They’ll come at you from the drains …

by Julie Gibbons on August 28, 2008

Montauban Town

Montauban Town

Well, living in a town is surely different from the countryside – and in France, it can be quite dangerous!

It must be something in the way they learn to drive – or perhaps it’s just symptomatic of the French psyche.

No matter if you have a green man and the cars have a red light, you can’t guarantee safety crossing the road. Look right then left then right then left and raise your submarine telescope to check round corners.

I’m reading a fantastically well written book just now Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, which regales the tale of Terry Darlington and his wife Monica, and their whippet Jim and how they sailed a narrowboat over the channel and all the way down to Carcassonne. Terry has great style and a superb wit about him.

I’m laughing aloud all the way through this book – in a combined response to Terry’s dryer than sand humour, and his concise appraisal of the French. When he talks about them on the roads he suggests there is no car too small, no driver too old, no road too narrow, no pavement too wide for the French to not try and mow you down. Ultimately, he says, they’ll come out of the drains to get you…

Town Sculpture

Town Sculpture

Despite the crazy drivers, we like the town of Montauban very much. It’s certainly a contrast to the countryside we live in, and the other exchange houses.

At The Multiplex

At The Multiplex

We’ve enjoyed the cinema – in French and English. With our still limited language skills, we wanted a film we didn’t really need to understand any of the language to enjoy the story – and so La Momie it was.

The dubbing was actually very well done – and the effects were the same in any language. As for the story – it really didn’t require any understanding of the dialogue at all.

I’m not sure we’ll manage the same level of enjoyment with a typical French film, without a full and complete set of sub-titles. Which is a shame, because just around the corner from the house is a small independent cinema. I think we’ll hit The Cameo in Edinburgh, or the Glasgow Film Theatre as soon as we’re back and get back into the groove.

Ruaridh in the Fountain

Ruaridh in the Fountain

We’ve walked round the fountains in the dark and in Ruaridh’s case we’ve spent a lot of time in them.

Place Nationale

Place Nationale

We’ve enjoyed a smoky cafe in the square.

The independent boutiques are prolific and all sumptuously beautiful or typically chique.

Real people live here, and seem pretty unperturbed by tourists. We hear the mayor is trying to gain approval for a golf course. I’m not sure many of the residents will take him him up on the offer.

The Emerald Lake

The Emerald Lake

We’ve also explored the countryside – and discovered an Enchanted Forest and an Emerald Lake and Giant Spiders and Praying Mantis and postbox art.

We also discovered we’re as slow at walking as we running marathons. We plod along in the heat and the sun and enjoy a slower pace than we ever do back home.

Life here is hot and sunny in the main. The refreshments are plentiful and we’re already getting to leave. Has it been 3 weeks already? How has that happened? We’ve been up at 6am for work, so our days have been longer. Surely with more hours, our days should feel longer?

More work now, some packing and then we’re off to kayak with some new friends and children. In the 30 degree sunshine. Can’t beat it, this Grand Adventure.

Wish you were here…
Julie

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