Very sorry for the hasty letter today (the sound file and "word of the day" will return--along with the regular edition--on Wednesday).
I'm in a hurry as I need to be in Paris by 9 a.m. for three days of community service. The local authorities contacted us last month after a disgruntled sheep farmer filed a complaint. Turns out we are being prosecuted for empoisonnement! (Remember the cool "punk rock shepherd"? Well he wasn't so cool after all as he is claiming his herd suffered from gastro-entérite--or le gastro--after grazing on our "contaminated" pasture.)
That the sheep all but trespassed onto OUR private property--to enjoy a free meal--doesn't seem to faze the police, who informed us that when we made the verbal agreement allowing the berger's sheep to feed on our land, we were unwittingly taking responsibility for their santé.
I am trying to see the good in this even if I am reluctant head out, now, for some punitive community service. The 8-hour chore I have been assigned is surreal: the cleaning of the catacombs, i.e. Paris's underground cemetery. It took me a moment to understand the punishment, because of the confusing French words and legalease, which were misleading and which read: le nettoyage de l'ossuaire municipal. ("Ossuaire" threw me, but I recognized the words municipale and nettoyage and so assumed I was assigned to clean the floor of Town Hall--and not a wall of skulls!)
The good news is the State is paying for my train ticket. All I am to do is to provide a personal scrub brush. (The municipal order that I received in the mail contained a small packing list: I am to bring my brosse à dents and a small flask of olive oil. A further note--an instruction, actually--states "une goutte par tête" or "one drop per skull"). I guess they'll fill me in on the rest (is the olive oil both a detergent and a polish?) once I get there.
Off now to catch the train in Marseilles. See you Wednesday...
P.S. If they think I'm bringing my own toothbrush--get out! I'm taking an extra of Jean-Marc's. He won't even know the difference--he's not back from the States yet (or else HE would have volunteered to take the punishment).
P.P.S. Even more surreal (humiliating, actually) is the uniform I have been assigned to wear. See it here along with a note, in the comments box, and I would love to know your opinion on this one!
Note: The good news is the sheep will survive the stomach attack or le gastro; because they are no longer fit to slaughter they will live out their days in a petting zoo, outside Toulon).
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In theme with my punishement, I'm pairing this edition with photos I've taken over the years... of locks or cadenas. This one, in St Paul Trois Chateau.
Locked up somewhere in Italy....
Locked up somewhere in Provence...
Locked up somewhere in Croatia...
Locked up somewhere in Paris... that would be me. On my way now, to the Catacombes de Paris. Don't forget to see what the uniform I've been assigned looks like, here.
Smokey Locksmith says: If you're ever feeling locked up I've got a key for you! To comment on any of the photos, or something in this edition, click here.
Forward this edition to an April Fool. xoxo, Kristi
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