Page List

Friday, November 28, 2003

Struggling to make a decision about a change in career direction, a friend of le Chef's had a vivid dream. In it, he was face to face with a wolf on the edge of some woods. Suddenly, he turned into a wolf himself and the two of them ran off into the woods together. He woke up and decided to take the job which meant moving his family from Scotland to Seattle. After a short while there, he happened to meet a wolf-tracker and mentioned the dream. The tracker explained that the wolf symbol was very important to Native Americans, and the dream had been a 'sign': "Run with the wolves," it was saying. He had done the right thing taking the job. He subsequently went on expeditions with the tracker, and bought a piece of land deep in the woods where he built a house, in which he now lives with his wolf and two cubs... sorry, his wife and two kids.
So ever since we decided to move to France permanently, I've been on the look-out for a 'sign' and last night I think I got it. I had a very vivid dream about vol-au vents.
Yes, vol-au-vents.
Yes, little bits of pastry with savoury fillings. In this particular dream, I had a revelation about the Perfect New Filling - but as with all great ideas that you come up with in dreams, it evaporated as soon as I woke up.
I think it involved anchovies.
I told all this to Le Chef, and asked if he thought it contained a message about my future. He said he hoped not, because if anchovies were involved, we were probably staring separation in the face. He's not a big anchovy fan.
But before I let it go completely, I remembered something else about the dream. It was in French. People around me were talking French and there was I, completely fluent. "Bien sur... des anchois!" I was saying, "Des tomates... des poivrons rouges..." it was all rolling off my tongue like a native. Okay, so vol-au-vent fillings aren't exactly stretching my vocabulary. But I've started dreaming in French. This is definitely a revelation.
I think it's the yoga that's responsible. I go every Friday morning to a class in the local market town. It was my next door neighbour's idea. "It's great!" she insisted. "If you want inner peace and serenity, you've got to go. I'll pick you up." I agreed, knowing she wouldn't allow me any inner peace and serenity if I refused.
As it turns out, it has been relaxing. And I've noticed lately that when our teacher talks us into deep relaxation, I've stopped translating what she says and started simply to understand.
"That's what the dream was really saying," I said to Le Chef. "I'm dreaming in French - and it's thanks to the yoga. Orteils, chevilles, mollets"
"Mollets?" he asked.
"Calf muscles," I explained smugly. He looked unimpressed.
"Very useful," he replied, "I think I'll stick with Bertrand's 'phrase du jour'."
Bertrand runs the local gym. For some reason men don't do yoga. Men do gym. Le Chef decided to build some physical activity into his writing schedule and has been going every day before lunch. And Bertrand's been teaching him things like, "Quoi de neuf?" (What's new?) and "La vie est trop courte pour boire la piquette" (Life's too short to drink plonk). Useful stuff.
So off he went today, wearing tennis shorts instead of his usual jogpants partly because the sun was shining and partly because I was interpreting dreams when I should have been doing the laundry. And when he came back I asked what useful phrase Bertrand had come up with today. Le Chef's eyes narrowed. "He didn't have one," he replied. "He got sidetracked..."
"What do you mean?"
"He watched me walking across the car park, and when I got in, he spoke to me for the first time in English, well partly in English, he said, 'Please geeve me your mollets! They are so beeg!'"
"So - don't you think that's weird?"
"What, mollet envy? I don't know. You have got big mollets."
"But isn't it weird that he should use the word, the very same day you told me it."
"You mean... the very same day you said it would be of no use to you?"
"Well, it's obviously a sign."
"A sign?"
"Yes - telling you to... 'Run with the mollets' "
Obviously the move here was the right thing...

Thursday, November 27, 2003

In other news, our hamlet had an "assembly generale" of all twenty inhabitants (half of whom only own gites and don't actually live here!) to discuss the state of the bread oven. The what? I hear you ask. Well, the villagers used to share a bread oven - it's situated in what would be the Village Square if only we were big enough to call ourselves a village and if only the bulge in the single track road could be considered remotely "square".

It's a little stone built thing with a tiled roof and a chimney, wood fired. Every village used to have one, and our neighbouring village, a couple of kilometres along the road, keeps its oven in working order and has a village party every year where they bake bread and pizzas and quiches and tarts and drink a lot of plonk.

Anyway, ours is a few hundred years old, and it's falling down, and a recently retired schoolteacher who has too much time on her hands and owns a gite here, has decided to make it her "project" to restore it to its former glory. Naturally this takes effort and cash and so the assembly generale was called where everyone had to come up with fundraising ideas. So they decided to have a barbecue and dance, and a couple of musicians who live here have offered to give a concert for free, (they play "Techno" music.... which should entertain the octogenarians who populate the neighbouring villages).

Anyway, eventually all eyes turned to Le Chef and I with an "ask not what your hamlet can do for you, but what can you do for your hamlet" sort of look. So Le Chef had the brilliant idea of holding a raffle.... Hmmm - he had fun explaining the concept of a raffle in French. Anyway, he convinced the owners of the gites to donate a week's off-season holiday as prizes and then he turned to me and said... and my wife will do a website!


Yes, a website for the hamlet where we could invite people from all over The World to contribute to our cause! People could pay online to buy raffle tickets.... etc etc... and win the chance of a week in paradise here.

Well, this idea was a huge success. All the gite owners, and the wee couple who do B&B suddenly saw the potential for their places to be on view to The World!!! The musicians wanted a mention, and an advert for their CDs. The artist wants all his paintings up on their own pages. And the everyone's digging in their attics to find photographs of Puymule through the ages, which The World is - I'm sure - just dying to see. The web pages will have to be doubled up in French and English versions and so I will not be at a loss about how to spend the winter evenings!

And to think I used to be a writer...