TODAY'S WORD: la fumée
panache de fumée = plume of smoke
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Le drame s'est produit quand une bûche est tombée à l'intérieur de l'insert de cheminée, faisant soulever la vitre et laissant alors toute la fumée sortir à l'intérieur de la pièce.
The drama happened when a log fell from inside the fireplace insert, causing the glass to lift and letting all the smoke go out into the room.
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
Last night I drove to the village of Ollioules to visit my friend the potter. How inspiring to learn that 5 years ago, Susan, who worked in film, had not an inkling of what would become her love affair with clay. Looking around her atelier, I was delighted to have ventured out of my own, predictable train-train, to be peering down into an exotic four à céramique, still hot from Susan's latest creation: a Mediterranean blue glaze. How to describe the glorious shade of blue?
Jean-Marc was away last night too--at a pizzeria in Cassis, with his friend Pierre. I knew he'd make it back much later than I and I did not want to return to a big empty house. So I lingered a little longer chez Susan. Finally driving up the dark, winding driveway I arrived at our old mas and was disappointed to see that Jean-Marc had forgotten to leave the interior lights on.
Then again...on closer look...there was an ethereal dimness beyond the windows.... Was that a light?
I struggled to get my key into the keyhole, dropping my jeu de clés several times. That's when I sensed the smoke! Finally opening the door, a thick white cloud billowed forth--our golden retriever rushing out from beneath it!
As my dog and I made it several meters away from the house, I turned to witness all that fumée--a smoke so thick you could see nothing beyond it. Checking to make sure our older dog was OK (how he could survive in a room that dense with smoke is a mystery. You could say our Smokey lived up to his namesake last night. And lived he did!).
In the time it took Jean-Marc to hurry back from Cassis, my sister, Heidi, kept me calm on the phone as I rushed into the house, in several short bursts, breath held tight, to open doors and windows. I also moved the lever for the chimney damper to the right.
Jean-Marc pulled into the driveway so fast his car skid several meters over the gravel. He took over right away, opening the rest of the windows in the house, before examining the scene of the drame which almost stole Smokey away from us. The accident happened when a bûche fell against the glass door pushing it open and letting the smoke go out into the room.... It eventually filled the entire house and every cubby hole!
I stayed outside comforting Smokey (or the reverse) until the house was completely clear. It was unusual to be sitting in that dark gravel driveway - the place I always hurried away from to get into the house (when returning late at night). On this night no big bad méchant loup lurked outside, but a great open sky blanketed us in peace. The rain felt good, too.
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Ollioules = a town in the Var, west of Toulon, east of Sanary-sur-Mer
le train-train = daily routine
l'atelier (m) = workshop, studio
le four à céramique = pottery kiln
Cassis - seaside town east of Marseille, just west of La Ciotat
le mas = farmhouse
la fumée = smoke
le jeu de clés = set of keys
la bûche = log
le méchant loup = big bad wolf
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