A Bald Mouse In My Belfry


France can drive one to drink.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that the Domaine de Saint Firmin is walking distance from our house, so drinking and driving isn’t a worry.  Also, this light, bright, bubbly rosé, made by the methode Champagnoise is more refreshing than intoxicating.  And while sitting with an evening glass or two, the chauve-souris, bats to us, bald mice to the French, emerge from the old building next door and fly over the pool doing their job of saving us from mosquitos.  Have I mentioned that I told the pool guy that I’d been bitten by Musketeers all night long?  Honest, the words for mosquitos and Musketeers are way too close for comfort.

Every morning as I wake up to the sound of the lone bell tolling vigorously at the nearby convent I can feel that my French has improved while I slept.  And indeed, I can now sometimes get out two or three gramatically perfect sentences in a row without choking up.  That’s the good news. The bad news is what I’ve been learning to say, stuff like “the DSL line is working but we have no idea what sort of phone we need to hook up to it to get the unlimited international calls that we think we’re paying for.”  Also “we need to buy a car with five doors, that runs on gas, with a 6 month warranty, no service problems, and that will be easy to sell back when we’re done with it.”  Or “we really need the checks from the bank account that was supposed to have been opened 10 days ago, but we can live with the fact that the ATM cards won’t be operational for another 17 days, if we have to.”   Not to mention “the shower hasn’t flooded again but now we need to have the water softener serviced,” “how is it possible that we’re buying train tickets two weeks in advance and we still won’t be able to sit together in either direction of the trip?” and “if we’re not here when you come to deliver the last suitcase, the one that’s been lost for 10 days, please leave it next door with the dog groomer who has our permission to sign for the luggage.”

It’s true that you couldn’t pay for an education like this.  It’s also probably true that no sane person would want to.  Of course, we never claimed to be sane, and how else would one arrive at the point of having the plumber sit down for a glass of wine and a little snack?

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5 Comments on “A Bald Mouse In My Belfry”

  1. Terry B Says:

    On the other hand, you’re learning much more practical French than is typically taught in school: “The hat of my uncle is in the library.”

  2. MickeyM Says:

    That’s always the case, isn’t it?

    Whether attempting to master a new language or new software, our needs are at the post-graduate level, and our abilities somewhere between pre-school and second grade.

  3. Eden Says:

    re the car, have you looked into the renault/peugeot lease programs? as a foreigner there are special rates available on shiny new cars.

    I’m fortunate that my italian lessons actually include practical stuff like plumbing and totally obscure stuff like narwhals. I’ll have to ask about musketeers next week ;->

  4. Abra Says:

    Hmm, is it better to be bitten by a narwhal, a Musketeer, or a plumber?

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