Today’s posting is simply a collection of short observations on life in the heart of the GDA, or Greater Daglan Area.
The world in the GDA. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our move to France from Canada has been the chance to meet so many people and make so many friends from all over the world. Last night, for instance, we enjoyed a beautiful outdoor dinner on the hilltop patio of friends who have a lovely home just half an hour south of us; but in fact, they divide their time between France and the Middle East, where their business is centred, and they’ve lived all over the world. With us last night were four more friends of theirs. One couple has lived in France for more than 40 years, and now spends six months of the year in this country, and six months in the south of Spain. The other couple are from New Zealand, and have been travelling around Europe for the past two months — driving through France, Switzerland, Italy, Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal and Andorra. No shortage of wine with dinner, and no shortage of topics to discuss.
Garbage wars. The authorities here are pretty serious about recycling, but it’s a bit of an uphill struggle. I’m not sure what’s so difficult, but many people — residents? vacationers? — can’t seem to figure out which materials go in which bins at the déchètterie, or garbage dump, no matter how clearly the bins are marked. I’ve seen large cardboard boxes (obviously meant for recycling) stuffed into the bins reserved for garbage, and old wooden chairs dumped into the recycling bins. The solution seems to be continual education. So yesterday there was a truck from SICTOM, the agency that handles our area’s garbage and recycling, stationed in the parking lot of Daglan’s salle des fêtes, or village hall. (It’s not easy finding out what SICTOM actually stands for, but I did eventually nail it. It’s the very catchy Syndicat Intercommunal de Collecte et de Traitement des Ordures Ménàgeres. So there!) In the truck was an attractive young woman handing out free rolls of yellow plastic bags (for items destined for recycling) and black bags (for ordinary garbage). She also provided each of us with a brochure that attempts, once again, to explain where glass bottles, newspapers and magazines, recyclable packaging, and ordinary garbage should be put. The cover line says “Trier, c’est pas sorcier!“, which the brochure translates as “You do not have to be a wizard to separate your rubbish!” A catchier version might be: “Sorting garbage? It’s not rocket science!” But in fact, for many people, it seems to be.
In any case, the stack of bags I received (four hefty rolls of each type) should last us quite a while. Here’s a look at the bags, plus the brochure:
The travelling vide grenier. In North America, it’s the garage sale; in Britain, it’s the car boot sale. But in France, the open-air sale of unwanted household goods is called the vide grenier, which suggests emptying the attic. In any case, a vide grenier is seen as a real event in rural communities, and Daglan is having one tomorrow — but with a difference. To be eligible to put up a table, each participant has to pay an entry fee, which will be used as a donation to benefit school children here. The big twist is that rather than having the vide grenier tables clustered in one spot, they will be spread throughout Daglan, in front of various homes. The idea is to encourage visitors to wander through our village, admire the houses, and meet people. Good idea, we thought, so my wife Jan and I are planning to put up a table. Y’all come!