Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The End

So we are in London, having an exhausting time walking everywhere. The Blog is finished for now, there is a part two that I'll start in a few months, an ambitious part two so two speak. I thank you all for investing your time in reading this semi-regular posting service. I will update you-all when there is printable news, as we have to protect the innocent, and more importantly the guilty, may god have mercy on my soul.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Le Bricabrack

Cindy and I joined Hannah’s parents for a trip through the countryside, with the purpose of browsing through a couple of the French flea markets. We followed their car as they meandered through the towns, it felt as though we were following someone to their hidden bat cave or moonshine still. There was probably little chance we could have found it ourselves the next week, also the thing is in a different town every week.
Once in the initial French bazaar, we walked the circuit of stalls. The difference between a flea market in the States and in France, is the one in France had a lot more older stuff. The adage that one mans/woman’s trash is another mans/woman’s treasure was illustrated today. If we had a house over here, we would have needed to buy a trailer, because I felt as though there were tons of things that struck my fancy. I have no idea where someone’s fancy is located, but I know mine was struck quite a few times. The need to sift through the needless stuff, to pan out the occasional gold nuggets, would require a jewelers eye. Luckily we were being shown the ropes by our good experienced friends, I would point something out that struck my you know what, and our guides would glance at it and advise. Usually they would give a history of that type of a piece, and tell me the market value, most often it would be the price quoted, and they would walk to the next stall, kindly implying save your money for something that’s a more desirable deal. We finished the first flea market and drove together to the next flea market, we were in the right town, but not having any luck finding this weeks location, and I spotted this mid-80’s Peugeot 505 turbo that had been at the first flea market, and suggested we follow it to the next flea market. So we followed it down a half dozen streets, and started feeling a bit stalker-ish, and started wondering if this guy knew we were following him. Well after ten minutes of winding our way down various streets the guy pulls into his driveway, and we continue on past him as though we had business in this residential community, and hoped he wasn’t a drug courier with a bad temper, a hangover, and a full Glock 9mm.
That seemed to reset our internal compass, and after a couple moments asked at a local Tabac , eh Voila! When Hannah’s dad returned we made our way, armed with Le directione’s.
We enjoyed the second market more than the first, and my fancy was getting quite the work out. So hoping kids aren’t reading this. There were some beautiful old plates, bowls, and silverware sets; all antiques. Even got a history on the mending of old broken ornamental bowl, serving plates, that were mended a hundred years ago. Seems this traveling metal smith would go from town to town and the residents would bring out their nice plates that may have broken, and this gentleman would piece them back together with these malleable staple devices, which was usually the sign of an important plate, or ye olde pissed parents who wanted to teach their ye spoiled clumsy kids a lesson.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mr. Speaker of the House

The “La Sauvetat Du Dropt sans frontieres” presentation was a success. The whole town, it seemed, turned out. I was impressed by the effort of the council, the presentation was informative, fun, and completely worth it.
The evening started out with us leaving our rented farmhouse and driving into town to pick up Madame Delaporte. She is our French teacher, who does a lot more of filling us in on her French history, than the actual teaching French. I must say that after we had a few “lessons” with her, we pretty much knew that it was more of a life lesson than a language lesson. But that was O.K. as it provided all involved with a nice change of pace, and that’s why we’re here. So we meander down the local road from her little apartment in Eymet to La Sauvetat Du Dropt, and arrive at the meeting hall. After helping Madame into the hall, I park the Citroen and join the crowd. The set-up is local, Mayberry RFD local. We had all helped decorate and unstack chairs and arrange them in rows earlier in the day, the music they have piped in is the Star Wars theme, ( to inspire a journey ) and after everyone is seated, it starts.
One of the Council members (Germaine ) takes the microphone and with the aid of an English speaking woman ( Claire ) describes the journey that all these “actors” will take them. After the English interpretation, the first guest is called up.
Danny and Claire- Belgium
In a presentation full of history and color the Belgian country is described. He is from Antan (?) near Antwerp, the city know for diamonds, and a coastal picturesque beauty.
Carol and John Phillips -Cornwall
John gave a very nice speech, about Cornwall, noted for it mines and the wonderful Biosphere project. He had everyone in the audience cracking up when he noted, “In the bottom of every hole, there’s a good chance someone from Cornwall will be at the bottom“. Nice pictorial history of the area, and the people, charming.
Hank, Cindy, and Caleigh- USA
Aside from my hand shaking as I tried to read French, the audience did appreciate when the photo of the Statue of Liberty was shown, I pointed to it and said clearly, “ Merci beaucoup pour le cadeau” ( Thank you very much for the Present) and actually got a round of applause, and a lot of smiles. I’m sure we sent a thank you card? When I handed over the mic to Cindy for her chapter, she did really well, and elicited a laugh as well. Caleigh spoke seamlessly and we were done. As we left the stage, somehow the canvas screen material got stuck in my zipper and I pantsed myself, and pulled down the screen, Of course I didn’t. Jeeze, give me some credit.

Julie and Bob - Essex
Their presentation was a combo presentation, they spoke alternately about their home in Essex, the life here and there, and their extended family.
Petra-East Berlin
Her presentation was a selection of images from East Berlins history from Soviet occupied to the unification of Germany. She was very fluent and described her city well, having the audience follow her on a trip through the city’s growth.
Helen and Jerry-Scotland
His presentation described his involvement in the development of the facility in Scotland, that is being used to update the nuclear power plant, and his life in that beautiful, although remote area of Scotland, to the further development of energy resources. Then to his life in the area. Very informative and an impressive look into the development going on for future power.
Dino - Italy
His presentation spanned three generations of his family, from his grandfather, to his parents, to his schooling in the area. A popular individual with a humorous take on him meeting his wife. Wonderful images of his history that he was not only proud of, but shared so nicely. I felt privileged to view it, and envied him for his cavalier attitude and comfort with the crowd.
Peter and Maggie- Scotland
His presentation (pictured) started out with the black watch bagpipe march, and continued with him walking on stage in a full traditional kilt suit. He gave a tour through the beauty of Scotland, the history, and pictures that were gorgeous. He spent 32 years and finished his police career as a Chief Inspector. He seemed very proficient in the history of Scotland’s Châteaux’s, Whiskey, and golf. Wonderful presentation, and you ain’t heard French till you’ve heard it with a Scottish accent.
After the presentations, the Mayor got up and with the help of an interpreter, he nicely thanked all the participants, and group photos were taken. He then offered all some refreshments. We mingled for awhile, and excused ourselves temporarily so we could take Madame Delaporte home and drop off Caleigh at the farmhouse. We accomplished this and headed back to the hall, it was 11:30. After visiting for a couple hours we were invited by Peter and Maggie to join them for a wee drink at their house close by, Julie and Bob joined us as well.
After a three minute walk we shared a glass of red wine at their wonderful stone residence. It capped off the extended trip, around the globe and back to France, with a nice red Bordeaux.
I’m posting this a week late, we have been non-stop busy. We are off to Perigueux, Dordogne’s capital, for some Passport hi-jinx, low-jinx, I hope this really doesn’t blo-jinx. I’ll get back to you-all.

Latest update, as I gotta run, we made an offer on a 13th century Presbytery, that has planning approval to be run as a Chambre D’Hotel.
You understand that they have April Fools Day over here as well?