freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
I think I may have just arranged to ship two boxes from Auchs to Cape Town, but the conversation was entirely in sort of French, so it's quite possible I've just arranged to have my aunt, her chihuahua and an assortment of cookies shipped to Albuquerque. Only time will tell. I'm becoming extremely quick-draw on my pocket dictionary. Generally speaking the French people in this area are lovely, very willing to repeat things "un peu plus lentment, s'il vous plait", and only laugh a little bit when I hunt frenziedly through the dictionary for the French for "suburb". (Banlieu. Rondebosch, c'est une banlieu du Cap, oui? Cape Town is "Le Cap". This always sounds a bit over-familiar to me.)

There was a massive storm through this part of the world in January, and there are still trees down everywhere, and piles of neatly-sawn logs all over the show. The Frenchman loves his chainsaw, god wot. I'd show you photos, but the USB ports on my dad's computer seem to connect only to an alternate dimension. I hope the alternate dimension appreciates all the shots of Scabby!Cat. (In true feline fashion, the instant we gave up and let him in the house, he decided he didn't really need to be inside anyway - I haven't seen him all day. Dear little perverse thing that he is).

I am very covered more or less continuously in very dusty dust, which means I'm sneezing and my eyes are streaming. Also, hands in shreds from cleaning. But we're nearly there.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Today I have moved one sofa, three tables and about forty-two boxes, all carefully packed. The house is semi-denuded of furniture, and I'm semi-denuded of brain. This is unfortunate, as we've been variously negotiating with brocantes (furniture dealers), freight agents and the charity place which will take all the unsaleable household stuff and none of the above speak English, except the brocante. My dad's French is OK, but his illness makes it very difficult for him to speak and he's hard to understand because of the slurring. My mother's is over 40 years out of date. My French is voluble, excitable and about 22 years out of date (as with English, I speak too damned fast): I remember the structure of the grammar, but I have about five words of vocab still bouncing around my skull, and I have to concentrate ferociously to understand anyone. Nonetheless, I appear to be designated interpreter to the group.

Armed with a dictionary, scraps of paper with useful bits of vocab scribbled on them, and not a little trepidation, I managed to mangle my way through enough of a conversation to establish that the charity place couldn't collect our stuff in the short time remaining, at which point the brocante kindly but firmly took the telephone out of my hand and conducted the rest of the conversation himself. I feel... well, sort of semi-triumphant, really. It does mean, however, that I tend to lie awake at 3am thinking "what the hell's the French for a head-board?" ("planche de la tete" is about as close as I've come), and I think I'm repeating the phrase "Je m'excuse, je ne parle pas tres bien le francais, parlez lentement s'il vous plait" in my sleep.

Scabby!Cat has penetrated the house, courtesy of my mother's extremely kind heart, and is sleeping triumphantly on one of the two remaining kitchen chairs. Mother's allowed to get away with this because she's being, as usual, amazing. (Did I mention that my mother's amazing? She's amazing).

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