Thursday, 7 April 2011

France - Woof!


Wim leaves very early before I wake. He is going to study away for ten days or so. He very kindly lets me stay as long as I wish – and suggests I see some of his friends about some wwoofing (volunteering) opportunities.

Very relaxing day – reading and playing guitar. I speak to Fanny his neighbour. She has a pottery workshop and suggests that (as she need some help) I join here there and in return she will sort out my meals each day. Thanks to Wim my accommodation is sorted – and so I accept.

In the evening we drink beer in another neighbours garden. Bottles of Leffe disappear and eventually we are greeted by the stars (new moon). The pace of life here is perfect – I feel myself losing track of the days once more.

Later on Richard (from Istanbul & The Boat) arrives. I'm a little surprised (and impressed) that our vague plan of meeting up actually reaches fruition.


At eleven I go the workshop to meet Fanny. She gives me a tour of the workshop and the premises. An old cement factory by the river is now in the process of being converted into many small commercial units. I meet tailors, musicians, builders, artists and the like. Once the introductions are over I get to work making clay jewellery. While I do so Fanny and Cathy (with whom Fanny shares the workshop) teach me a little about the process involved. There is a lot more science in it that I realised – a goulash of colours, chemicals and temperatures. I feel a career change coming on...

Lunchtimes at the workshop are a social affair. Everyone sits at a big communal table in the courtyard and each worker takes their turn in cooking up a feast. It's a great opportunity to have a laugh and escape the office – or workshop in my case.

My three hours labour get me a free dinner – with a cheeky beer thrown in. Mellow evening film watching.


Richard and I rise reasonably early. Our mission for the morning in to head down to the supermarkets for some Dumpster Diving. The first bins lid we open reveals half a pack of biscuits – supplying us with vital energy for our activities. Then onwards to the supermarkets and the Premier League of discarded food goods. At Intermarche we pilfer three loafs of bread, goats cheese, butter a bag of salad leaves and the cream of the crop – two peppered steaks. All of which were sealed and in date. We were not so fortunate with Lidl as the bins had just been emptied – not a bad haul all the same....

We then head to the local market to meet our friends. After a quick walk around the market (all the food is natural organic goodness and therefore out of our pricerange) we all go down to the river for a picnic. Wednesday here is “the day for children”. The schools are closed and children spend the day with their parents – often to take part in art, play or outdoor activities. What a great idea.


The day kicks off with another Dumpster Diving session. It appears today is the day when they sling all the meat. We leave with more protein than we know what to do with and two cakes from the bakery – pear gateau and two huge vanilla slices. Scorchio!!

I join Fanny for the communal lunchtime meal. In the afternoon I prepare the bike and begin to load my luggage ready for the off tomorrow.

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