Meet the neighbours

Today, we feature the latest product of the joint venture with the online edition of our local newspaper, Le Quotidien de Faire-le-Dodo (87). Our regular reader will recall that we set this up at the beginning of this year with the aim of enhancing mutual friendship and understanding between the local and expat inhabitants of our fair commune.

Recently, the editor-in-chief of Le Quotidien, M Jean Saisquoi, and myself met up with one of our newest incomers, Mr Ron Gorblimey, and well-known local character M Pierre Tuertout, in the back room of The Surrender Monkey Bar & Bistro, where, over a convivial all-day Full English (andouillettes for Jean and Pierre), we put some searching questions to them. We think that their respective answers provide an excellent insight into what unites, as well as what divides, our community.

Tell us where exactly in the commune you live.

RG: We’ve just moved into the converted barn by the pond in Cul-de-Nullepart – you know, the little place at the end of the track off the lane that runs between Deux-Étables and Malade-des-Moutons.

PT: I live in that new-build bungalow on the Trouperdu road, the one set back in the landscaped garden with the peacocks. I had it built in 2011, after I sold my father’s old house and barn. In Cul-de-Nullepart.

How long have you lived in Faire-le-Dodo (87)?

RG: myself and the good lady wife bought the property in 2010. It was in a shit-state – pardon my French – but the renovations took longer than expected, so we only finally moved in at the end of last year. Trouble was, we wanted to do the proper thing and use local craftsmen. Nice workmanship, but they tended to go AWOL, if you now what I mean. And all those saints days.

PT: I’ve lived here all my life, why not? But of course, I’ve been to Limoges. Several times.

What is your occupation?

RG: I’m retired now, being the wrong side of 65, but I used to be a London taxi-driver. I had that Carla Bruni in the back of the cab once. Lovely lady. Good tipper too.

PT: I was a fonctionnaire in the Agricultural Hand-out Disbursement office of the Département, but I’m 53, so obviously I’m also retired now.

The locals and the expats are still largely two separate groups. What’s the one activity you’d recommend to give the other group a better idea of your own culture?

RG: Yeah. They should come down the Frog and Fromage when there’s a game on the big screen and get a skinful, like the rest of us.

PT: That’s easy – the chasse. It’s our heritage. Nothing reinforces our spiritual connection with the terroir of our ancestors than roaming all over it on a Sunday morning looking for something to kill. And eat.

And is there one activity that goes in in the other group that you would particularly like to try?

RG: We keep seeing these little signs by the side of the road advertising, what is it, Super Loto? That’s like bingo isn’t it? Me and the missus used to love going down the Mecca on a Saturday night, so that could be interesting [it isn’t – Ed.].

PT: My sister in Délabré told me that her English neighbour is starting up a Morris Dancng Society. This is very traditional and popular in England, non? [Non. Ed.]

What’s the best thing about living here?

RG: Well, the fuel’s cheap – and I don’t just mean the diesel eh? Eh?

PT: This is a very tranquille and beautiful part of rural France – except on Sunday mornings, of course.

And the worst thing?

RG: Too many foreigners.

PT: Not enough foreigners: I’ve still got two houses and three barns to sell and the French won’t go near them.

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