Année sabbatique

La Montagne et moi; Année sabbatique


‘Un parfait inconnu’ (a perfect stranger) has just ‘porté plainte’ (filed a complaint) regarding my blog. The essence of their ‘mécontentement’ (dissatisfaction) is that there hasn’t been one for ‘un peu plus d’un an’ (just over a year). Je suis autant flattée qu’énervée (I am equally flattered and annoyed). It can’t possibly ‘faire un an’ (be a year) since I last ‘posté sur mon blog’ (posted to my blog) I mutter as I ‘consulte mon site web’ (visit my website). ‘ Mais c’est juste!’ (But it’s true!) I appear to have taken an ‘année sabbatique’ (sabbatical year) from my sabbatical.

‘Depuis quand’ (since when) did my ‘vie de nomade’ (nomadic life) spent half in France, half in the UK, become so ‘chargée’ (busy) that I stopped ‘mettre par écrit’ (committing to paper) the ‘temps forts’ (highlights)? And was it just due to ‘me surmener’ (running myself ragged) back and forth across the channel that my monologues ‘s’épuisaient’ (dried up)? I used to post ‘tous les mois’ (every month). My last post was due in November 2015 ‘à peu près au moment des’ (at around the time of) the Paris attacks. ‘D’un coup’ (suddenly) je ne trouvais plus mes mots (I couldn’t find anything to say). At the same time, my involvement with teaching French to the ‘chercheurs d’asile’ (asylum seekers) in the next village became more ‘prenant’ (time-consuming), my daughter’s Baccalaureat became ‘un défi de taille’ (a serious challenge) and my business ‘a doublé de taille’ (doubled in size). ‘Bref,’ (to cut a long story short) I had neither the time nor the heart to ‘me moquer de’ (mock) my week. But now it’s time to ‘reprendre le collier’ (get back in the saddle).

I don’t like ‘parler aux professeurs de ma fille’ (talking to my daughter’s teachers) in French : I still can’t express myself as fluently as in my ‘langue maternelle’ (mother tongue) and I want so much to ‘faire bonne impression’ (make a good impression) that I quickly become ‘muette’ (tongue-tied) and ‘maladroite’ (clumsy). ‘De plus’ (what’s more) this teacher had gone dangerously ‘hors-piste’ (off track) and was talking to me about the challenges of parenting in general and the fact that French children have ‘le mercredi après-midi’ (Wednesday afternoons) off school. ‘Mon nounou (rhymes with shoe) va chercher les enfants à l’école le mercredi’ (my Nanny picks the children up from school on Wednesdays) she explained. I tried to muster up an intelligent response “Which days of the week does your ‘nounours’ (rhymes with course and means teddy-bear!) pick up the children. She looked at me ‘d’un air perplexe’ then we both ‘éclations de rire’ (burst out laughing).

‘Il fait un froid de canard’ (It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey – or more politely – It’s freezing!). My night time routine consists of making ‘une tisane’ (herbal tea), ‘deux bouillottes’ (two hot water bottles), one for my feet and one to ‘serrer dans mes bras’ (cuddle), and ‘un pyjama thermolactyle’ (thermal pyjamas). This routine has been working ‘à merveille’ (wonderfully well) until I was woken up at 4 am the other day, my pyjama top (TOP!!!) ‘trempé’ (drenched) by a slow ‘fuite’ (leak) from the ‘bouillotte’. The morning’s antics are just as precisely planned – ‘J’allume’ (I switch on) the ‘lampe-torche’ (torch) on my mobile phone to find my slippers and avoid the ‘sol glacé’ (freezing-cold floor), switch on the ‘grille-pain’ (toaster) we call a radiator and slip back in to bed for a 20-minute ’somme’ (snooze) before it’s safe to ‘braver le froid’ (face the cold) and start the day.