05 December 2010

Saint-Aignan on a cold Saturday

For the first time in a while, the low temperature was above freezing this morning. It was all of +1ºC, so Mother Nature was not going overboard with her generosity. However, the snow is melting... slowly.

The weather was bright and sunny yesterday morning. Today, skies are gray and it's supposed to start raining by noon. It will be a cold rain, and it's going to make for a sloppy mess outside. I'm staying in — except for the obligatory sortie with the chien this afternoon.

A Saint-Aignan street corner, with icicles

Yesterday I made a quick run down into Saint-Aignan to go to the pharmacy (just daily meds, no illnesses here right now). The drive down the hill, which I took very slowly and deliberately, was fine, even though the roadway was covered in a thin sheet of iciness. The bigger road down along the river was clear, and there was little traffic.

Rays of sunlight streaming into our kitchen
yesterday morning

The hard part was getting the car out of our driveway. I backed it out of the garage, turned around, and slowly moved toward the front gate and the road. There's a slight rise in elevation involved. As it turns out, there was also a little ridge of hard-frozen snow in the way, just outside the gate, along the edge of the road. The tractor that the village has sent to keep the road clear this week had piled up snow in front of our gate.

And the car couldn't make it over. I floored it, and the front wheels started spinning wildly. Problem was, I and the car were making no forward progress. Instead we were sliding sideways, toward a concrete fence post and a ditch. I thought better of stepping down any harder on the gas pedal.

Bad weather has disrupted regular garbage collection.
Trash is piling up in Saint-Aignan.

Walt was upstairs running the vacuum cleaner, so he didn't hear all this happening. I thought I remembered that we had a bag of sawdust in the garage, so I went to look for it. I figured that if I poured some sawdust onto the snow in front of the two front wheels, I might be able to get enough traction to make it over the snow bump.

(In France, a speed bump is called a gendarme couché — a sleeping policeman. This bump was more like a gendarme givré — a frozen policeman.)

Sunlight filling the living room
For Judy ;^) and for those of you who have visited, so you can see the new look

No sawdust. But look, there's a bag of kitty litter. Perfect. I knew there would one day be some advantage to having a cat living here. Besides the affection and entertainment, I mean. Back outside, the litter did the trick and the Peugeot and I were soon out on the road and on our way down the slippery hill.

The crêperie in Saint-Aignan looked like it was getting ready
to open for lunch.
A crêpe sounded really good right then.

At the pharmacy, a customer came in and starting chatting with the employees, just as I had. She said she had parked her car in the big new parking lot on the east side of the old town. There were so few cars in the lot, she said, that suddenly she thought maybe it wasn't market day after all.

Or maybe the market had been canceled because of the bad weather. But no, the market was set all up and most of the vendors were there. Only the customers were missing. There weren't many customers at the pharmacy either.

It's hard to believe it was only a week ago today that the first real snow fell. It seems like a month. This has been a long week.


  1. Why are your living room chairs not focused on the tele?

  2. I'm glad you managed to make it out without sliding into your gate.

    I love the look of your new living/dining room. The area is now quite spacious and open.

    Your kitchen will always be my favorite room of your home though. I love the window that looks out and the fact that you can open it easily to chat with visitors below.

    Did you already have that nice kitchen table when you moved to France? I like that handy towel rack a lot.

  3. A "gendarme givré" is a gendarme out cold with booze! LOL

  4. LOL, CHM!

    Hi Evelyn, we got the kitchen table, a table de charcutier, soon after we moved to Saint-Aignan. We attached the towel rack to it ourselves.

    Andrew, well, the living room chairs are focused on each other. We often watch the TV when we are at the table at at noon. We really ought to focus the seating area on the fireplace, at least for the winter.

  5. awwwwwww Ken! I looked at that great photo of the living room/dining room, and thought, "Oh, great! I really wanted to see this! It looks great!", and THEN I read the little caption :)) I will one day see this in person, I will!!

    The sun looks so inviting :)


  6. Ken

    Here we call speed bump : dos d'âne. I got caught a couple of times after a heavy snow. Was not careful and drove over them at > 20 km.p.h. Well, afterwards, I learned to locate their position by being attentive to the street signs.

    Nice séjour btw. I love those French doors :-)

  7. Barring an emergency, I would have been one of the missing customers.

  8. Judy, I hope you will. We would love to have you visit.

    The Beav, yes dos d'âne in France too. The other term is familiar and ironic.

    Starman, I really need to go to the pharmacy because it is closed on Sunday and Monday. Otherwise I wouldn't have ventured out.


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