Off I went to Maubourguet today. Needed to sort out the Taxe Fonciere, which was mucked up last year. It was sent to the UK first, but was not sent on very quickly from the occupants of our old house, and arrived late here. Was paid. But got a fine. Didn't pay fine: one of those bits of paper that get left in the pile to be sorted out later. Red letter came. Oops! Was going to write a letter. Thought 'I must go and sort this out personally.'
I can tell you that this took bravery on my part. This was officialdom I was going to have to speak to, not Claudine of the Chambre d'hote who I had a recent girl-talk with about men, she having split up with her recent partner which made us sad as he had become part of our French network here. Knowing that we are not probably going to see him again has made us quite sad. Never mind, we made due commiserations to Claudine and said we would help her whenever necessary. All in French. Nor was it going to be the same as chatting to Christiane down the lane about life, men, and parents. Mind you, it was not going to be any worse than talking to her husband who is absolutely not-understandable, him being Spanish and so speaking Spanish-French.
Anyway, time to do the Tressorie, in Maubourguet. Internet. Found where it was. In a village of all things, just outside of Maubourguet. Never mind. Downloaded map. Into car. Now driving French car, with everything on the opposite side to UK cars. Means I don't drive sitting in the car on the side closest to the ditches. Took a while to get used to that. The ditches here are fearsome things, and every single road or lane is lined with them. At least if I was driving right beside them I could see how close I was to ending up in one of them. Not so now. Am sitting further away. A couple of times I have had to grit my teeth when another vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction on a narrow lane and I have had to shift over to let it pass. I wouldn't like to hazard a guess as to how close I have come to fetching up in a ditch. Never mind. They do a good job. Rarely are the roads flooded here. And there are plenty of tractors around which will pull you back out apparently, according to Sara of the camels.
So, map in hand, off I go. Caussade Rivière is where I have to head in the direction of. Get there. Pretty village.
"Bonjour Madame" I said, flagging down a passer by, "La Tressorie. C'est près d'ici?"
No it wasn't. Way off course. A quantity of French later, and redirected back onto main road, with thoughts of letting the Tressorie people know that Yahoo has relocated them in the middle of a peaceful and sleepy village.
Market day in Maubourguet. Can drive our French car but parking is another matter. Better to park at SuperU, the supermarket, and walk back into the town. Done. Tressorie found.
And I did it! AND no fine. The lovely young lady at the desk managed to understand what I said, bless her, and wrote a lovely big cross over the bill, got me to sign it, and I think she said that we don't have to pay until August. Never mind. Job done.
The Dress-stall lady: Had a browse in the market, found dress stall, had girl-time having a look up and down the rails, was measured up and told I was a French size 5 for future reference. Will re-visit at a later date.
The Honey Stall Lady: Had chat to her about bees. Her husband has 35 hives. Gave us email address so I can contact him about buying a hive. I think she said that he had one for sale. If not, then it is a start on our hunt for bee keeping equipment. Will visit her again.
The Food Man: "Bonjour monsieur. Votre marie en Plaisance derrière semaine?" He looked fox-eyed. I was asking him if his wife was in Plaisance last week, as I had bought some home-made lasagne from her and it was delicious. Giggles from the young lady standing beside me. "Votre marie?" Ooops. I had just asked him if his husband had been in Plaisance. Guffaws all round, and a splendid few moments were had. Food bought. Will revisit.
Cool Implement: Wow! This was a find.
The Plant Shop: On way back to car. Feet decided to march themselves into shop. Mmmm. To be re-visited as well. And there was the rather marvelous looking implement as shown in the above photo, to be used for no end of purposes when one needs to dig little holes, or get something out of a litte hole, or scratch about in a little hole.
Cool Cake: Wow! What a treat!
The Chocolatier Lady: Laden with bags. Now at the boulangerie. Must have pain au chocolate to keep me going. Ended up with this wondrous confection as well. The photo does not do justice to it: On top - slices of strawberry and kiwi, and a raspberry. Inside it, don't know but it was a delight. Bought two. One for HG one for me. I had both. Shoppers treat! Will definitely be visiting that lady again.
Things I learnt today: I can manage to map read and drive the car at the same time without falling into a ditch. If I take my time, then I can manage to converse reasonably well with people other than neighbours. Sometimes one has to sleep through the hotter parts of the day and one must not feel guilty if one does so (it was outrageously hot today). That Head Gardener can be forgiven anything when he says "No, you have that other cake, you deserve it." Ah bless. And blessings for the little butterfly which has just sprung out of the wall in the office, yet another occupant which has woken up. But it is dark outside, so hopefully it will be patient until we can let it out in the morning.