The offical online newsletter of the Parish of St. Brelade, Jersey
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Summer 2009
News Stories
New 15 bus service
Furze fire danger
Corbiere 'Springwatch'
Connetable Message
Hon. officer retires
Volunteers needed
Thanks to Mailmate
Shopping local
Parish in Bloom
Twinning Association
Maison St. Brelade
Mont Nicholle
Award for LeQ School
QGardens update
Walk raises over £3k
On the catwalk!
Quennevais RFC
'Out of the blue
Battle of Flowers
20
Letters to Editor
Letter from France
'Its a family policy'
Jersey Archives
Reg's Garden
A big thank you
Correspondant français
Living in France: beginning to feel part of the community
by Geoff Cornwall

Well, the European Elections have come and gone and in this part of France at least they have passed almost without notice. True, there were a few rather tacky posters stuck up around the place but nothing to match the plethora which defaces our Parish every time there is an election in the offing.
As I sit here on a camp site, just a few kilometres from where we have recently bought a small house, the sky is threatening bad weather but it hasn’t really arrived yet and the local population of wild-life is happily attending to its nests and burrows. A few minutes ago I was visited by a magpie who strutted his stuff within a few metres totally unperturbed by its human neighbours.
The reason we are here, rather than in our own house, is that we are due to spend a few days polishing up our French on a course to be held here on site and it was just easier not to have to drive up each day when we had a perfectly good caravan available to our use. In my case a failed “O” level is not really adequate to communicate with neighbours who have virtually no English at all. I shall never starve or go thirsty and my vocabulary in the area of “bricolage” has come on by leaps and bounds as I have had to acquire building materials, fittings, tools and paints from our local equivalent of B&Q!
Over the last few weeks we have been continuing to work on improvements to what was, when we bought it, a rather sad and run-down little house which had been sadly neglected by its former owner.
Some two-and-a-half years later it is really beginning to take shape and to look worthy of its situation within a few metres of one of the oldest continuously used Churches in France. Gone is the hideous flaking brown paint and all external woodwork is now a delightful “vert bocage”. Windows, which were threatening to fall on passers by, have been renewed and double glazed and where once the wind whistled its chilling way straight into our grenier (attic), thence to the rest of the house, there is now a good thick layer of insulation. Enormous cast-iron radiators, owing rather more to the average school of the 1950’s than to the present day, have been consigned to the local decheterie. New floors have been laid and tiled and everything is now looking very much more loved.
Our French neighbours are obviously pleased to see what we are trying to make of the place and we get enthusiastic words and gestures of appreciation as they pass. To these gestures have been added small gifts of flowers and vegetables ( I really wish I liked lettuce!) and we are beginning to feel a part of the accepted local scene. One of our neighbours is the President of the Carp Angling Association – I think I shall have to learn how to fish to continue the integration!
Airvault, Deux Sevres, France
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