Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Michel’

Michel, our forestière friend from up the lane had given me a price for chopping down one of the huge sapins (pines) on site a few weeks ago. This one was quite tall, but had developed a serious lean. Given that we have campers that pitch right next to the ‘Leaning Sapin of Mouliherne’, Syb & I thought it a bit too dangerous to ignore, so we asked Michel to cut it down. The day arrived on Monday last week. It was a gloriously sunny day, campers and gite guests were enjoying the warmth of the sun completely and blissfully unaware of the noise that was about to follow! Michel turned up after breakfast armed with his tractor, trailer, ladders, chainsaws and….his mum! Apparently Mamy does the odd bit of tree felling herself, as well as helping out Michel with his ‘extra-curricular’ tree surgery. We were amazed to see this 4-feet something frail-looking old lady lugging around Michel’s chainsaws – some of which are bigger and heavier than she is, I’m sure! Still, a very able assistant she proved pulling the felled lower branches to one side for Michel to then cut into pieces small enough to fit onto the trailer. After two trips with a full trailer load of pine branches back to his yard, Michel then informed me of the plan of action. He was now going to climb the tree to cut off the mid and upper branches, before climbing back down to fell what then remained! That tree was around 15m tall, and this slip of a lad was going to climb it (without a harness – c’est normale!) and start swinging a live chainsaw around up there!

Syb & I decided to watch from the farmhouse patio.

Along with Bernard, who’d been fishing in our river that morning (unsuccessfully) and had popped in to say bonjour over a glass of red! His wrists are slowly returning to something akin to their normal size, but still painful to use. Bernard’s unsure yet whether he’ll still be able to use the rifle for his hunting, and even holding the fishing rod proved a little painful! What a shame, for a man so knowledgeable about the wildlife hereabouts to be denied his only real pleasure. We wished him continued improvement as he wandered off down the drive, touching the side of his temple with the index finger of one hand whilst pointing at the grinning monkey-like, chainsaw swinging figure rustling the upper branches of a very large pine with the other! He believes Michel’s more than just a little bit mad!

Anyway, Michel really knows how to climb trees and use a chainsaw too, and with Maman down below clearing the debris all went well pretty quickly indeed. Eventually, two more fully-laden trailers later, we were ready for the Grande Finalé. I brought out the camera to record the event for posterity. After deciding the required trajectory for our shaven pine to fall on, Michel chose his weapon from the armoury he’d brought with him and made a deep incision to the rear of the tree – away from the chosen landing position. Then carefully, like a surgeon performing a delicate nip & tuck, he sliced all the way around the trunk. The tree began to creak as Michel forced the chainsaw deeper into the trunk, slicing here and there whilst keeping a watchful eye on our totem pole, waiting for the point of no return! Suddenly, Michel pulled back from the tree and over she came, making a dull thud as she hit the ground. Exactly along the line Michel had chosen. I think he’s done this before you know.

Michel giggled maniacally, happy in his work. In fact, he giggled the whole time he was here. He giggles alot does Michel. I can understand why really, after felling a few smaller specimens myself. It must multiply the testosterone rush ten-fold to fell a really, really big tree!

So, we were left with the stump, about four feet tall now. The only thing left to do was to create a throne befitting the majesty of the pine we’d chopped down. Michel’s left me with the basic shape, and it’s now up to me to create the finished article! I’m really looking forward to it too! Here’s a photo I took.

Until the next time, au revoir.

TBC

All content © Le Chant d’Oiseau, 2006-2008

reddit_url='[http://ex-pate.blogspot.com/]’
reddit_title='[A Slice of Ex-Pat(é)]’

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Now, you remember me telling you about our Outdoor Philosopher, Harry? Well we heard a while back of a website created to provide the communication link between travellers and hosts to facilitate a similar arrangement. The idea is that people like us register as ‘hosts’. We provide the traveller with food and shelter in return for help around the place. Some helpers have very unique skills like carpentry, plumbing, electrics etc. Others just bring a unique perspective and boundless enthusiasm. We’ve had a few people wanting to help us here, but the timing wasn’t right for us or for them. Obviously, people love to be here in France in the summer, but for us that’s nigh on impossible to provide accommodation wise. But, after Harry left, Syb & I decided that we needed yet more help around here and were contacted by Marieke (pronounced Ma-ry-e-keh), a young German girl who was in Paris, but longed for some peace & quiet! Here fer gawd’s sakes!

Actually, it is reasonably peaceful here just now, and Marieke’s taken to this place (and us to her, it has to be said) like a duck to water! We’ve had a great week so far with her, she’s given us some much needed impetus to get on and get things done that have been festering for months! Today, she’s been joined by her boyfriend Manuel, who’s driven down from Germany to see her. Today, we’re working as normal, tomorrow though, we’ve suggested they take off and explore the area. We have another week with Marieke, and we’re seriously considering adopting her! Great company, great worker and a lovely girl all round!

The campsite’s taken a bit of a battering this year so far. Each time we think it’s dry enough to drive on, we’ve had to push, shove, grunt and generally manhandle cars, vans and caravans back off, and place them either on higher ground, away from the boggy stuff, or on the hard standing driveways. Sunday last, we had a ‘drop-in’ – our term for a camper who hadn’t booked in. They liked the look of the place (the sun was shining, birds singing) and decided to chance one of the corner pitches. Their ‘bus’ is a 3 and a half tonne beastie, which clearly wasn’t up to the soft-ground, and became stuck as fast as I could shout ‘STOP!’

Much pushing, grunting and swearing ensued, all the other guests played admirable parts in the charade which followed. Great ruts were formed in the making of this fiasco, but fortunately no animals were harmed, and all tempers and senses of humour were kept intact. Eventually, after an hour of jacking up wheels, placing carpets, wedges, rush mats under tyres. Of pushing and shoving, pulling & grunting to no avail, I gave in! In the car, I whizzed off to see first Gérard for the loan of a man and tractor. Gérard was off visiting family (Sunday, you see), so next port of call, whizzing past our place to the confused stares from various campers, was to Michel’s place. Michel’s a forestiere, a forestry worker, and Sunday afternoon would normally find him a bit worse for wear, but God (or whoever’s in charge of campsite owner’s sanity up there) decided to smile on me, and Michel was more than capable of driving his huge forestry tractor down to ours, attaching a line to the bus and pulling him free of the Somme-like trenches!

Now, you may think after all this palaver, that the owners of the bus would simply say “er….just one night please” – but no. After we’d relocated them on the nice hard standing next to the old barn, there they stayed for 5 nights, leaving just this morning. A lovely couple, with a great attitude to camping, they’ve been a part of what makes Le Chant d’Oiseau so special to us. They’ve ‘got us’, and what we’re trying to do here. We’ve shared some laughs with them, eaten with them and drank with them. Someone else we’ll be sorry to see leave the place, but hopefully, now they know where we are, they’ll be back one day soon. Hopefully not after a few months of seemingly relentless rainfall though!

Friends from the UK arrive here tomorrow. Ant & Tara have been regular visitors to Le Chant since we became the owners, on their own or with other friends at first, and now with their own little boy, Joe. Or – ‘Little Joe’, in true Bonanza stylee! They’ve usually stayed in Chardonneret, and indeed, they tell us they think that’s where Little Joe was made! I have to take advice from them both tomorrow as to whether they’d like to enlarge their family, before we decide on their accommodation…

So, with the weather set fair (for a change) a barbeque could be on the cards, and it’ll be a true european nations affair, with our friends from the UK, Marieke and Manuel from Germany and our first French guests of the year too. Looking forward to it, very much!

Until the next time, au revoir.

TBC

All content © Le Chant d’Oiseau, 2006-2008

reddit_url='[http://ex-pate.blogspot.com/]’
reddit_title='[A Slice of Ex-Pat(é)]’

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: