Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The First of May

It's May Day! The First of May, FĂȘte du Muguet, FĂȘte du travail. That means almost everything is closed here and I have a day off work. The weather report proved completely wrong and instead of rain the day dawned sunny, initially chilly and then warmed up as the sun practised staying out for the whole day. I hope it's in training because up until now the year has been grey, wet, windy and depressing. Today was fantastic. As I write, a man is mowing the lawn in front of my studio. A sound of summer on the way.

By 9am I was out of my studio and walking through the town with my camera. I needed sunshine and peace and quiet and time to myself. I needed nature so I headed over to the park and its grounds to see what might be occuring. Trees were greening. It was too early for the birds to be truly busy. Most of them were not in evidence. Those that were were sleeping, strolling or honking from afar.

The canals with their islands are perfect habitats for the waterfowl: geese, ducks, swans and poules d'eau. I had the place to myself. Ah the sound of birds and water rippling gently, the sunshine, the azaleas and lilacs and blossoms, the tulips and narcissi. I walked past the ruins of a stone bridge, used only by a pair of ducks who had set up their nest there-what a great strategic decision. By the time I had explored all the gardens and admired the statues that were now displayed naked without their winter protective bags it was time to head back through the town. Things were waking up.I was feeling at peace and thoroughly enjoying myself. I'm looking forward to being able to get out and about more this summer once I have a wee car.

Folks were now about. There were flower sellers everywhere but on this day they only sell sprigs or tiny plants of lily of the valley, or miniature roses.JC had already bought me one a few days earlier. You give a sprig to someone you care about although I'm not sure whether this is done now because of tradition, duty or sentiment. The supermarkets are in on it, advertising makes use of it. Still, it seems quaint.
Arriving home I had the curious motivation to clean the cobbled paving outside my door. It's ancient and filthy, covered in moss and mud so that keeping things clean by my bed is impossible; it all tracks in. Armed with only an old trowel and no gloves I set to work, scraping between each paver, trying to remove the accumulation of dust, mud, moss, crumbling building facade, weeds. Residents must have thought I was mad but there was little choice. I don't have a waterblaster and if I did there wouldn't be a suitable tap to connect it to. There also wouldn't be anywhere to store it.

Once I'd disposed of all the mess I filled a bucket in the bathroom and washed it all down. Satisfying to have things a little tidier but the ground forms a hollow and so all the water and silt keeps collecting in front of my door. Oh well, it's better than it was and it got me outdoors.
It also gave me the opportunity to have a word with the rather severe woman living just along from me. She informed me her husband is the head of the syndicate of property owners who have apartments in the building. I took note and made sure I minded my Ps and Qs.

She mentioned that the apartment above mine was empty and had been for some time, she wasn't sure why. I enquired about it and she told me it was slightly bigger than my studio and had two tiny rooms plus the main room, no parking though. She would enquire about it for me and pointed out another apartment I had already spotted available for rent across from my building. She rubbed her fingers together indicating it was be more expensive than what I have now- Oh well gotta try, as I'm seriously looking for a new home; maybe not in Cafeolait because it's tiny. Madame said she would also be supervising the access to the building for the plumber as tomorrow- red letter day- the plumber is supposed to turn up and do the final repairs on the burst pipe in my studio.


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