Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sur la plage

Around this time almost exactly 30 years ago I was in a high school production of the musical The Boy Friend. I played Percival Browne, the boyfriend’s girlfriend’s father, so as you can imagine, removed at least one step from the main action. I was not chosen for any particular vocal or theatrical skills – I was approached by one of the teachers on the production team as they were desperate for an “older male” who could afford to miss some classroom time.  My only significant scene was a duet, flirting with an old flame: the headmistress of the girls school on the Riviera where the play was set. Act II opened with an ensemble piece Sur La Plage which undoubtedly evinced more glorious memories of sun and sand for Australians than could the pebbly beaches of Nice.

Antibes, September 25 2005Nice, September 2005

Bondi and I stepped carefully over those pebbles five years ago for our first swim in the Mediterranean - I remember having to wear sandals even swimming further out in the water.  We visited a French beach a few months later on a day trip from San Sebastian to a largely deserted stretch of sand north of Bayonne. The photos I posted that day were the first proper entries for this blog, the name El Loco and El Lobo being conjured up while I undertook Spanish lessons. The earlier entries from my Homeward blog were copied over some time later.

Lac de la Gimone  Lac de la Gimone

Today I joined Brent, Jean and le trois munsoneers for a day sur la plage d’un lac. Thankfully it was all sand and no pebbles at Lac de la Gimone. It’s been so long since I’ve had a good fresh water swim.

They weren’t sure* about access for dogs there so Munson stayed home. I’m sure he would have loved it, but I’ll find another access point to the lake for him to visit. (*discovery: leashed dogs are OK but only away from the sand)

Collegiale, Saint-Gaudens

The rest of the week has been slow and relatively uneventful. Once more I lost track of what day it was, and missed the main markets in Saint-Gaudens on Thursday.

Jean, I think I’ll take Munson in to Sango for the markets this Thursday morning.

- You do know that today is Thursday.

So… I took Munson in for the smaller Saturday market, to give us both a bit of socialisation. At a patisserie on the Rue de Republic, Munson sat photogenically outside while the lady at front of shop cooed through the window “il est beau! il est magnifique!” and called the other staff from out the back to bear witness.

My big achievement for the week was to have been opening a local bank account - but I had brought the wrong set of mountains of paperwork to the interview. Not that I could have had the right set as the rules had changed. One slowly learns it will take three visits to achieve most things, and you have to learn how to insert yourself into the merry-go-round of Document A requiring Document B which requires Document C, which in turn requires Document A. All of these are good learning experiences for my French, each little mission has a rehearsal of stated aims and questions. 

Je veux faire le ciel bleu.

De quelle couleur est le ciel?

Quels documents dois-je prouver qu'il est bleu?

Oh dearLa revanche de Kitty Galore

I ordered a cheap new car radio online (no CD, just USB+SD) to replace the erratic squalling thing in my dashboard. Once delivered, I skipped out to the car to install it, only to find that the snake-pit of wires behind the old radio was not going to play nicely. Looking between this and the French language manual with its mutterings of non-standard Opel/GM wiring, I realised I was going to need someone to install it for me. The next day I drove out through the commercial strip on the east side of Saint-Gaudens to find a suitable technician. The Opel dealership sent me off to Feu Vert where I made an appointment for early evening, and was cautioned to ensure I had all my registration papers.  I was a bit worried about this as I had a sequence of registration and sale papers that I wasn’t sure would pass muster, so returned somewhat nervously at 6pm with my bulging dossier of car-aphernalia.

I presented myself in the garage directly and a guy came out to review the scene of the crime. Munson was in the back of the car – proving to be a useful and irresistible device for breaking the ice – and after the tech had disengaged his hand from behind Munson’s ear, quickly worked out that I needed a couple of patch plugs and connectors for a small fee. He said that I would have to slice between two sets of plastic ISO plugs for this to work.

Not wanting to take this for granted, I drove to a hardware store and bought a little hacksaw, split the plugs with it and connected them all up. No luck. Pushing to beat their 7pm closing, I drove back to Feu Vert and pantomimed that le autoradio ne marche pas. The helpful tech returned to the car with some tools and identified that the power-wire had been moved and where I needed to switch it. I found I could do this myself without any further fuss, so thanks to my friend at Feu Vert I had it all rewired and enjoyed a musical journey back home. Three visits – and they didn’t ask me for my paperwork after all.

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