Wedding anouncements and obituaries are sacred pillars in the rural press. I have been encouraged to mention, in my weekly listing, who are the grandparents and the great-grandparents of the babies of the week. Otherwise, who would know in the district that the grocer's great-niece has given birth, since she married a guy from town, with a "foreign" name?Each week, I do the rounds of the tiny registry offices to collect birth and death news. During summer, saturdays are hectic, running from town halls to... [Lire la suite]
That's what the sign post says. Translation: Do you fancy fattening a goose for Christmas, in the quiet and privacy of your home ? We sell them trained (to be force-fed).
We are having a heat-wave. I had to retreat indoors with my laptop. Am writing my country articles for the paper with full wiew on the hot and bothered cat. Small pleasures in a country reporter's life.
The windows of the local "Offices de Tourisme" are my best informers. In one numeric shot, I've stored all coming events. I'll sort and process them at home, on my blue work table by the window, or on the terrace. The local events comitees operate on tiny budgets. A paper poster is their only way to communicate B2C. One has to keep an eye open, always, not to miss a flutering pink flyer stuck on the One-way road sign. I now know how to identify the type of event and its location just by its flyer. If the flyer is... [Lire la suite]
Before I started this local-reporter job, I did not know that volunteering was a favorite summer hobby in country life. I don't mean volunteering for the Red Cross or charities. I mean volunteering for parties. Summer is a non-stop trail of village fairs, village dances and banquets, festivals, concerts. To man this carousel of events, organizers need hundreds of free labourers. They are never short of volunteers, since it gives the local youth opportunities to see pop singers in the flesh (concerts), to meet people, go to bed... [Lire la suite]
The photograph is fuzzy but can you see this strange spidder, with electric-yellow body, on the upper right hand corner? Legs included, it is as big as my fist. During my local reporter rounds ( 5 000 kilometers during july and august), I've met quite unusual animals, a bit too unusual. Such as this spidder, and a poison-green lizard, with electric-yellow dots, very big, very tall, on a French river side. I wonder if the exotic animals' lovers empty their fish-tanks in an isolated country spot, from time to... [Lire la suite]
You will not see the real photograph of the children's school play. France is very touchy (legally speaking), when under eighteens are concerned or pictured. It was indeed published in my paper. The lay-out manager picked the one with the highest number of easily identifiable children. That's how you build a faithfull readership with parents, in the country. For the first time since I started this job, I was bored. Clowns and children's monitored antics make me sad. But I like this picture of the families walking away, to their... [Lire la suite]
Week-end off at a friend's house, in the heart of the chic South of France. On the road, I got yet another "School" road-sign for my collection. In this particular one, the pair of children are running. One boy, one girl, stylized. Brother and sister? Probably from the seventies. Please note: my friend does not live in Suzette, home to the delicious muscat "Beaume de Venise". I just snapped this photo from the car while driving. In a stupendous village, entirely populated by rich liberal families on vacation... [Lire la suite]
Even more depressing than a jumble sale...The art & craft market. I've met the same craftsmen/artists (let's be kind) on their yearly summer tour, the same knick-knack stands, in every village fair. Yards and yards of Lavender fields in oil, pastel, and mostly acrylic paint. Tons of fake, home-made Venitian leather masks...Fortunately, I have never had to write a paper on these hideous rendez-vous. Just listing the place and day in the Agenda section was enought. What? I am an arrogant, Parisian snob? For once, I don't mind. ... [Lire la suite]
* Jumble sales, yard sales, antique fairs, are all the craze in rural France right now. Rural folks are in the midst of an antique collecting fever tantrum. In village fairs, on supermarkets parking lots, at the annual watermelon fair, you get an antique jumble sale. Everywhere, the same old dirty Playmobil boxes, used video games, awfull "nearly news" brass chimney accessories. Oh, the sadness of sunday antique fairs in the country...There are very useful, though. Jumble sales fill up quickly my weekly... [Lire la suite]