Saturday 7th August 2021
It was rather quiet in the library first thing this morning, just me, the books and the sound of rain falling on the roof.
It’s a Saturday, normally one of our busiest mornings as the weekly market takes place right outside our door. This year, the commune of Chef-Boutonne have made a real effort to ensure summer 2021 is something special. There is live music playing every week at the market and events taking place in all parts of the newly enlarged commune. It’s such a shame the weather has been so bad, for so long. I can normally hear the sounds of the market from the library. The chatter of the shoppers, the live music and the general hubub of a lively event. Today it was silent, aside from the drumming of the rain.
I’ve now completed two of the three weeks as sole librarian while boss C takes her summer break to walk in the mountains. I’m nicely up to date with all the tasks she has left me, so I took advantage of a quiet start to explore some of the bookshelves more closely. The great thing about the library is there is always something new to catch my eye, another book to add to my ever-growing list of books to read. I really am like a kid in a sweetshop, greedily feasting with my eyes and unable to choose which one to have next.
Life has been quite hectic these last few weeks, but I always feel both calmed and energised surrounded by books. Reading in French isn’t easy, even for me after seventeen years living here, but it is worth the effort. Seeing the words and sentences written down helps my brain to retain the vocabulary and reinforces the grammar I so often forget when I speak. Whether it is children’s easy readers, that I can read quickly, local history books that always interest me or novels that are similar to those I read in English, they are all helping.
I’ve even been branching out into the murky world of Bande Dessinée, comic books. I’ve never really been a fan, but the French love them, especially in our area as Angouleme is considered the BD capital of France. However, these last few weeks I’ve found some with topics I’m interested in, like a BD Diary of Anne Frank and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. As with any form of learning, it’s easier if the subject holds your interest. The thing I am now appreciating about BDs is that the pictures help me to follow the story and the words are mostly dialogue, so a great aid to improving conversational French.
An important anniversary
Today is a special day for us as seventeen years ago we set off in our two-car convoy, to begin our new life in France. To think that our little three-year-old is now working and preparing to officially move in with his girlfriend, Pearl, and start a Master’s degree, or that my French is good enough to read and understand real books and work in an all-French environment, is nothing short of mind boggling.
You can read all about our first days in France and signing for our house in this series of blogs I wrote a few years ago. Let’s just say we might have had a plan, but in life, as we all know, things rarely go to plan.
Saturday 7th August, our first night in France.
Sunday 8th August, arriving in Poitou-Charentes
Monday 9th August, at the notaires
Tuesday 10th August, moving into our new home