Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just a wittering kind of post really

Don't tell Rosie I'm here.  I'm supposed to be finding model business letters of introduction to our services in French on the web, for our new venture (which is nothing as risqué as that might sound).  Our husbands are beginning to suspect that our weekly business meetings are largely a pretext for walking the dogs, which we do indeed do, but we talk business too.  There are so many things to think about.  I have a book of business French which I've been looking in, but then I saw that it was nearly twenty years old, from the time when we first were considering moving here, and I was led to wonder if even French business language may have changed a little in that time; we don't want to sound like something out of Molière...

In fact I've had quite a good day in the office; I actually made a list of Things I Wished to Accomplish and have achieved most of them, (save for turning out a credible sounding letter of professional introduction in French for Rosie's Darling Daughter to peruse and correct...).  It's true that a number of them were rather frivolous.  Such as taking out a year's sub to Jacquie Lawson's e-cards because I'd almost missed my Australian brother's birthday and wanted to send something other than a colourful e-mail, and I've been meaning to get onto them for a while.  I'm not going to give a link, because if everyone does it, they'll lose their appeal, you can Google if you want.

Another thing was to go back through my external hard drive and find the high res. copy of this photo.

This is because a woman with the very non-Breton sounding name of Cindy at the Conseil Régional de Bretagne saw it on Flickr and wanted it for a study of the region they were doing.  She was rather disorganised, kept asking me to sign a release for and send a full-sized copy of a photo without telling me which.  I was a bit disappointed it was this one; she could have found a similar image in a number of places, it's nothing special or original, an image of an image from fairly well-known place.  I had to go to the trouble of looking it out, printing, signing, scanning and returning the release with the larger copy... and if that's not acceptable presumably I have to provide the stamp.  All to gratify my own vanity to have a photo in public that probably won't even have my name on it.  Also it would have been churlish to say no, and she could have just nicked it and I'd never have known.

By coincidence, and really rather more gratifyingly, I picked up a comment on the post where that photo was first shown from someone who said they'd found the piece very helpful for a course they were teaching on church architecture, specifically about the dark ages.  I love those kind of rare comments on old posts, like the woman who would might have eaten horse chestnuts (conkers to fellow Brits) if she hadn't Googled and found my post about chestnut trees.  I have contributed to global knowledge of ancient Christendom and saved someone from unpleasant indigestion!

The other thing I had to do was organise some photos I took yesterday of E.'s house.  She is, after 7 years here, thinking of moving back to Holland, and wanted some shots for an estate agent's website.  E. is the most willfully uninterested, I might say ignorant, person I know, worse by far than Tom or my brother, about anything remotely digital.  She still has dial-up and was perfectly happy to give a home to our elderly Canon SLR film camera, which was quite nice really, as we didn't know what else to do with it.  So I agreed to take the pictures, though I warned her that since we don't want her to move away one bit, I might do my best to take really horrible ones so that no one would want to buy the house.  A., who had just arrived for our weekly yoga session, suggested a bit of judicious photoshopping to superimpose an image of a horrible pig-farm right next door, with perhaps some vile green poisonous seaweed lapping at the door.

Unfortunately, the morning sun came out and flooded the place, and I was unable to make it look very ugly at all.  In order to avoid E.spending all day waiting for even greatly reduced versions of them to crawl through her dial-up connection, I edited, reduced, exported and organised them into a Picasa web album, gave her the link, and told her just to click on them to enlarge, which might be a bit slow but should be possible, then she could choose the ones she wanted to use...

A breezy e-mail finally arrived in her peculiar pidgin combo of Dutch, English and French done on an AZERTY keyboard with the bare minimum punctuation or upper-case, saying yes, very beautiful, thank you, but 'I don't manage to make them bigger next time I see you we might find out which ones are the best,ok?'

Impossible woman.  I don't even bloody want her to sell her house.  I'm hoping her total uselessness is in part affected because she doesn't really want to sell her house either.

Anyway, since this has been some of the only photography I've been doing lately, I quickly scrambled a collage together of some of the pictures.  Not because I'm trying to act as an estate agent, but because at least here people take the trouble to look at my photos.  And because her house is full of charm and colour and light and life.  If by any chance any of you  did want to come and be my neighbours and buy an old Breton three-storey mill house with an acre or so of woodland garden, potager, sunny terrace, views to Moncontour which is a short (steep) walk away, all for about the price of a one-bedroom flat in the south of England then let me know and I wouldn't be averse to a commision.  However, you would have to guarantee to teach me yoga, keep wonderful dogs, play the piano and the accordion, make me laugh with your sometimes use of an unpredictable amalgam of several modern European languages, henna your hair and dress like a slightly demented retired ballerina. 

I'm not quite sure if I'm going to invite her to read the above or not.  She'd probably claim she couldn't get the link to work, anyway.

It's possibly worth enlarging the collage even a little more, since I didn't take the time to see that the best pictures were the biggest.


Well, considering this was only supposed to be a quick post, I seem to have rattled away at some length.  And I haven't left time for my original purpose which was to ask if anyone knows why when I open an e-mail photo attachment with Picasa (my default viewer), it then opens up a whole load of very small 'temporary internet explorer content' files.  It's creepy and weird and I don't like it; has anyone else experienced this and should I be worried?

Must go.


Zhoen said...

I've met folks who just deal with anything computer related as though it were symbolic maths, glancing and looking away in a sort of numerical prudery.

Beautiful home, reminds me of my cousins' place in Rowly, MA. No wonder, she probably doesn't want to leave it.

marja-leena said...

Oooh, charming place! What a good friend you are to do all this for someone you don't wish to move away. How I'd love to be your neighbour but I'm afraid I could not meet most of the qualifications, hah!

The Crow said...

I would come be your neighbor, too, but - alas - I am not qualified, either.

Your photos are wonderful glimpses into your friends home, Lucy. I hope whoever buys it will be a good friend to you, as well.

Lucy said...

Thanks friends. I would love to have any of you as my neighbours, and I'm sure you have plenty of eccentricities which are just as endearing. We would not be very near neighbours, this is a mile or two from where I live.

I observe that in the size I uploaded this collage, the right edge is cut off. I deal with that and maybe put up a title and some tags when I get home form work...

Julia said...

What type of company are you setting up? Intriguing stuff!

Roderick Robinson said...

We've just come into some money unexpectedly and so, for a split second, I did contemplate acquiring a Breton mill house. But of all the qualifications for becoming your neighbour the only one I could meet with any certainty is henna-ing my hair. A hell of a sacrifice since it continues to grow untrimmed and now resembles Hokusai's Great Wave. And even if I could bear to have it look the colour of tea I have to admit to various behaviour traits for which henna-ed hair wouldn't be sufficient compensation. Grabbing French people by their lapels and forcing them into conversation is one such, something that might create another Great Wave - of general resentment towards Brits.

As I mentioned some of the cash will go on employing a gardener so look forward to posts in Works Well about "Our man has just planted the petunias..." and "He's now exhausted from double digging, etc, etc."

Lucy said...

Now I'm really wishing I hadn't said all this, as you're all now saying you would come and be my neighbours if it weren't for the conditions! I would love for any of you to take E's place, without any of the provisos stated, though I might insist on BB's henna-ing his hair!

Our business idea is to go into people's workplaces and teach them English. I used to work for a company that did it who stopped a while back because of health and other problems, and no one has really filled that gap, so there is work to be had, we are sure. We are both registered as 'auto-emtrepreneurs', a new statute which makes it easier to set up as self-employed to try to make France a bit more enterprise friendly (and get people off the unemployment figures!).

Unknown said...

I picked up a book the other day called Le Parfait Secretaire. It was published in 1954 and is unlikely to have much relevance in the age of the email. It conists largely of sample business letters. However, Veuillez croire, madam, a mes sentiments les meilleurs.

Anil P said...

Charming home floodlit with such cheer. If only it was not another continent away . . . sigh!

Lucy said...

Plutarch - well, in fact that sounds very much like the 1990 one I've got - evidently these things don't change all that much.

Anil - oh, go on, you moved from Goa, a bit further wouldn't be too difficult surely, you'd love it...

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh I do wish I could come. It looks beautiful. My boys would send you crazy though - they are so noisy. They'd love that woodland though and to have dogs. Not sure they'd be so pleased about my henna-ing my hair.

But I have decided to stay here - at least for the next few years or so. Unusual for me - I rarely stick in one place for long.

Funny to think some people still don't use technology. I don't know anyone at all who is like that.

Lucy said...

Hello RB.

In fact I think your boys might drive you demented there, as there's only one big dormitory-like room at the top of the house -the photo second from the left in both the top and bottom rows - so they'd have to all pile in there together. It's more or less three large room stacked on top of each other, like a tower, except the middle one's divided into bedroom and bathroom.

I should curb my impatience about people who won't use technology. I'm still willfully and happily ignorant about lots of things, and probably adopt the kind of air of moral superiority as a blind to my ignorance that annoys me when other people do it. And E doesn't really take that line. She really only wants her computer for e-mails, and must save herself money that way.

Laura Frankstone said...

I'm ready to move in! There's even an easel in the garrett! I may not look like a slightly demented retired ballerina (or do I?) but I can be/am something analogously quirky----will you have me and David as your neighbors? ;D.
No kidding, Lucy, I would ADORE living there, absolutely adore it.

Avus said...

Yes - I would like to live there, Lucy. I have a wonderful dog, too. However my wife is not sure about me putting henna on my hair (what's left of it) and dressing like a slightly demented retired ballerina.

Lucy said...

Oh Laura, I'd love to have you there too! We looked across at it, in fact, from where the top left picture was taken when you were here. But what about your family and everything? The easel had a piece of sheet music on it, in fact, for the accordion playing.

If anyone's really serious, if E does decide to sell, I'll put a link up with more details.

Avus - I'd love to have you too, and your utterly beautiful sandwich-stealing dog. Gentlemen with less hair could always do interesting henna patterns on their erm... high foreheads, like those that Indian ladies do on their hands and feet!

Laura Frankstone said...

I thought we had seen it---or at least the area close to it! It would have to be a vacation house for us---you are so right that I couldn't leave my family.
The economy is so bad right now, though---wouldn't really be able to act in any kind of near time frame. It's good to know that such places do come up for sale, though.
D and I are going to go see gardens in Normandy this late spring, with a long, long drive one day to see Kerdalo. Wonder if we couldn't connect at some point that week? Will email you!

Lizzie said...

Re the photo for the Regional Council: I would make it a condition of publication that they give you a photo credit.
Also, do you not think you should be paid for it?
I have mixed feelings about letting organisations or companies have photos for free - it seems very unfair to people who do it for a living.
That said, I am guilty of granting permission myself, but have also been offered payment, so maybe you should hold out for this.
Enjoy the blog,
all the best.

Lucy said...

Laura - that'd be nice!

Lizzie - welcome and thanks. I started answering your comment, then found I had rather too much to say, so I think perhaps I'll write a separate post about it!

Bee said...

Well, you've made it look absolutely charming -- or captured the charm (one of the two). Is that bathroom really as large as it looks?

Sadly, I don't think I fit any of the criteria to be the new neighbour.

Kim said...

This is exactly the house of my dreams. No kidding! I've always dreamt of living in a stone house on a hill, with a light and airy interior, sunlight wafting through the windows. I would gladly be your new neighbor, and I'm sure I can put on a few yoga classes for you. The retired ballerina stipulation might be harder to fulfill as I can't dance, but I sure can pretend well. Think she'll sell it to me for a few bucks? Did I mention I bake really delicious cookies? ;)