Having stuck a sign saying ‘no junk mail’ on the letterbox, I am no longer privileged to receive a copy of the Mairie’s monthly newsletter, which to be honest is a small price to pay for not having to burrow through a pile of irrelevant hamster bedding every time I check the post. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s always printed on glossy paper, so we can’t even used it as kindling for the fire.
Fortunately, copies of ‘Les Breves’ are freely available in the boulangerie (and practically everywhere else), so I continue to keep my finger on the pulse of the municipal body.
First up in the April issue is allotments. There are to be 40 of them, as well as a communal toolshed and compost heap. As of the beginning of the month, only seven were still available, the rest having been snapped up by would-be smallholders, probably gardeners tired of having the pumpkins roll off their land and in search of something a bit more horizontal.
Sticking with the horticultural theme, we are exhorted to participate in this summer’s maisons fleuries competition. I fear we have no chance, as our abode currently boasts one small rhododendron which shows no inclination to flower.
What’s more, our summer migrant neighbour has just arrived, which means her house will shortly be covered in the luxuriant geraniums which she must spend the entire winter nurturing, probably in a professional greenhouse with heat lamps and automated watering system. Either that or she cheats and buys them from the garden centre.
Moving on, we have half a page dedicated to rubbish. Physical rubbish, you understand, and the recycling of it. We recently scored for a spanking new déchèterie, as a result of which it appears we are now responsible for getting rid of our own junk rather than just leaving random bits of domestic appliance next to the bin and hoping they will disappear into thin air. Not that this has stopped people from doing just that – there has been a mouldy suitcase and a flea-ridden mattress next to the communal bin hut for the past three weeks.
There is also a fascinating piece of information regarding old electrical goods: apparently these should no longer be fly-tipped into the Romanche, but can be returned to the shop for recycling. I may try this one day just for comedy value – I can imagine how entertaining it would be for the Saturday part-timers in Conforama to have some lunatic foreign woman roll up with a broken washing machine and insist on leaving it in the shop.
Also on the environment front, I see that we are to be demousticated. I’m not sure why, as I’ve never seen a mosquito in the eight years we’ve lived here. On the other hand, that might just mean that the demoustication people are doing a fine job in protecting us all from insect infestation. We are urged to welcome the demousticators onto our property as and when required, though since the only stagnant water we have is the cats’ drinking bowl I can’t see them being all that interested.
The new library, it appears, is to open from nine to three on Saturdays (thereby almost doubling its total opening hours), and for some reason also needs to be given a name. Presumably because otherwise people will go around referring to it willy-nilly as ‘the library’, which would never do. Of the names under consideration, I would have to vote for ‘Maison des Livres’, since I am inclined to call a spade a bêche and in any case don’t necessarily share the French penchant for bad puns, an array of which is available.
Finally, a quick round-up of important dates for the diary. A Bat Evening at the national park office (no, I don’t know either); a conference on Tibetan medicine at the museum; a chocolate exhibition at Vaujany; a gig featuring local band Bad Thunder; and a health and beauty workshop. It all happens round here.
Oh, and it seems we have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/oisansinfo?ref=sgm We’re on the ball out here in the sticks you know.