Today I finally became part of our Local Communes â€˜micro-Ã©conomieÂ fraternelleâ€™
Yesterday afternoon Marie France, Madame La Maire of our littleÂ Commune of Gourville, called round to see me with some officialÂ looking pieces of paper. â€œMonsieur lâ€™architecteâ€ she started – IÂ find it quite quaint in a way how The French greet people by theirÂ â€˜mÃ©tierâ€™ , a practice that long since died out in the UK.
So inÂ our liitle commune we have â€˜Madame La Maireâ€™, RenÃ©,Â lâ€™engineerâ€™ and Manu â€˜le plombierâ€™ â€“ who as far as I can seeÂ these days has nothing to do with plumbing, but who once I believeÂ â€˜fixedâ€™ the toilets at our local salle de fÃªtes !
Marie France then started to show me her dossier of cadastral maps ofÂ the commune and wanted confirmation of the parcels of land that IÂ owned just up the lane from our Barn. As we walked up there, she wentÂ on to explain that the men from the Commune where repairing the oldÂ â€˜chemin blancâ€™ that runs behind our land and there was a large oldÂ chestnut tree that was showing signs of disease and needed to comeÂ down. At the tree she introduced me to Jean-Pierre , the communeÂ â€˜fixerâ€™.
After the obligatory hand shakes, pleasantries and kicking andÂ tapping of the grand old tree Jean-Pierre looked across to Madame LaÂ Maire and winked. â€œMonsieur Westâ€ … she paused for quite a longÂ time, then continued â€œJean-Pierre would like to know if you wouldÂ like the treeâ€ Now technically the tree wasnâ€™t actually on myÂ land, but she had already told me that the owner of that parcel livesÂ miles away in another Commune and has given our Commune theirÂ permission to remove the tree.
A long silence followed while I triedÂ to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of saying â€œyesâ€ to aÂ forty foot high, by a meter across , mature chestnut tree.
My mind was racing â€¦ thatâ€™s an awful lot of logs for ourÂ wood-burners â€¦ was my first thought â€¦. How do I physically cut itÂ and transport it â€¦ was the second thought .. and finally, ..Â whatâ€™s it going to cost me ? ?
I decided to jump in feet first and started with â€œokay, but Iâ€™mÂ not sure how I can transport it back to my yard â€œ – â€œ We have aÂ lorryâ€ came back the immediate reply. I then followed with â€œMaÂ tronÃ§onneuse ne marche pas bienâ€ (my chainsaw is not in very goodÂ working order .. well .. shamefully to say, it isnâ€™t !! ) â€œMonsierÂ Westâ€ smiled Jean-PierreÂ â€œNous avons deux gros tronÃ§onneuses â€¦Â vous Ãªtes libre demain ? â€
It then hit me â€¦. They were offering me the wood â€¦ for free â€¦.Â In exchange for me helping cut it up into manageable lengths forÂ removal, and they had a lorry to deliver it to my yard !
One daysÂ labour for a couple of years of fire wood .. not bad eh ! !
Itâ€™s also quite nice to know that, after only just over two yearsÂ of residence in our local commune, I have now been officially enrolledÂ into the â€˜perks for the boysâ€™ brigade – Vive La France ! !
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Guest Post written by:
SARL CHARENTE GEMS – Directors John and Ann West- WEBSITE www.charentegems.com