Friday, June 17, 2011

MIRANDE Cordonnier Bottier Luckier Maroquinier

Mirande boot maker

I collected Gustav from Toulouse airport last night – a final visit to the Gers before he starts a summer job in Sweden at the end of the month. I’d picked up my rental car in Auch during the afternoon and continued directly to Toulouse for some shopping and an evening at the movies since his flight wasn’t in till just before midnight.

It was a toss-up between seeing the new X-Men movie and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, but X-Men: Le Commencement won my eyeballs tonight. As usual when I see undubbed (V.O. = version originale) films in France I always manage to pick ones with multilingual content. Consequently whenever the characters switch from English to German, Spanish, Russian etc the subtitles are actually in French (as they are for the rest of the film).  French dialog is not subtitled. Other “English” language films which have good chunks of extra-lingual dialog are The Pianist, Inglourious Basterds, and Lord of the Rings (Elvish!).

It’s a good way to pick up a bit more colloquial French, and last night I solved something which had been bothering me for some time. When I pay for something by card at the supermarket, the cashier invariably gestures at the card-reader and says uh-ray-zee. I’ve been trying to parse this in my head for months without clearing it up. Anyway, the film subtitles solved this for me with “Go ahead” subtitled as Allez-y, or more literally “go there”. I guess the swiftness with which it’s tossed off the tongue and the local dialect make it more difficult to sort out. One of the other features of the Gascon accent is the ‘g’ sound added to the end of words ending in ‘m’ or ‘n’’, for instance:

  English spelling pronunciation
  Condom (place)

  far loin loo-eng
  tomorrow demain demeng

This afternoon we drove an hour south to the garage where my comatose car is having its diesel injection pump attended to. I phoned yesterday to give them some warning so that it had a decent inspection before I arrived. The part was beyond repair and they indicated the cost of replacement – not pleasant, but when I total up the cost of towing and rentals in the interim, it feels less painful. If I was in another country I might have been able to get a salvaged part fitted at about 10-20% of the cost of a new dealer part (2300 euros!!) but French mechanics don’t seem disposed to this and there’s no economy in moving the car to somewhere that will do it. At least they’re getting in a Bosch part that’s only about 2/3 the cost of the dealer part, and with luck all the work may be done in a week.

Mirande centre

On the way back to the farm we stopped for a quick look at the town of Mirande. In one month’s time it will be hosting one of the world’s largest country music festivals. I’ve only driven through before, so I figure it would be nice to see it “at rest” before 150,000+ visitors descend on the area in July.

It seemed a fairly typical French town of about 4200 people and there weren’t many signs of its country-music predilections other than copious signs advertising the festival and the very Nashville-esque window display shown at the top of the post. To translate the signage shown outside the store:

  cordonnier shoemaker
  bottier bootmaker
  luckier ??? ( a joke inscription?)
  maroquinier leather goods (seller or maker)

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