Skip to main content

233. New Year 2014

To anyone reading this blog, friend or foe, I have to say thank you. Even though I haven't come up with new posts since my return to France from Ireland there are still people coming here to read my lines. Thanks.

It is strange how a certain way of life shuts you up. Nowadays I just shrug my shoulders and shut up being totally marginal and feeling completely unwelcome, unwanted and useless.

In the English customary habit I am going to write a newsletter of the main characteristics of my past year. The French don't do that. Family news remain more private perhaps and the Christmas mandatory correspondence does not happen. So here comes my 2013 newsletter.

In June a young woman Helper from Japan came to stay with me. She was very friendly and sweet and spoke enough French to converse. She was eager to help me in my garden in Chazelet but as she had no notion of gardening at all, I realized I would not be able to manage that garden for the year anyway. In a garden, there are definite things to do at a given time and if you don't do it in time you miss on it for that year! So I gave Chazelet up much to my despair... and to my garden neighbour's despair too so that she started planning and suggesting out loud what I should do in my own patch. That angered me further so that I shouted at her to mind her own 'onions' as the French expression goes. So that... we are not on talking terms any more!

What else has happened? My own retirement pension being very low... having spent most of my life looking for a job... I used to receive a basic extra pension from the State. But as you must reside in France to get it, it stopped in May because I was in Ireland... where I had gone to hopefully find a paid job, among other reasons. On my return to France I claimed the pension again but to this day to no avail. I have been sent several letters asking for proof of this or that as if I was a cheating slop... Getting depressed being of no use I decided not to open my mail any longer. Tending my grassy patch around my house in St Civran kept me busy anyway.

At the end of June a young Chinese woman from Taiwan arrived at my place as a Helper. Luckily she could speak English to me and Japanese to Ayumi and I could speak French to Ayumi and English to her. My intention and efforts to learn Chinese back in the 1990s never came to anything practical. Soon however I found I simply could not feed the two girls. I fell sick. They helped feeding me. And then they left.

In the hot and dry summer months I had my grand-daughter stay with me on and off. I love that. And then an Australian woman Helper came to stay a week and taught her to swim in a nearby lake. And then I drove her to her next Host in a haunted castle!

By the end of September I was getting fidgety and at a loss for new ideas of what to do with myself. I ended up staying at my son's in the prefecture city of my district. Staying in a properly heated apartment and eating regular meals was great. Talking to my son, a blessing. I also spent time walking around in town taking photos that I uploaded on my flickr photo account. However I realized that I had aged and felt tired when my grand-daughter and her half-brother came to stay. Screaming and fighting kids are not my cup of tea these days...

Now the new year has arrived and I have moved back to my house in St Civran. I have plans. Sure. And dreams, of course. But it seems that whatever I try to do is always doomed!... Let's see what 2014 has in stock for me!!!

Bonne Année 2014 anyway.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

250. MY ESSAY IN ETHNOLOGY

When I say that I studied social ethnology, most people don't know what I'm talking about. So to illustrate what a post-graduate student did at the University of Michigan in this science within the department of Anthropology, here is the copy of my essay written in November 1980 for my professor of course 501 of that year.

 The title is THE POWER GAME AT THE MICRO-LEVEL OF TALE SOCIETY.

The study was based on ethnographic data published by Meyer Fortes who was an ethnologist in the 1940s in Ghana. The exercise was to use his data from his observation in the field to analyse what it meant in terms of "power game". It was to show us that a good ethnographer's job consisted of taking down every detail of his observations, even if it did not make sense to him at the time. The ethnologist can then trust the ethnographer's findings in order to analyse them and make sense with them. The ethnographer and the ethnologist are most of the time the one and same person. …

237. Wisdom

A whole year now since I posted anything on this blog!




I am currently reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence in an attempt to view the background of the current hatred between East and West following the attacks on Paris lately. I borrowed the French version of the book written by Lawrence at the end of the First World War. It may sound odd but I am indeed finding the roots of the problem there.

In any case I greatly enjoy reading this French translation by Eric Chedaille, éditions Phébus 2009. It is fluid and elegant. I am sure that Lawrence would have liked it too!  The English original edition for the translation was as follows:

T. E. Lawrence. 
Seven Pillars of Wisdom The complete 1922 "Oxford" text First published for general circulation by J. and N. Wilson Fordingbridge, Hampshire, 2004 Project-managed by Book Production Consultants PLC, Cambridge

I find Lawrence full of philosophy and humor.  It also brings me back to my own time in the Middle East when I was 19 …

249. A car, a bicycle and a dog

The year 2014 is a landmark in my very ordinary life. 
I had a car, a Ford Mondeo Ghia, running on diesel. I had driven it very happily to Germany, to Scotland and to various places in France. It had reached past 200 K km mileage and needed some fixing. I forgot what it was, nothing too bad, it could still pass the mandatory regular registration. My mechanic told me he would not do it. In any case I didn't have the money to have it done. So, I left it parked on the village square for a long time hoping to find the money and another mechanic for it. After a year I was asked to move it out as there was going to be a village fair on the square. Fair enough. Some friendly neighbor helped me start it and I drove it 5 km away to the other village where I have my garden and a barn. My idea was to store it inside the barn pending better days when I would get it fixed. I judged that the engine, if not the rusty body, could still be useful for something. However, as I couldn't open the b…