Jean-Marc and Kristi will be in Denver soon, attending a wine tasting of Provence and Chateauneuf du Pape wines that Chief Grape exports to Colorado. This event will take place September 13th from 3 to 6 PM at The Vineyard Wine Shop, 261 Fillmore Street, Denver, CO 80206. Tel : 303 355 8324 We look forward to seeing you there!
Today's Word: le déchet
: waste, litter, rubbish, refuse
Les déchets sont faits pour être jetés dans des poubelles adaptées, pas dans les jardins.
Trash is made to be tossed into designated garbage cans, not into gardens.
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
I received the following courriel from reader Joséphine....
Hi Kristi, I am wondering how you manage living on the beachside after living so many years in the vineyards? I imagine it is a little frenetic at times?
The first few months were strange indeed. It was awkward having strangers so close to our front porch, even if a brick muret and its scraggly hedge formed a boundary. Whereas a few rows of sunflowers lined the edge of our (previous) deck, now groups of tourists are springing up! There, where giant yellow tournesols once swayed in the wind, beachgoers bow forward in a constant flow toward the sea. Toddlers regularly throw tantrums (the injustice of having to return home after building sandcastles all morning!), and it is not uncommon for couples to meltdown, too, as they discover parking tickets, or les amendes, on their windshields and point the finger at one another ("Je t'avais dit, Maurice! Cinq euros--c'est pas assez pour la journée!").
This massive flux in summertime took some getting used to. Once, a group of seniors stood casing my fence (up one side...down the other) and I watched as, one by one the women lifted their cameras and began firing away, their lenses trained on a vignette of bombonnes in our yard! ("Fair enough!" I figured, remembering my years as a trigger-friendly amateur photographer roving the villages of France. I had my share of tongue-lashings by angry residents, I recalled, as I silently watched the women from behind my window and its spy-proof reflection.)
Mais, chère Joséphine, there is one thing about living in a tourist mecca we will never grow used to or accept....and it is this:
All the litter! As waves of visitors file by on their way to the beach, some of them drop their garbage onto the street. Others set it on our fence (having sat there, smoking a cigarette). Still others toss their trash right into our garden! Beer bottles, napkins, even the odd rubber sole...are now "fixtures" in our yard (that is to say, we regularly remove the litter, but it comes right back the next day!).
This morning, while planning a much-needed chicken-run (to run along the periphery of our yard) I was amazed at les déchets I found. Despite there being TWO poubelles within meters of our fence, passers-by tossed empty packs of cigarettes, plastic cups, a bottle top, snack dispensers and plastic wrapping over our fence.
But what disturbed me most was a tiny pink bille...it must have come out of one of those toy guns. Were there more plastic billes in the garden? Not good for my grazing chickens or my curious, eats-anything chien!
Thank you very much for your question, Joséphine, and for the opportunity it offered to talk about litter. I hope, together, we all will find an answer.
le déchet = litter, waste, rubbish
le courriel = email
coucou = hi, hello
le muret = low wall
le tournesol = sunflower
une amende = fine, penalty, parking ticket
la bombonne (also bonbonne) = giant glass wine or jug
la bille = ball
le chien = dog
Je t'avais dit, Maurice! Cinq euros c'est pas assez pour la journée! = I told you, Maurice! Five euros is not enough for the day!
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi