Rocket French is really helping me grasp the French language from scratch. Anyone know how or where we can write a review, or is this it, on the conversation pages? Helen
December 28, 2021
December 28, 2021
Helen, can't you just click on the spaceman in the upper right hand corner of the page, and then choose reviews?
December 29, 2021
Hi Robert, Oh dear, I don't seem to have a space-man on the top right corner of my page … he might have shot off. Is it possible please to take a screen shot or something and attach it so I can see what it looks like? Hmmm, Helen
December 29, 2021
December 30, 2021
Thank you for your helpful message with screen-shot. No, no such space-wo.man on my page; defiinitely launched off to ‘somewhere’.
I have written a note to the course tutor, hopefully they will reload.
I see you have achieved a great number of badges and points on your course Robert. Do you feel you can speak French now, hold a conversation?
I am up to the ‘on’, can string a few words together and look forward to getting my head around qui, que, Qu'est-ce que c'est, etc. Might need a brandy after that.
Sunny day at last. Your spot in, or rather on at your altitude, sounds full of fresh air. Can you see snow?,
December 30, 2021
Hi Again Robert,
Worked the review out. It seems because I wrote a note 8 years ago (gracious, well, better later learning than never), my rocket person turned into the rose I'd selected for a pic. To write a review one needs to update the original ‘message’ I gather. Does not call it a review. However, Rocket French (RF) says once the message is updated, being the review, it will be uploaded within 3 days.
I shall send feed-back suggesting that perhaps better clarity would be useful.
Whoever built the RF website has done a fabulous job though, don't you think?
December 30, 2021
Yes, I feel I can speak French, as long as ‘speaking French’ is a matter of expressing a thought that I know how to express in a familiar manner. It would be years before I could express any thought that crosses my mind in a variety of ways. My ability to ‘hold a conversation’ would depend upon who was on the other end. If someone were willing to talk to me like a child, I could probably talk all day, like a child. I should be so lucky. My language ability would take off under those circumstances, and I do intend to transition into that sort of learning situation soon.
I realized right away that no one is ever going to be able to follow spoken language word-for-word. We don't even do that in our native language. It's simply impossible to parse speech that fast, especially the way most people mumble and shmoosh words together, which, it seems, is somewhat of an art form for speakers of French. But comprehending groups of words, and translating thoughts into phrases is easier said than done. Once the foundation in vocabulary and grammar is sufficiently large, and you spend sufficient time listening and speaking, it starts to happen on it's own, but not otherwise, unless you have the privilege of learning like a child does. Also, you can't hope to comprehend fluent speech if you can't pronounce fluent speech. You have to practice saying things over and over the way that you need to be able to understand them before it becomes natural to hear them.
I've been through the first three levels twice, thouroughly, and am nearly done with my second time through Travelogues. I've always spent anywhere from 25-50% of my time each day reading about French usage or watching videos that discuss French usage. That's what all the tabs are across the top of my browser window. I have dozens of them saved. There's a lesson to be learned though, depending upon the individual, regarding an iron-clad understanding of grammar. Some grammar is easy and well worth learning, other aspects are best learned through repeated usage once the best effort is made to comprehend them. I've tried reading the counterparts in English grammar, and it melts my brain.
I think the platform is a wonderful resource, but at the same time I think it's very unfortunate that they're so nonchalant about all of the painfuly obvious mistakes in the material. Perhaps they're difficult to correct, but I just don't understand how they came to be in the first place.
I think you should feel obligated to share your experiences living in your French hamlet.
And, yes, I can see snow in the mountains. Hopefully there's going to be a lot more before long.
December 31, 2021
I find grammar scary; something of a slippery beast that never sits still. My learning preference,until now, has been 'on the street' so it is exciting to come across words such as 'Diaerisis' and 'Grave accent', pin them down at last. As for 'Cedilla', had never heard of the word, and such a pleasant one.
So I'm not so fussed on getting my French grammar down pat though should be of course. I'm more impatient, hardly surprising I suppose given I've spent over two years in this little hamlet of 18 dwellings mostly inhabited by ongoing generations of French families who speak little, well, no English.
The hamlet is very, very, quiet. A large, handsome cockrell crows before dawn, the local 'chasse hounds',hunt dogs, howl at small movements- so they don't voice often - and there are fields of alternating vivid green pastures and forests to the North, South, East and West for miles and miles. Now and then laughter can be heard between neighbours. A wooden door might shut. If three cars pass it's a hectic day.
Wednesday morning the baker van beeps her arrival before disappearing just as quickly; I call her 'The Road-Runner' - Beep-Beep. I keep my wellies, mask and purse by the door so I can pounce on her, should I be rapid enough.
Thursday afternoon the grocer van arrives at the same time with the same Phillip the friendly vendor-driver-chatterer. He stops at our Senior Matron's' house and he calmly places an apparition of goods onto his lift-up counter selling everything one could wish for. I bet if I asked for a whole live octopus he'd calmly bring one out of the shadows. It doesn't seem to matter how long a transaction takes, Phillip smiles and delivers and writes everything down in his little book, presumably for re-stocking hidey-holes.
People live a traditional life-style here, eating seasonally, sharing produce. It's quite common to find a delicious fresh something or other on the doorstep; lettuice, artichokes, newly picked mushrooms.We don't lock our doors, I don't anyway.
The sun and moon shines through my little house's velux roof top windows so, being Australian, day or night is lovely to bask under sun or star rays whilst communicating across time zones.
Having lived a flat-out happily busy life beforehand, one which I anticipate returning to, the time spenthere has been precious and obviously ideal during this pandemic, no little thanks to high speed Wifi.
There is a village 6 mins drive away, a town 22 mins away and a city an hour away to the South, West and North. I did catch a train to Bordeaux for a day, a remarkably easy feat. All things French I find are extraordinarily convoluted though - don't mention bureaucracy - except that is when it comes to trains and mail.
I carry around with me my passport, drivers licence, water bill (yes, proof of address), birth certificate(to show I'm me really, saying so is not enough), vaccination certificate and recently acquired Carte d'Sejour;showing I'm legally residing in France. Also my banking details and Oh, some spare passport photo's, never know when you're going to need one.
Tip for anyone coming to France - make copies of what you have above and carry them around with you all the time, it can save hours of driving and days of frustration needing to return with xyz; just take the lot. Especially if you want to buy a phone.
Little wonder I love living in this calm little hamlet. New French neighbours, a young family, arrived a year ago and have a new baby. Another young family have moved in down the lane. The lady across the lane from me, her Mother was born here, in my house ... and so the generations go on. Indeed, it is very nice to be able to say something in French, and show respect by making an effort to learn more French, especially having been accepted into the fold despite my eccentricities, or perhaps because of them,
December 31, 2021
That sounds like a remarkable environment, Helen. You're going to take a lot of memories away with you, except, how can you leave now that you have a residence permit? And the catering? What more could you ask for? Nightlife? Highy overated. Well, you must've had something to do to keep you busy all this time, especially if you've only felt the need to go to Bordeaux once in two years. But, in the event that you get bored, you can author a French dialogue lesson for us involving you, Phillip and la coureuse de route. We are seriously starved for real-life adventure around here and you're our only hope!
I'm guessing you've probably been getting by just fine so far with something akin to, puis-je avoir ça ?, and pointing? I know it worked for me.
If you're going to become fluent in French punctuation, you mustn't neglect the petit chapeau or the ‘e in the water’ (aka e dans l'o, aka e dans l'eau, aka œ) :)
Thanks for sharing, Helen.
January 1, 2022
Nice idea to author a French dialogue including Phillip and la coureuse de route, le coq et les chiens de chasse. But my aviating come art come working with Australian First Nation artists world is where I also belong, and need to return to. My little rural hamlet house is called ‘Kitty Kantilla Cottage’ after a reknowned Tiwi Island artist.
I have spent a few decades flying people across Arnhem Land, Kimberely and Central Australia to meet artists and familiarise visitors - and myself - with the rich cultural heritage and diversity of our our poorly understood Nation. I have not finished yet, and probably won't until my body can't move, or brain can't think, any more.
Once I've finished putting the website back up I'll let you know the site address.
Any luck and with a bit of work I'll be better able to host French art lovers across North West Australia when I finally return. Meanwhile, with Covid of course, it's best to sit. And wait. This too will pass.
Where in France would you choose to be when you come?
January 1, 2022
The origins of Aboriginal art and American blues seem to have some things in common. Rooted in everyday life, yet mysterious. The legends, a little eerie. That must be an interesting website.
You definitely owe to yourself to take advantage of this peculiar situation and up your French game. Your opportunities to host French art lovers might very well increase if you were to spend at least part of your time encouraging them to visit in French, of course.
For the purpose of visiting, I've spent the majority of my time in France in les Pyrénées and les Alpes, so I've only visited Paris, the next biggest town that I've spent the night in being Lourdes. I prefer being outside, but have seriously considered going to France in the cold season in order to spend more time in the city, minus the crowds, doing indoor stuff. Which outdoors/indoors, which city? (shrugs)
For the purpose of spending extended time? Someone's guest house, small enough that even I could keep it reasonably tidy, with a garden out front that's at least as big as the one I have here, and the landlord's horse out back. A vineyard down thataways and a big ol' flock of sheep up thataways. A train station nearby so that I could make frequent trips to the city where I would hang out and shop for things that my neighbors couldn't get locally that I would bring back with me in my overstuffed backpack.
January 2, 2022
Hello Again Robert,
I know nothing of American Blues so can't comment on commonality with Australian Indigenous art. Australian First People's art though I agree is rooted in everday life. It is, and isn't, mysterious; rather the rationale makes a lot of sense and is highly sophisticated. I find very little is eerie which, I suppose, is dependent on being open to the sixth sense.
I fully intend to return to France on a regular basis; need to given New Australians' political stances.
For visiting France in the winter I'd say Paris is a must of course for all it's gallery and music venues, the gardens, architecture and restaurants. Bordeaux and surrounds for the same, on a smaller scale, plus vinyards though Spring to Autumn would be best of course.
Your choice of time in France in someone's guest house would be easily granted I would think in places like Dordogne or Provence. Not sure about the horsey part but bet you'd find an equestrian someone without too much trouble.
Back to Rocket French - where would I find the ‘Travelogue’ part? I've looked through the modules in the first Level, can't find it. What Level are you on? I haven't started another Levels yet, still in baby steps … I see you have thousands and thousands of ‘points’ and a very handsome Black Hero star, well done you!
January 2, 2022
Travelogues is a separate purchase, Helen. I seem to recall that there's a little sampling of it somewhere, but otherwise, you can't see it. It's like a massive review of the first three levels, with a lot of new vocabulary included. I'm sure it's done, but I wouldn't recommend Travelogues without a thorough understanding of the first three levels or the equivalent. Aside from some silliness in the first few lessons, there are no explanations whatsoever in Travelogues. If all one intends to do is just ‘memorize how to say some stuff’, then I guess it's as good a place as any. But if someone is the least bit interested in why things are said the way they are, I would expect them to be completely lost in Travelogues without the requisite background. By the time I finished writing this whole thing, it occurred to me that some of the lessons in the first three levels are insufferable. Travelogues is never like that.
Those are hard-earned points, Helen. Seven days a week since early August, 2020. For most of the first three levels, I typically spent 12-13 hours on the larger lessons, and maybe 5 hours on the teenie ones. Quite a bit more if counting all the time I spend reading on the internet. When I reviewed entire modules, I probably spent as much as half that much time again on each lesson. For a long time, I figured I was accumulating points at the rate of 200/hr on the platform. Now, the points come faster because I don't spend so much time scratching my head, and spend a lot more time reciting stuff that I already know, fluently - whether the recorder likes it or not, although I always throw it the bone that it expects before going on. I still spend a lot of time reading on the internet, as well as, writing in French to test my ability to say things that I haven't necessarily seen before. Have I mentioned that I hate flashcards? Holy Cats! Is there anything on this earth, other than listening to my sister talk, that's more boring than flashcards?
I do appreciate whatever insights you're interested in sharing about your experiences living in France. Like, what do the people that live in your hamlet do for a living?
January 3, 2022
Thank you for sharing your Rocketing background, very interesting. Also for the Travelogue information. Je suis impressionné par notre engagement. Is there a group of French speakers near you to parle with? I expect you can watch French films and understand most everything said …
The hamlet I live in consists of two main farmers; one organic the other more harsh and mechanical. Each has tractors and bailers and cattle. Pas de chevaux ,ni de moutons. One farmer has a massive solar panel over his massive shed, the other small old barns and large coverings; one tractor shed being next to Kitty (ma maison). The first time the harvester was dropped off Kitty's foundations shook; I thought there was an earthquake only to find the farmhands grinning at my rapid exit.
Three houses are owned by UK residents who use their places for holidays. Two houses are professional hunters with all the rifle gear, dogs, vans and jackets that go with shooting innocent creatures (wild deer and boar are scattered throughout). Two houses have families with both parents out to work, make that three. Two house owners are retirees, relatives of the farmers. One fellow runs his house as an Airbnb, I stayed there while Kitty had her 500 year old beams wood-wormed and oiled and walls painted recently, I'm still moving back in. I accept the fact that these old houses need constant soins et entretien.
That leaves about five other dwelling, I do not know the inhabitants. I do not venture out much. When I arrived Je n'étais pas une fille bien pendant plus d'un an, donc l'isolement et la paix étaient parfaits. Je suis sur la bonne voie pour le rétablissement complet, hourra.
Several cats seem to thrive in an alternative The Matrix (film) style of existance. I am not a cat lover and they know it. However some of their antics make me laugh as they tip-toe around (through?) Kitty making sure I see them,
January 4, 2022
Je vois, Helen. Eh bien, quelle que soit votre situation, j'espère que cela continuera à s'améliorer. C'est intéressant ce que vous dites à propos de vos voisins, car lorsque j'étais en Italie, dans les montagnes des Apennins, je me demandais comment un petit fermier pouvait se permettre une si belle maison.
Ils m'ont dit que la maison appartenait probablement à un riche allemand. Je ne sais pas. Dans l'ensemble, votre quartier me semble un exemple très éclectique et moderne de la France rurale. Très agréable! Tout ce qu'il faut maintenant c'est un vignoble et un grand troupeau de moutons !
In my experience, being able to follow the dialogue in a French movie represents the pinnacle of listening comprehension. I would be completely lost without the French subtitles. It's worth noting that, like a lot of people in the States, I can't watch a British movie without English subtitles either. (Fortunately, I have no problem understanding English/Irish/Welsh stand-up comics.) I've had more success watching French children's programming, where the speech is fairly fluent, but the dialogue and plot are simpler, making it easier to keep up. It's not hard to pick up on a few of the characteristics of spoken French from the recordings, but there are some French pronunciation YouTube videos by a fellow named Pascal that describe, in detail, precisely what transformations take place. On a side note, an acquaintance from Quebec told me that movies made there have subtitles for French viewers in France.
I don't know any French speakers anymore. They've all moved away. And these days it hardly makes sense to go around looking for French-speaking strangers. However, this is an issue that definitely needs attention at this point. Have you been wondering where your French might be today if it wasn't for your 8-yr hiatus?
I used to call my yard the kitty savanna, until the fox showed up last summer. Now, I suspect they all tend to stay closer to their own homes.
January 4, 2022
Yes, sort of wondered where my French language speaking would be if I had continued when first started Rocket French 8 years ago. But I rather think on how much more I'm understood now I've been in France these two years, and any exposure is all progress one way or another. I'm finding the updated RF easier to follow now, perhaps too because of having some basic words under my belt.
One thing that has been drummed in living here is one must always say ‘Bonjour’ or ‘Bonsoir’ when meeting people before launching in to whatever it is you want to say. Even if there's a fire and needing to call for help I bet we need to say ‘Bonjour’ before ‘Fire!’.
Where is your nearest town, city Robert?
Ah no, no wineries and only the rare sheeps can be seen about; lamb is an expensive food here, not like in Australia. But we've lots of small lakes meticulously cared for and stocked with fish. People come for fishing holidays, locals go for calm angling days. The lakes are pristine as regulations for lake cleaning are well set. The local Marie, Council, oversees the closing of roads when syphoning out is to occur when there isn't a form of lock-shutter-sluice-gate. Fish are scooped into large portable pools for counting. After the water is released the lake bottoms are cleared of debris and fallen branches and then refilled . I bet the fishies are happy to get back.
There is a large lake near Kitty well known for it's size and portioned off area for swimming, with another area for baby ski'ing. No, I don't mean using babies to ski on, I mean small children can hold on to a bar jutting from a slowish moving boat and have a little ski themselves. All very idyllic. Haven't swum myself, yet.
With all your practice and French language skill what do you intend to do next? Keep RF'ing? I hope next year to enrol in a University online beginners course that is advertised to include history and culture. I like listening to French history podcasts and will try and keep going with RF, mix up the exposure.
A good thing about Netflix French films and subtitles is the replay don't you think?
January 5, 2022
Bonjour, tout à fait, Helen ! I stayed at a hotel in La Grave, and when I said, Bonjour, to the owner, he gruffly replied, “You don't have to Bonjour me, I'm from _______.” Quelle orgueil ! I was so shocked, I didn't speak to anyone at the hotel for the rest of my stay.
Il y a trois grandes villes au Nouveau Mexique : Santa Fe, Las Cruces et Albuquerque. La dernière ville est la plus proche de moi. Le roadrunner est notre oiseau d'état, et on les voit toujours dans les quartiers ! L'été dernier mon voisin a vu le renard courir sur la route avec un roadrunner dans sa bouche ! Pauvre roadrunner !
I'm sure there's a perceived economic benefit to keeping your lakes in pristine condition, but it's great that they also see the value of investing the resources in ways that preserve the overall quality of life, as opposed to, fighting over whatever's-in-it-for-me.
RF is still useful, but, at this point, I feel that conversation - at the appropriate level, of course - is the only way this stuff is really going to get stuck-in properly. Next, I'd like to find myself a French-speaking online au-pair, that will talk with me in fluent French like only my very own nanny would, so that I might actually get the hang of this.
History and culture is a very big deal at the Defense Language Institute in California. They say it's the only way you can really appreciate the nuances of the language. Watching videos regarding life in the DLI should be mandatory for people who fantasize about how many weeks till they're ‘fluent’ on 30 min/day.
January 5, 2022
Have been looking at the New Mexico map, Wow, what a name, Truth or Consequence, for a city. I see you are near or perhaps in Navajo country. What beautiful cultural designs the Navajo have. I know nothing of the people; it would be a priviledge to have a conversation with someone from the Nation. I would expect the tempo is different to English & French speakers, where the pace politely allows time to listen and hear, like Australian Indigenous peoples.
I bet if you put the word out there would be a French person willing to hold a conversation every day, moyennant des frais bien sûr. The Defense Language Institute might know someone though you would have thought of that … California seems a long way away, and Phew, Los Angels a 11.5 hr drive from Alburquerque.
What is DLI?
Yes, investment in the overall quality of life is very important here. Fresh bread daily, varieties of cheeses and cured meats daily, and of course wine. I have observed wine being drunk at meals where one bottle is plenty enough for six at the table, it being sipped as compliment to the food rather than drunk in quantities.
Some of the cheeseboards are fabulous enough in themselves to just ook at aren't they, and when garnished and wheeled out on a large trolley in a restaurant I love to gaze over all the goats cheese soft and semi hard, ‘vash’ (cow) cheeses, creamy, hard-hard, holes no holes, white, yellow … just this is enough to want to stay in France forever - without even having a bite!,
January 5, 2022
Truth or Consequences isn't much of a city - barely a town, in the middle of nowhere. It's normally called TorC, and it's name was originally Hot Springs. In 1950, the host of a popular radio quiz show said he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Voila! The thinking in New Mexico is frequently difficult to relate to. The influence of Navajo/Pueblo art is everywhere. It defines the culture more than any other thing except perhaps, Chile/New Mexican food. Unfortunately, Navajo country as a whole is very often a stark reminder of the dreadful treatment of indigenous people in this country.
I know what you mean about the mere sight of the food. I was passing through Bédoin and happened upon a street fair with countless booths containing the most amazing selection of foods that I've ever seen anywhere. I couldn't imagine how long it would take me just to sample everything that was there. Weeks.
The only reason I mentioned the Defense Language Institute (DLI) was because of the emphasis that they place upon history and culture in the language training. Other than that, it's largely irrelevant for us mere mortals. The applicants are repeatedly tested just to assess their ability prior to admission. They're in class 6 hrs/day, 5 days/wk, and they study until they go to bed. One guy in a video said they didn't speak English after the first week, and that he knew he'd become fluent when he started dreaming in the foreign language. The results that those gifted people realize from their training at the DLI is where the silly notions that float around the internet regarding how long it takes to become ‘fluent’ come from.
I shouldn't have much problem finding a French-speaking nanny to talk with since I'm perfectly willing to pay for the privilege. I would just have to find the person with the right mix of knowledge/personality, and if they happened to be in France, overcome the 8-hr time difference.
I had a bit of fun at a hotel restaurant once. I had eaten on the train, so I was just sitting at the small bar all evening listening to the hostess greet diners. She said pretty much the same things to everyone. So, the next day, I memorized a French script that I conjured up so that I could have a conversation with her in French. I started out by telling her how hungry I was, in French, of course, and from then on she was completely fooled right up until I ran out of lines. The morale is, it would be really helpful just to be able to hang about and listen to people talk in different situations, and then just wade in and out of conversations - all day, every day.
January 6, 2022
Très froid aujourd'hui. Un voyage au village voisin ce matin pour des fournitures a vu de la glace à travers les champs et sur la route. Les champs verts normalement purs sont un labyrinthe de teintes blanches, jaunes et vertes brillantes, all very beautiful. Mostly the cows steadily munching the paddocks are Limousine, a breed of highly muscled beef cattle originating from the Limousin (next door departement) and Marche regions. Sometimes Friesians are seen in small clusters, probably for milking. There are also French Simmental, originally from Switzerland, and Charolais, a beef breed from Charolais, around Charolles in France. A voisin has a melange in one of his or her fields. All seem nice and plump and content no matter what the season. This morning two mothers with two sweet young calves were laying close facing the sun with its warming rays. They looked like they were having a lovely time under the clear bright light-blue sky. I wish I could understand what they were saying to each other in inaudible French Bovine, probably something like ‘I don’t know, those humans, they never sit still and chew the cud do they'.
Six hour language class immersion five days a week is pretty full-on isn't it. Not sure I'd like that even if I had the learning ability. But should it come to art classes and art history, yes, Oh to have the chance - though it's up to us to make our chances … I'm planning to enrol in a ‘Certificate of Higher Education’ in September, all online. Visual arts first, then Modern art, then academic literacy and then beginners French through to intermediate with a dash of the Classics thrown in. I'm hoping the RF study will help with the rather formal French language learning at Oxford, and that the French language will help in the arts.
I hope you are double vaxxed and boosted? The medical system here is very good, once you get the hang of it - I'm still grappling - but have been properly cared for which is kind, and efficient.
I must try that listening in to people speaking trick. I'll order a coffe at an outdoor cafe', hide behind a newspaper, pretend I'm Jane Bond,
January 6, 2022
Helen, you are sounding less and less stuck, and more and more settled in, all the time.
Je pensais que vous pourriez peut-être monter dans le camion d'épicerie avec Philip. Vous pourriez admirer les paysages par la fenêtre pendant que Phillip vous raconte des histoires sur la vallée. Et vous pourriez écouter pendant que vous l'aidez avec ses clients !
Phillip : Helen, pourriez-vous apporter le poisson pour madame ?
Helen : Oui, bien sur !
Helen : Voila pour madame !
Phillip : C'est quoi tout ça ? J'ai dit, du poisson, pas des boissons !
Helen : Oops.
January 7, 2022
THAT sounds like a good idea Robert, hop in the van with Philip. Yes, I bet he has a lot of stories to tell and knows a great deal about qui est qui fait quoi où quand. I have heard it said that everything one does is known about in the village and into the next town. Patience and acceptance seems to be a big thing along with inquisitivness, and not stepping foot on other people's property unless purposely visiting.
I am very much looking forward to a trip to Paris to see friends and visit the galleries. Ile de France has a ‘flu epidemic at the moment and our Covid numbers are well up so I’ll stop in Kitty until the Omicron stats are better understood; last thing Hospitals need is another ‘at risk’ patient spluttering in.
Paris is a 4.5 hr train journey. It will be wonderful to sit in front of Corbet, Hodgkin, Raphael again, and Oh My Goodness, go out for dinner!
At this stage my flight back to Darwin Australia is going ahead late February though, after 7 attempts I might just pospone the flight myself this time. I came over to visit galleries, art institutions and clients in Europe then to see family and friends in the UK. Managed none of it to date, but none the less feel fortunate considering how truly tough this pandemic is for so many.
All is silent in the hamlet bar for a oiseau just now; the only sound is the sound of no sound at all. Great time for books.
Chance et bonheur, now there's another name for a city. Polyanna could live there,
January 7, 2022
I had been travelling quite a bit in the winter of '19/'20, and had a number of trips planned for the remainder of the year. Although disappointed, I was pretty grateful that the timing wasn't such that I was to get ‘stuck’ in Europe. Like a good citizen, I've resigned myself to the limits of the county line ever since, and have been fortunate that the neighborhood has actually become closer. Everyone is current, still, we don't venture into one another's houses, but drink wine on porches and take turns exchanging dinners at the property line.
Anyway, it appears as though what has started out, for you, as my nightmare, has turned, more or less, into my dream. So, I somehow manage to forget that you're just as 'stuck' as everyone else - although you just happen to be stuck in France - and are unable to do much of anything, just as I feel I can't in this country. Although, there are plenty of people running around in this country like it's a free day at Disneyland, just like I'm sure there are in Europe.
J'ai quelques questions:
Le petit hameau - c'etait votre destination originale ? Ou, avez-vous trouvé votre chemin plus tard ?
Que s'est-il passé quand vos quatre-vingt-dix jours ont expiré ? Comment avez-vous obtenu votre permis de séjour ? Avez-vous postulé tout de suite, ou non ?
Si vous rentrez à la maison (Australia), reviendrez-vous à Kitty ?
January 8, 2022
Drat! I just re-read my post and realized that I used the wrong verb. It should be retournerez-vous à Kitty,
plutôt que reviendrez-vous à Kitty, since I, myself, am not currently at Kitty.
January 8, 2022
Another overcast cold day over here and I see Alburquerque has been around the minus one aswell. I had associated New Mexico with deserts rather than ski resorts; how little I know.
Where does Roadrunner live in the winter? He can't keep speed up out of foxes way all day and night, although … there again …
Monsieur M. is coming in his little white van this morning, trailor in tow bearing chestnut wood to burn. At least I hope so, I'm out of logs. But I can cheat the cold a bit with one electric blanket on the armchair and another softy over my lap and play kangaroo Joey's. Then never want to get up.
Definitely not a winter person.
Foresting is a fine-honed skill in this neck of the woods. A few acres at a time are planted with trees so when it's time to chop them down for building material only a small patch of land is visibly scarred. Long logs are piled neatly on a field beside a fence by a road. A big lorry with a crane-thing comes along and hoiks the pile over the fence onto the back of his truck. All very neat and tidy. The deforested area is scraped up of it's debris, which is chopped into firewood, and the field re-planted.
Somehow the logs seem to obey the order by all being the same shape and length and colour. The chopped firewood pieces are stacked to age and dry in descreet places for a couple of years before ready to burn.
Me? Born in Bristol UK, a painter turned nurse turned pilot before leaving for Australia to work with and for Indigenous artists in remote communities. Returned to Bristol for a holiday and friends invited me to France. I was shown Kitty for my accommodation and was asked if I would like to buy her as I stepped over her threshold. I said “Yes”. 2006.
I come back once a year or two years. Last time was after 5 yrs having got chopped up a bit like Monsieur M.'s logs. Quite handy being titanium.
Ooh, here comes M.M. Helen
January 8, 2022
Je vois. Vous êtes une expatriée maintenant - échouée dans une oasis !
Le climat au Nouveau Mexique varie selon la latitude et l'altitude. Las Cruces, à l'extrémité sud (1200m.), n'est pas très froid en hiver, mais très chaud en été. Santa Fe, Taos, Angel Fire (2200m-2600m) sont généralement les endroits où les gens vont skier dans les montagnes (3700m-3800m). Wheeler Peak (le point culminant) est à une altitude de 4000m. La température à albuquerque est douce en hiver. Normalement, en janvier, -2C (à la nuit) et 9C (dans l'après-midi). Il faisait 15C hier.
I had the occasion, many years ago, to learn a technical skill as part of a research position that I had at the University. It was such that my global contemporaries were, literally, in the process of inventing the field, and I went on to master it. I spent the rest of my career doing some research, but mainly teaching the techniques to others. It was very rewarding since a) it was very difficult for everyone except me. b) nearly everyone I ever worked with was very appreciative of my method. c) I almost always looked forward to the company of the fine people that I worked with. d) No bureaucrats bothered me because I was deemed essential and irreplaceble. As with all of my past obsessions in life, I tend to move on because some negative aspect grows proportionally over time, so that once I leave it behind, I prefer not to dwell on it. I'd rather just keep moving (hopefully) forward. Unfortunately, this virus has shot my forward to hell, just like it has for so many.
January 9, 2022
Your work sounds so interesting. What in particular is the technical skill that you mastered? And I wonder which University you worked within mainly?
Thank you for your mountain place names, heights and temps. You describe Alburquerque as douce at -2C but to me, coming from hot humid Darwin, that's cold. I've never experienced cold cold and not sure how I'd cope with it; I have imaginings of falling over stiffly like the Colston statue in Bristol.
Are you originally from New Mexico? Drinking wine on porches and taking turns to exchange dinners at property lines sounds very civilized, especially whilst looking toward mountains and in open fresh air.
Covid is a leveler isn't it, good and bad. Whilst concerned for others I haven't minded the stop, breathe. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Yesterday I printed out photo's of family and friends to put about as a daily reminder of usual company.
Once the pandemic has settled, and it will if it accords with history won't it, what is your next ‘move forward’? Mine is to get more physically mobile and pass the medical required to get back in the cockpit albeit non-commercially this time. Attend a summer school at Oxford; how fab. would that be. Whilst searching for pics. to print I came across all sorts of flying machines with me at the stick, under, or on wings. Not on the wing while flying, I mean refuelling. Flying is something I must not think about at the moment or I'll flip with frustration. Nooo, much better to keep calm, keep working on the building back blocks.
One of the things I love about Kitty's hamlet is the small central gathering space in it's centre. Four houses surround the oval, one each side with lanes between. The area has recently been named, as has Kitty's own chemin. We've even got house numbers! Though I did rather like not having one.
Place de l'aviateur is the name of our 'CBD', i.e. Philip's stopping spot. It is named after allies parachuted in during the war to aid the The Maquis. Germans came looking for the men but they successfully hid in the eastern house's attic. Two thirds of the house is owned by a (now) English friend, the other third by the daughter who's Mother was born in Kitty. Both dwellings have one side of an 'A' shaped toiture; well, the French family has a bit of one side. Looks funny.
It is not unusual for different parts (with an 's') of one house in France to be owned by several different people, often making conveyancing a rather drawn out affair as you can imagine.
Kitty is just beside and above an underground tunnel that dates back to the Crusaders so her chemin has been called 'rue de Sauterraine' (sounds like saw-trang). Apparently this souterraine runs some 5 kms, out into the fields. There is a cavern large enough to hide a few cattle locals say. Getting these precious beasts out of sight was the only way villagers could keep their stock from the grasping raiders; what fraught times those must have been. No-one is allowed down there anymore as it's not safe.
Perhaps it might be possible to see dopplar imagery one day and who knows, might find Trésor! Some tenacious stone-working away anyway,
January 9, 2022
Comme j'ai dit plus tôt, j'ai quitté la Pennsylvanie pour la Californie. Par un étrange coup du sort (une expression intéressant pour vous) j'ai fini ici, a Nuevo Mexique. Il vous faut revoir le premier fil que tu as lancé !
Votre hameau est très intéressant par la manière dont son histoire et ses modes de vie traditionnels ont été conservés. Je me demande comment le hameau se comparerait à l'image que vous avez été peignant dans ma tête.
Quand j'étais jeune, je jouais dans les bois derrière ma maison et dans le champ de maïs en bas de la route.
Maintenant, Google Maps montre que les bois sont un centre commercial et le champ de mais est un petit hopital !
Honestly, I have no idea if/when this health crises will end. Furthermore, it has thrown my life so far off track, I'm having a difficult time imagining getting back to anything like the way *I* was before. It's just beginning to seem like such a long time ago. Needless to say, the difficulties that it presents to me pale in comparison to the way it has affected so many others, including yourself.
Avec ça en tete, j'espère que quoi que vous decidez (rester a france ou rentrer à Australia) vous pourrez être heureuze dans votre mode de vie.
January 10, 2022
Reviewed first thread and your mention of PA, California and flat tyre. We are but seed-pods tossed down the river of life.
Here's more on the eddy that is Kitty's hamlet: In the village 7 minutes drive away is a restaurant which, for several years, was renowned for being Michelin 5 Star. Do you have the same tip-top scoring category system in USA?
J'y ai déjeuné il y a une dizaine d'années un dimanche pluvieux. Ce fut une belle surprise de découvrir que non seulement le déjeuner était à moitié prix ce jour-là, mais qu'il était servi sur des assiettes lisses et magnifiquement peintes à la main. L'ambiance était légère mais sérieuse et la nourriture était bien sûr exquise.
The restaurant procures its produce locally and the nearby farm suppliers' names are acknowledged on the menu. It was here that I wickedly thought on wheeling the cheese trolley out the back door before anyone could notice. Only, everyone would have noticed given its grand size and gastronomic lure. And if I had got away with it then people will have noticed an oddly shaped human lying on the grass afterward with a very large wedge-of-cheese shaped mound for a tummy - and hopefully called an ambulance rather than the gendarmes.
It is possible to visit a number of these farms, one is a local herdsman where I go carrying my small milk churn bought from a junk shop. Washed, the farmer fills it from a tap at the bottom of a huge aluminium vat. He's got nice shiny white rubber boots and a white coat to match. His big smile shows teeth that outdoes them both.
Another farmer has ducks and sells pate'. Off-put for years by the method with which poor ducks are force-fed, now, having been in pate' paysage, it doesn't seem so bad, not on this farm anyway. Ducks come up voluntarily for their food and a soft rubber tube is used to fill their gullets while their tails waggle with enthusiasm. I'm still not 100% sure about this over-feeding business, but do like pate' has to be said. Surtout les riches saveurs crémeuses ici où tout le canard est pris très au sérieux. Même leurs amitiés.
With your outdoor interests and 3300 meter mountains on your doorstep I imagine refreshing hillside walks and marvellous vistas. Maybe you come across Californian Earth Cuckoo's nests! I was just reading their ancestors fossils have been found as far back as 33,500 years. That's a long time to keep running,
January 10, 2022
Love the river metaphor, Helen. It used to be my home away from home.
And the image of you trooping off with your metal milk can, itself, one of the original relics from l'île de Guernesey, no doubt, could fairly well substitute for un troupeau de moutons.
Oui, je connais les étoiles de Michelin. Il y en a une très courte liste en ligne de ceux qui sont aux États Unis. Je n'ai pas eu le plaisir. Mais je le ferais certainement à moitié prix ! Maintenant, je survis avec un régime de français, d'exercice et des morceaux de tartes de ma voisine.
I'm with you on the issue of pâté - hard to reconcile, hard to resist.
Alors, Helen, il semble que vous travaillez beaucoup sur RF. Comment allez-vous avec vos cours de français ?
Trouvez-vous que votre séjour en France vous a aidé d'une manière ou d'une autre avec votre français ?
I took a wild swing yesterday with, ... l'image que vous avez été peignant dans ma tête. Not!
Apparently there's no way to literally duplicate have been + ('ing form of verb) in French. If there is, I can't find it. So, I'm going to go with, ... l'image que vous êtes en train de peinturer dans ma tête, instead.
January 11, 2022
How precious neighbours are. And how delicious I bet your neighbour's pies are too, and yours, if you bake. Do you? What do New Mexicans put in their pies? No, don't tell me Roadrunner. And anyway, what little meat there might be would be well spring-wired, I hope.
I have a neighbour couple, actually from Belgium, who are retired delicatessens. I am thoroughly spoilt for saveurs richesses et une variété d'aliments. Petit bio indépendant agriculteurs, ce sont aussi d'excellents cuisiniers et chefs, j'ai été initié à toutes sortes de sauces et vinaigrettes, des plats de fruits de mer - les coquilles Saint-Jacques étant importantes par ici car sur l'un des chemins de Compostelle - et, oh mon Dieu, les desserts six étoiles.
On a daily basis though my neighbour's meals are mostly plain fare of bread and cheese, sausage, or a simple delicious steak with salad, saving savouries for special occasions. This New Year's Eve's a seven course supper, on a beautifully laid table with colours and sparkles that matched the Christmas tree, was one such time. Tellement heureux.
Yes, I am finding RF very helpful; not quite as much as Google Translate for everyday workings out, but more than Google Translate for pronunciation and grammar which, as mentioned before, is a bit tricky having not studied, let alone understood, grammar before.
Living in France is helpful, naturally. Being immersed in the way of life, albeit isolated and rural, is still a valuable cultural insight. Picking out verbal repetitions and trying to match them to actions can be annoying or fun, especially when getting it wrong. I'm not always successful in being polite but a smile and a "desolé" seems to soothe waters troubled. The "Bonjour" bit first, with a pause, helps, a lot.
And when I come across someone who is straight up rude to me, as the French do like to be to the English, for very good reason, having witnessed the horrendous behaviour of some wode-faced visitors, my come-back in French "Excusez-moi, pourquoi êtes-vous si impoli avec moi?" arrests the address. When I sense an oncoming onslaught before a word is spoken (must be something to do with my attire), I fling hands in the air like someone captive and say "Je suis Australien!" The French like Ausrtalians, or did before the submarine submersion and Novaxx Djokovic's hold-up.
Do tell me more about your special technical skill, I am intrigued. Or, I can wait until Palya Art's website and contact form is back online and am email-able. I'm not that hard to find on google it transpires,
January 11, 2022
Helen, in keeping with the theme of French and your experiences living in le hameau, what the world wants to know is (drum roll), what are the 10 phrases/sentences/expressions that you've either heard most frequently, and/or, found the most useful to you during your time there. Bonjour, desolé and Pourquoi êtes-vous si impoli avec moi (love it!) have already been accounted for. And you might consider embellishing, Je suis Australienne !, with, Merci de ne pas me détester !
I do cook, but have never baked so much as a pop-tart. Which is not to say that I never put anything in the oven, just not bakery things. I'm so unaccustomed to baked goods that I can easily make a brilliant piece of pie last four days. I got panettones from Italy for all the adults on my Christmas list, including five different 500g panettones for myself. I've been eating them for weeks and still have a ways to go. I really like them, but sometimes I go days without a slice. Fortunately they're ‘best-by’ March/April. Quelles merveilleuses inventions, les panettones!
Je commence à comprendre pourquoi vous n'avez pas quitté votre Kitty. Votre vie dans cet endroit n'est pas si mal après tout.
Avez-vous déjà remarqué la similitude entre les mots, saveur et sauveur ou sauveteur ? Coïncidence intéressante ?
J'avais jamais entendu de les chemins de Compostelle. Très intéressants.
January 12, 2022
Okay, ten most commonly used short phrases, then it's your turn!:
Bonjour, Desolé, Pourquoi êtes-vous si impoli avec moi, and will add Merci de ne pas me détester!
Excuse en moi
Parle doucement s'il vous plaît (and repeat, several times)
Comment allez vous?
Où est-il? (though now realise I should say "où est-ce?")
Je ne comprends pas!
But I have had several conversations with people where I hear myself speaking French quite well. But then see the eyes of my co-converser gently glaze over.
Good that you like Pannettones then. J'aime les boîtes dans lesquelles ils entrent. Wondering how you got that lot back in your Italian rucksac ... Have never heard of a pop-tart and finding Kellog's pic. of one pense que je vais en rester là. Perhaps 'baking' is the wrong word; cooking might be better. I can cook and do and don't. At the moment it's slow hearty hots ontop the wood-burner, maintenant j'ai à nouveau du bois. Cette charge de châtaigne brûle beaucoup plus lentement et plus chaudement so Kitty is back toasty warm.
Ha Haaa, I can hear the baker van come! And go. "Beep-Beep" just disappeared down the lane ...
Do you receive https://www.connexionfrance.com/ ? I find the site useful for practical matters and for insights into things French. There is a quarterly paper paper that comes with the subscription which I enjoy. In the last edition I read that this year will see the start of TGVmax, a Euro79 ticket for seniors which allows the holder to go anywhere cities to cities in France, for a week. Also, by 2030 it is proposed there will be 10 overnight international trains, city to various cities, like Venice. Before that, a high speed rail link Bordeaux to London. I rather like the idea of all of those trains.
La vie à Kitty n'est pas mal du tout et je lui en suis reconnaissant. It's just that my more normal, active life with friends, back in the deserts, across the Top End, Kimberley, is left in limbo. Seulement le toucher et l'odorat, la vue et l'ouïe le fera. Je dois rentrer. And I need to feel those smooth running propellers whirling again as distant dwellings loom up from the horizon. I miss the freedom of being miniscule in vastness.
Flavour and saviour and lifesaver all point to the high appreciation of an epicurien lifestyle doesn't it. I'm all for it, Go France!
January 12, 2022
I'm not the one who's immersed in France, and who said anything about short?
Aside from the common courtesies, I basically lived on puis-je avoir ça, while pointing, when I was in France.
Also, pouvez-vous m'aider.
Cependant, il y a environ deux ans, j'ai mémorisé, 'pouvez-vous parler plus lentement pour que je puisse vous comprendre.' Évidemment, j'espérais apprendre le français un jour. (something similar is in an RF lesson somewhere)
I used to say à la prochaine at work.
One day I said, “c'est bon de vous voir” , to a guy who spoke French
and he said, “qu'est-ce que tu m'a dit ?”
and I said, “what?”
and he said, “what did you say?”
and I said, “I said, what?” ... you get the picture.
Are you familiar with the “Who's on first?” routine? It went like that for a while.
I like, je vais en rester là. That's a good one to know.
êtes-vous en train de dire que vous cuisinez et vous chauffez seulement au bois ?
Tout a fait, les trains sont géniaux !
As with most any place that I'd like to be right now, what would be the point - right now?
(FedEx plutôt que sac à dos à Noël)
January 13, 2022
Belle journée ensoleillée aujourd'hui. Frais, vif et lumineux
Yes, I am only cooking on the top of the wood-burner at the moment. Not because I have to but because I want to, seeing as the heat has a particularly steady depth that seems to keep food hotter longer. Je ne sais pas, d'une manière ou d'une autre, la nourriture a aussi meilleur goût. Also, save power; climate & all that.
I'll share a recipe - Soak large white butter beans overnight, let them boil on wood-burner for an hour or until al dente and drain. When hungry I faire revenir l'oignon, le gingembre et les piments rouges,ouvrez un bocal de ratatouille qui contient beaucoup d'aubergene et mélangez le tout. Lasts 2-3 days. Je pourrais faire frire un peu de bacon à ajouter avec un bol un jour, fromage le lendemain.
My delicatessen friends, W&MJ, have long made friends with a family of pink pigeons who live in the large tree by their back door. Everyone is called 'Fi Fi'. The parent pair usually have two broods a year and are spoilt with fresh corn seed every day spread by W&MJ onto an ancient garden stone.
C'est mon travail heureux, quand W&MJ s'en va, de les nourrir. Je crie "Fi Fi, Fi Fi" viens le chercher! Allez, mange! I would have thought my shouts would frighten them away but they swoop from roof top to roof top in excitement. Their wings make particular whooshing sounds whose changes in pitch I'm sure are a form of communication.
The parents would come right up and eat out of my hand but, last year Fi Fi came to a in inglorious but glamorous end being found in permanent sleep amongst the roses. We don't know if a cat or partridge got her, but got her it did. Maintenant ce sont les jeunes qui viennent manger, seulement ils sont timides.
I'll be feeding them for the next few days so will be trotting over in warm boots and long coat with time to sit and talk to the birds. Better brush my hair first though, camouflage the nest look.
I bet in the Spring Rachael, Kitty's sparrow tenant, will come back. Goodness only knows where she goes in winter but she makes a happy racket returning to her rafters. She will come out and chatter with me and pop back in. C'est agréable de partager la maison avec quelqu'un, surtout quelqu'un de si joyeux,
If you had to spend two years in one local proximity in France where would that be, and what would you do?
January 13, 2022
Le temps de s'asseoir et de parler avec tous les oiseaux ? Vous feriez mieux de camoufler votre nid, Helen, sinon vous pourriez finir avec une tiare de pigeons roses ! Haha.
Les oiseaux sont cool.
Les pigeons roses sont en voie de disparition, n'est-ce pas ?
je pense à faire mon premier cassoulet de poulet un de ces jours. Nous verrons.
Scary thought being in France for two years right now - unless it's at the place I described previously, wherever that is. Although, maybe not so scary as being locked up in this country with all of these nutjobs.
January 14, 2022
Yes, well, didn't want to mention the political state of the US. So many lovely, intelligent people
living there ,but 'Nutjobs' is a good word to describe the rest. As for the brazenly bizzare behaviour in
fausting Fauci it just boggles the mind.
Yes, pink pigeons are endangered I read. FiFi's can't be the real pink pigeon breed then. They are
pigeons and they are pink, but not as pink as the pictures I see of classified pink pigeons ... hmmm,
I'll see if I can do a proper identification.
There is a course I would like to attend that delves into the history of the Routes of Santiago de
Compostela. Four symbolic routes departed from Paris, Vezelay, Le Puy and Aries and still cross France
to head over the Pyrenees. Kitty's local village is on one of the routes, as mentioned. Along the roads
sprang up places to stay, eat, Hospitals, monasteries.
Back in the 11th Century one such monastery, the Abbey de la Peyrouse, about a 15 km. from Kitty, was
born. I visited the place, now flat fields with remnants of walls and pathways. Standing in the now
untended fields looking closely, one can follow the creek that trickles at the base of a tree'd hill. The eye
travels up and up along and slowly hidden stone trellises come into view. Water has been steered
to flow down onto a hollowed heavy boulder, forming a fresh water fountain base. The silence and peace
amid the sound of running water is still beautiful. Even after 900 years the sense of spirit and soul, love and
labour hangs in the air, seeping through every atom.
When Kitty was built, some 500 yrs ago, one of the stones from this, by then ruined, Abbey,
was placed over her front door. I did a bit of research lately:
The lintel was most likely carved by the Cistercians monks at Abbey de la Peyrous, starting 1098.
So far, researching with scholars, I have come up with the following possible interpretation
of the symbols running left to right:
Doorway, entrance in. Or a Temple
Tree of life or a Christ cross
Sacred flower of life
Abbey of God
Although I am not religious by any means, I'd like to interpret the symbols as meaning 'Welcome Live Learn
& Grow in this Building of God’
January 14, 2022
Je ne crois pas que tous les pigeons roses soient exactement roses. Vous vous occupez peut-être d'un troupeau inconnu de pigeons roses ! Juste au cas où, vous devez prendre bien soin des pigeons.
C'est un plaisir de lire les descriptions et l'histoire du lieu où vous vivez, Helen. Vous êtes très gentil de vouloir les partager avec les moins fortunés (y compris moi). J'espère que vous ne manquerez pas d'histoires.
En parlant de nourriture, avez-vous vu une bûche de noël à noël depuis que vous vivez en france ?
January 15, 2022
Ho Ho, have I seen a Yule Log?! Chocolatey, creamy, icy and rich it was not visible for long before us wide-eyed onlookers had it sawn up and in our tummies. Délicieuse! Can you get them in New Mexico? Sadly Fed-Ex may not do freeze deliveries?
Fi Fi's yesterday stayed hiding up in their branches and won't come down until I'm gone, yet. They make laugh hiding their eyes behind twigs thinking I can't see them!
Ref. RF, I've come across a problem. Can you shed light please? I am on Level 1, Module 2, Telling the time. Here's a screenshot: Third example down doesn't make sense to me. How do you say 'It is six ten in the evening' I would have thought "Il est six heure dix du soir" What is RF on about vingt 'ing?
C'était gentil de me demander d'écrire sur Kitty. J'aime noter un peu la vie dans son hameau, en plein hiver. Mon prochain cours Uni commence bientôt donc si je m'arrête un moment, je reviendrai. En attendant, je vais vous parler de 'The Ruins' que nous appelons les maisons chancelantes au bout de la voie,
January 15, 2022
Helen, the only way I know about le bûche de noël is from RF. It's referred to extensively in at least one lesson. I have seen pictures, and I love how they actually fashion them to look like logs. The origin of the custom, which I learned from Wikipedia, is interesting.
The issue in the material is that there's a typo in the English translation. It should be, six twenty in the evening. Not sure which one the recorder wants to hear. There are countless errors throughout the material. Relatively speaking, this typo of typo (haha) is benign. Far more aggravating to me are the gross translation errors (wrong verbs, wrong tense of verbs, loose translations that skirt a perfectly good literal translation, as well as, defying common sense, etc.), that would/should completely mislead someone who didn't take the time to question/verify them. I can't escape the impression that whoever is responsible doesn't have a very good command of one or both of the languages, should get more sleep or, perhaps, less herb. Personally, I find the errors very distracting, time-consuming and uncalled for.
I would think that, as old as your buildings are, they should all be associated with individual farms. Yet, it sounds like they're in close enough proximity to be grouped more like an actual village. Is it that some of the spaces were filled in over time with additional buildings?
January 16, 2022
Thank you for your feedback on RF typos and other unforced errors. Makes me glad to be working on RF and French immersion for starters, then on to a more formal course.
You encouraged me to look at the Yule Log more closely. How fascinating that its origin comes from medieval times and that, for luck, one should keep some ashes in in a jar. Also, that a piece of this 12 day Xmas lit og be kept to burn for the following year. Imagine the huge home fires of those days!
Actually, I helped re-charge a neighbour's iPhone one time; she had knocked on Kitty's door hoping I had the right attachment. The French lady (MJoe) is not here often, it being her second home. Later I rugged up against the evening chill and ventured downhill to return her phone. I could see MJoe's large fire crackling in her kitchen-living room when she opened the door, gloriously warm and welcoming. She was drinking wine in the cosy atmosphere with friends.
Beckoned in, the door shut against the chilly air, I asked if I could stand by the fire; it was at least half a Yule Log wide. Having been on my own for months on end I thought how lovely it would be if I could join them. However, I was not invited to sit, nor offered a drink, so back into the cold dark I went.
But not before noticing a deep, curved recess adjoining the fire place with beautifully placed brick-work making a homely dome. An original bread oven. There is another around the corner, it's rounded wall protruding onto the lane. Kitty used to have one apparently, the only sign being a slight change in the colour of her stones,
January 16, 2022
Helen, c'est fantastique que Kitty ait été témoin de la révolution française ! Je me demande si elle a réalisé que ça se passait ?
Votre prochain cours Uni est un cours de langue, ou autre chose ? Cela fait partie de votre CertHE, ou non ?
January 17, 2022
Kitty's very bones would have witnessed the French Revolution I would imagine, don't you?
Having been created, I presume, as a structure to shelter farm workers, or workings, I know she was, not too far back, a cobbler's stable and a chicken coop (the chook era just before my arrival). Goodness only knows what transitions she's witnessed in between.
France's tossing of the 'ancien regime' back in 1789, and the ending of the revolution ten years later, brought wide-spread changes not just in French cities but throughout rural France, I read. Whoever was the working tenant in Kitty way back then would have had the opportunity to go from virtual slave to owning property so I wonder if the cobbler was able to purchase Kitty ...
200 years on, the changes continue. No longer part of any farm or farm connection, Kitty is second home to a person who lives on the other side of the world and who's work depends on unseen data reflecting off satellites. The advances in communication is what has brought younger families back into the hamlet, I believe, and more will come.
Which brings me to the ruins down the lane. Two small stone houses stuck together they have tall steps to their front doors addressing the gradient. Their rooves are caving in. Their window shutters flap in the breeze. I tie them to the frame, only they undo in the wind, so I tie them again. Their is a small stoic statue of Mary balancing in one soffit. Ivy creepers busily win their take-over bid.
MJoe lives a hop-skip further down from The Ruins, over a gravelly pot-holed lane. One day last summer, as we stood talking about Kitty's roses, she pointed to the ruins two doors down that sit between me and her. "That is where my Grandmother lived" she said. "She had seven children (one being her Mother) and they all lived in there together. Next door was the shop. The village was busy back then".
Beneath the first dwelling, MJoe's family home, is an entrance to the sauterrains it is said. There is a mysterious feel about both houses, their stones dark and heavy, the windows broken, still curtained. I found the present owners contact details some time back and wrote to them, but there was no answer.
There is something rather calm about their laying fallow, a respectfulness to times past. And they are certainly not unattractive as they continue to navigate their existence,
January 17, 2022
Helen, you suddenly reminded me of a woman I met kayaking some years ago in N NM. She lived in a renovated casa de pollos which sat high on a hill overlooking the Rio Grande River. Her only land-based transportation was her Harley Davidson. I think the casa may have undergone further updates and is currently listed on VRBO at $240/night !
Imagine the reaction of the people that lived where you're living now, when they finally received news of what was going on in Paris days, or even weeks, later. I would guess, astonished, possibly terrified of the repercussions, regardless of their stature at the time.
So, are Kitty's roses the inspiration for your Rocket Rose?
January 18, 2022
Yes, RF Rose is Kitty's rose. The mother of the lady in the 'A' house, who was born here, planted the original decades ago and its offspring came with the house. I have tended and propagated the plant, its perfume being so sweet, uplifted her bedraggled looks - more by good luck than green fingers - and given shoots to neighbours. In the meantime, bought online two species of David Austin's climbing roses and two of shrubs. Avec un peu de chance cette année, suffisamment de fleurs pousseront pour mettre des fleurs dans un vase.
My next Uni unit is on Modern Art. Each unit is ten weeks and it is possible with each unit 'Pass' to earn ten CAT points (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme). We can carry forward 30 points before the start of the CertHE course, itself 120 points to aquire, and which I hope to enrol in in September. I think CATS would be a system you are familiar with? I wasn't.
Points or no points, j'aime l'étude et être conduit à travers les couloirs de la connaissance. My former training in art, nursing and midwifery was mostly hands on and not the Uni training common to now. I did go to Sydney's Tech. College to study aviation for ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence), the exams covering navigation, meteorology, ‘operations & performance’ (physics; weight & balance assw fuel flows, loading weights and centre of gravity envelopes), plus basics on gas turbines and Aviation Law, but that's clear cut and different to studying the Humanities, bien sûr, somehing I have long dreamed of doing too.
Je me demande encore dans quel domaine technologique se situent vos compétences spécialisées... mais dans un autre ordre d'idées, avez-vous construit votre cassoulet de poulet ?
January 18, 2022
Helen, J'ai toujours cru que si nous suivons notre cœur pendant nos études, nous ne le regretterons jamais.
J'ai assez de provisions pour environ deux ou trois repas simples. Je vais devoir faire des courses avant de pouvoir cuisiner quelque chose d'intéressant. J'ai beaucoup de courses à faire et je n'en ai fait aucune.
Peut-être que l'inanition me motivera à faire certaines de ces choses.
January 19, 2022
Vous savez comment la France ferme à midi pour le déjeuner et rouvre à deux heures, Je fais ensuite mes courses au supermarché, quand tout est plus calme. Au fur et à mesure qu'eux-mêmes sont encore ouverts c'est-à-dire ! Vos magasins ferment-ils de la même manière ?
Parfois, je cuisine un grand rôti et je le divise en récipients pour le congeler - fait des découvertes heureuses plus tard. Fais-tu la même chose?
Il pleut. Hameau très calme. Roadrunner a BeeBeeped et est parti, étant mercredi. Je me demande si elle vend réellement du pain.
Another RF query; see the green 100 circle in screenshot? I gather that's to say how
well our voice-back's are in accuracy. Only, I can never get the circles to consistently
appear. Do you know the trick?
En parlant de cercles apparaissant, y a-t-il vraiment beaucoup de véritables observations de vaisseaux spatiaux extraterrestres au Nouveau-Mexique ?
January 19, 2022
Helen, le seul moment où la ville est calme est tôt le matin et le soir. La ville ne respecte pas La Siesta. Normalement, la ville est très occupée pendant l'heure du déjeuner, et elle reste occupée jusqu'à le soir. Seul le lève-tôt mange son ver en paix. Tout semble tellement plus difficile de nos jours. Arghh !
Parfois je congèle une casserole, surtout si j'en ai besoin de plus d'une pour une occasion. Mais, en général, je mange de tout jusqu'à ce que ce soit parti.
Flying objects? I guess it depends on who you ask.
The recorder can be a temperamental beast, and can have difficulty with numbers, in particular. The obvious 'tricks' are speaking fast enough, and without hesitation. Unfortunately, only sometimes can you get away with imitating the audio. You, not only, need to speak much more distinctly, but very often have to avoid appropriate liasons because it fails to parse them. Less obvious 'tricks' are that it sometimes struggles with small words at the beginning of sentences - things like et and elle. I leave them off. Sometimes I outsmart it by figuring out which word to leave out in the middle of the sentence, which brings up the matter of false positives. It's not uncommon to get 100 for mispronunciation and missing words, and then a lower score when you say it correctly! I think the most unfortunate aspect is that it's not able to tell you what it's objecting to. It simply riddles your entire sentence with red letters even though the only problem might be that you're saying la instead of les. As a rule, I don't look at the screen when I'm recording, so I'm not affected by the barrage of distracting red letters.
Obviously it's going to be up to the individual how they wish to make the best use of this worthwhile resource. It has it's issues, but RF would be pointless without it. I use it for a recorder and practice speaking fluently. I do give it credit for requiring me to speak more quickly and without hesitation, and ultimately, I can satisfy it, one way or another, 99.9% of the time. I personally, don't mind (too much) investing the time in outsmarting it since, for me, it just amounts to more practice, but I wouldn't expect everyone to feel the same way.
January 20, 2022
Hmmm, OK re. RF red green score circles, thanks for sharing your experiences and insights.
The hamlet again is quiet. Kitty is extremely quiet bar key-board tapping and a fire crackle. Oh, and some little body is in the roof, presumably making a nest. Sounds bigger than a bird. Nothing falling down from the ceiling, yet, so fine with me.
J'ai découvert récemment, en me renseignant davantage sur l'histoire du hameau de Kitty, qu'un recensement, lorsqu'il a eu lieu, a été compté par le nombre de foyers enregistrés. I suppose that was one way of sorting hay-barns from houses.
Sur le côté de la maison à ossature en "A", toujours sur son terrain, se trouve un puits avec de hauts côtés en pierre au-dessus terre. Cinq maisons se partageaient ce puits, dont Kitty. Its roof and hoisting bar have long gone but it wouldn't take much I would imagine to restore it. There are two other known wells in the hamlet; strange as we are relatively high up, but a hydrogeologist would understand; something to do with water-table pressures and rock density I would imagine. Les villageois en contrebas avaient l'habitude de marcher ici pour chercher de l'eau, ce qui aurait été une longue randonnée avec des seaux pleins.
Children came from the village to school here too. One of the houses in the hamlet is three stories high, is built square and has tall windows. There is a little balcony, very much like an old school house, because it was the old school house. An elderly lady lives there now, her husband was not well for years, Covid ending his days. A handwritten sign said 'Quaratine' on the door which was so sad.
After several months and family visits it was possible to hear laughter again,
January 20, 2022
Est-ce que le village est aussi rustique que votre hameau ?
Est-ce que c'est aussi vieux que votre hameau ?
Y a-t-il de nouveaux bâtiments dans le village ?
La nouvelle construction est-elle autorisée dans votre région ou est-elle limitée à la rénovation ?