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15th January

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Edited by Cathy Winsor, Sunday, 15 Jan 2012, 16:56

The pompiers arrived today to collect their Christmas tip in exchange for a calendar in which they all feature in team photos or in action on ladders against burning buildings or cutting mangled cars. It isn’t entirely clear what the money is used for but it’s all very organised, I saw one of the firemen had a clipboard where he noted the names alongside each contribution. It did cross my mind to ask them why they didn’t do a Calendar Girls style calendar, to raise a smile, but had second thoughts. It is possible the naked calendar culture doesn’t exist in France. I wonder if they check to see if you’ve made a contribution if they are called out to a fire at your home. It’s quite a status symbol in the community to be allowed to join. I think they are all volunteers who must pass a fitness test and complete courses on first aid as well as learning how to use the equipment. A siren goes off at the fire station when a 18 call comes in and you see people running from around the town towards the station.  The chap who used to do look after the garden while we were living in Nigeria was an ex pompier, a stalwart character who always wore his fireman’s issue jacket, I see he is in the photo of retired pompiers. I checked with the neighbours and 20 Euros is considered a standard tip.

Younger son departed today, there was a panic as he tried to finish the various submissions he needs to hand in when he gets back, so I did his packing, which was easy as he’d not brought any clothes with him (he wore his father’s clothes for the duration of the holiday.) There was an uneventful drive to the airport, other than having to come off the motorway to check if his wallet was in the jacket pocket which he’d put in the suitcase, happily it was.

I posted a few of the activities we need to complete in the final block of the module. It isn’t that I expect anyone to comment on them, I just find that if I post things I make a bit more effort than just typing them up quickly on my laptop, so I’ll try and post all of them.

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