17 January 2017

249. A car, a bicycle and a dog

My Ford at the border between Scotland and England
My Ford in front of my derelict old house in my native village
  

Can you see it there parked "illegally"? not in June though

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 barn door on my own, I left the car at my usual place on a small square in front of my garden.

Meanwhile I got news that my cousin living in a town some 20 km away was ill and feeling awful and depressed. I decided to go and visit him. It was in June, the sun rises early then and so did I. Leaving on my bicycle at 7 am I arrived at 9 and spent the day with my cousin. In June again the sun sets quite late. At 7 pm I set off to cycle back home... This is where it gets interesting. There was a long hill to get out of town with a lot of traffic at that time of day. And so, to avoid having to push my bike up the hill with traffic passing me by at full speed, I decided to take a short cut I knew. Wrong decision.

In a quiet suburb of cottages and leafy gardens there was a dog. The cottage was freshly built and the front garden had no fence, just a long hedge and a shaky wire for a gate. I may have been silly to talk to the dog that was barking at me from afar in a nasty way. I guess I should have ignored him. Maybe not. I don't know. The thing is that when passed that property and quite at the edge of it, on flat ground, pedaling full speed, I suddenly saw the head of what looked like a wolf and felt his teeth dig into my left leg just above the ankle. In such cases, survival instinct takes over. It happened very fast but I lived it in slow motion. 1) I screamed at the top of my voice  2) I kicked the head of the animal with my foot 3) I kept pedaling fiercely. The dog bit me a second time in the fat of the calf at the back of my knee. I screamed a second time at the top of my voice and accelerated as much as I could in order to get out of that dog's home territory. It ended up with my cousin picking me up by the side of the road and taking me to the hospital in Chateauroux where we arrived past 8 pm where I was fixed and looked after nicely.


During this time, a less friendly neighbor had reported to the local rural police that my car was parked illegally. A young police woman had it towed out to the pound yard there and then without warning. Back home injured and feeling rotten I got a visit from the friendly "mayor" of the village saying he had bad news... Of course the nasty neighbor had done it again! She's famous for it in the village for doing tricks like this. He also blamed the constable who should have let him know of the "illegal" parking before taking action, as the said little parking area is communal and I was known to park there regularly. I never saw my Ford Mondeo again (sniff) as I was unable to go about claiming it. Too bad. I was left with a sore leg, unable to use my bicycle and too broke to buy another car.  End of that story! 

14 January 2017

248. NITTY GRITTY NEWS

I recently came across a virtual invitation for coffee and since then have met and keep meeting new friendly American bloggers. I find they easily write poetry, play games at writing a story prompted by a silly picture posted by someone else... AND they also write about their nitty gritty daily lives like being pulled up by the police or having their computer crash down and the price of buying a new one. So today is my turn. I can't write poetry but I can tell at great length about my nitty gritty ordinary life.

 On Wednesdays I usually have my grandkids over for lunch and activities in the afternoon, learning how to sew with a sewing machine with my granddaughter and following an online course to learn English with my grandson. Looking after the two of them is very tiring so I asked to have one at a time in turns. Yes but the lady who takes Bertrand to my door said she had not been told of the change so... never mind, don't worry, thank you. Then Binta turned up surprised: aren't we doing sewing then? I had to decide to send one home to mom. Feeling slightly guilty. With Binta we walked over to the new Vietnamese restaurant with such yummy food you want to stay there for ever. At the table Binta told me about the new characters she invented for some story she's writing. Yes, she can write poetry and everything else... in French. Back in my little studio apartment I put on the CD of a master philosopher doing meditation classes in primary schools. I'm bent on teaching them to relax and meditate. Youngsters these days are overworked with school stuff, homework and reading. I'm also bent on teaching them about real life, sewing something for yourself to wear among other things.

Me, Frankie, with my red Irish sweater reading books in Belgium
Now I think it was on Thursday. I decided to drive to visit my cousin Henri who lives in a town some 20 km away. It was 6 o'clock and it was dark so I had my headlights on. So far so good. On the way past the first village my lights conked out. Just the moon outside. Phoned my son who lives 50 km away who came to the rescue. We drove back to Chateauroux bumper to bumper at slow speed and with my warnings blinking relentlessly. My car was born in 1981. At this grand age of 36 equivalent to 78 for humans (yes, you multiply by 3 for cars) it has the tendency to conk out without warning. I'm a bit younger than my car, turning 73 next March... so I know about conking out actually. After my slow trip to Charleroi in Belgium, in early December, being hosted by my cousin Franswah, and hanging around Brussels one day and going to a conference another day, plus three days of driving back home... I conked out completely and truly. I just couldn't stay awake. A bit like the sleeping beauty. As no prince came to wake me up I decided to get up after three weeks anyway. Not too many cobwebs in the chateau, just dirty laundry lying around, half empty traveling bag wide open on the floor. As I couldn't be bothered to cook for myself I went to the Vietnamese restaurant. They know me by now.

13 January 2017

247. Adam and Eve

"You shall work for your food"... God is known for having said to the two Humans who had taken the liberty to do what they fancied without asking permission to their creator. It is this very act of rebellion that establishes our humanity. All other animals are completely dependent on their genetic programming, whereas these two characters taking a side road definitely establish the principle of liberty. Thus creating humanity. Writing this here, however, sounds total blasphemy. Adam and Eve had fun tasting this and that, some say figs, others say apples, or pomegranates why not, as well as tasting their freedom and getting the knowledge thereof. Why did God punish them? That's what the French ask themselves to this day. I wonder whether God was English or French... If Adam and Eve had been called Alain and Brigitte, it would have been so very different. You see, Alain followed Brigitte picking and biting into an apple because she was so very pretty, so very desirable and sexy. But Brigitte moved over to pick an apple because Alain was so handsome and desirable that she wanted him to follow her to share that damn apple. After all, God made them that way. I really fail to understand why he punished them. The act of love is "divine", strictly speaking. Turning it into some sinful hygienic need is nonsense. And evil. The relationship between genders has turned sour in our daily lives. It is becoming more and more difficult to approach each other in trust and playful flirt. Men don't seem to care. They're happy among themselves playing with a ball or with a dog or their car or their computer. Women over rate their prettiness by loading their faces with glossy red stuff on their lips, on their fingers, and dark sticky stuff on their eye lashes that prevents them from crying whenever they feel the need. Emotions are stated on the screen alright but not, oh god no, not in real between a man and a woman. And if women overrate their prettyness, men on the other hand underrate their handsomeness. They don't care looking attractive, desirable, appetising. They don't care. To share an apple with Brigitte is an ugly sin. I might even get censured for writing all this. In my own experience, being French, the difference of behavior in a gender relationship with an English speaking man is huge and I just can't fathom it. Once for instance with an English speaking lover, as he usually wore drabby old underwear, I bought him some sexy looking boxer underpants. He said he liked them but the day when I visited him, did not wear them but had his usual old shabby ones. The message I got was that he did not give a damn about making me desire him. Men have an erection when they desire a woman strongly. For women it is not so visible, the desire is more inside your womb. It could be why men think they don't have to trigger our desire... since we don't have any visible sign of it. Another more general example. I derive pleasure at putting my hand through a man's hair. Nowadays the fashion is for bald heads! Not very virile for a handsome man. Turning me right off. That too does not show in a woman. When a man is "turned off" he loses his erection. For a woman it is again totally invisible to the extent that men wonder why women run away from them. Shall I go on? Maybe not. I just wish God had been more understanding...

254. END OF THIS BLOG

I started this blog in 2005 under a different name. When I deleted it at one stage its title was stolen, borrowed, hijacked by someone ...