La Montagne et moi: Lève-tôt

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‘C’est la rentrée’ (school has started again) here in the Alps and with it comes ‘un rude réveil’ (a harsh awakening / realisation). I am going to have to get up at 05:30 every ‘jour de semaine’ weekday for ‘l’année qui vient’ (the next year). I am not a ‘lève-tôt’ (early riser) by nature and ‘je me reveille de mauvais poil!’ (I wake up in a bad mood). ‘A moitié endormie encore’ (still half asleep) I get ready for the day with the help of ‘un café corsé’ (a strong coffee) and ‘les dernières infos’ (an update) on what’s going on in the world) ‘grâce à’ (thanks to) France Inter radio.


This morning ‘j’ai pour mission de maman de’ (my mummy-mission is to) locate a pair of ‘socquettes’ (invisible socks), ‘signer son carnet’ (sign her correspondence book) and ‘éplucher une pomme’ (peel an apple). I find one sock on the floor next to the washing machine and ‘je fouille dans’ (I rummage through) a bin bag of mismatched single socks to triumphantly create ‘une paire assortie’ a matching pair.


Mission accomplie’ (mission accomplished) we start the 5 mile drive to the school bus ‘aux premières lueurs de l’aube’ (at the first streak of dawn). ‘A mi-chemin’ (half way there) I check my ‘rétroviseur’ (rear-view mirror) and ‘je ralentis brusquement’ (I slow down sharply), then stop completely. ‘Des cerfs’ (deer) follow us on either side of the car. Knowing that they will often cross the road out of fear, ‘j’allume les feux de détresse’ (I switch on my hazard lights) and switch off my ‘phares’ (headlights) and the deer saunter off in to the mountains. In 2016, 60,000 accidents involving cars and ‘animaux sauvages’ (wild animals) occurred, ‘causant’ (resulting in) 20 deaths. Accidents increase in autumn as food ‘se fait rare’ (becomes scarce). Combined with the start of ‘la période de chasse’ (the hunting season) the warning ‘un sanglier peut en cacher un autre’ (one wild boar may hide another) rings scarily true. ‘Je dépose ma fille’ (I drop my daughter off) at 06:30 and drive back home.


Last week I started each day with a ‘une randonnée à pied’ (hike) up the mountain taking ‘un sentier’ (a path) ‘qui longe un ruisseau’ (that follows a stream). ‘Au sommet’ at the top I stopped for a while to witness the sun appearing over the ‘chaîne de montagnes’ (mountain range). When I told my neighbour how much I enjoyed my new routine she looked at me ‘inquiète’ (with concern). “Mais la chasse commence ce weekend!” (But the hunting season starts this weekend!). Indeed, the hunting season has started – and continues until the end of January!!!! About 12 people are killed and 20 injured in hunting accidents each year in France, where the hunter ‘règne sans partage’ (rules supreme) over the countryside for almost half the year. ‘Donc me voilà’ (so here I am) confined to ‘faire le tour du village’ (walk around the village) or risk being mistaken for a wild boar. ‘Vivement le mois de février!’ Roll on February!


‘La différence entre ‘peler’ et ‘éplucher’ est que le verbe peler s’applique lorsqu’on ne retire que la peau – donc on pèle une banane et on épluche une pomme’ (The difference between ‘peler’ and ‘éplucher’ is that the verb peler applies when you only take the skin off – so you pele a banana and épluche an apple.