly fell off our seats as we zoomed round corners. I hear a little voice come from the back of the car “I feel sick“. Not surprising really. These French people drive like maniacs: it’s definitely not a myth.

So arriving 20 minutes later at the farm, with my life barely intact, we meet the friendliest faced old farmer I have ever met. Short, tubby and all squinty, the farmer gave us the customary ‘bise’ (a kiss on each cheek). Whilst they went off to look at the wood I got distracted by the cutest little shaggy, cream sausage dog I have ever seen – I am a sucker for any animal. I think I must have been one in a past life. “Fifi” the little shaggy, cream sausage dog she shall now be known. I got into a rather lengthy conversation with the farmer’s wife about dog breeds and living in the country and apparently chicken massacres are pretty common here. Fifi the little shaggy, cream sausage dog‘s mum kills chickens regularly apparently, and so she’s now not allowed off the lead outside. Made me feel a little better about yesterday’s fiasco.

I was then shouted over by mother because she was completely lost in conversation again and needed my translations – I should start charging for this – and after a long, long conversation about different types of wood and how they burn… we walked back to the car. There we met Fifi the little, shaggy cream sausage dog‘s owner. About half an hour later and e-mail addresses exchanged for her daughter to have an English self volunteered pen-friend – I’m so nice – we finally got back into the race car.

My plan for tonight consists of tea, books and bed. Sounds like a perfect evening. I hope that wherever you are in the world, you’re having a good day.

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