Tuesday, June 1, 2021

My French Boys

This is Mathias in 1976.

This is Mat's brother, Fabien, in 1976.

These are the boys now with Fabien's daughter, Léa.

I went to study, teach and live in France in 1975 where I met the Periers. Marie-Claude was my teacher, and she became a dear, dear friend—such a trusted and valued friend, that I came out to her. 

I moved into their home with them and became a part-time minder to their two boys, Mathias and Fabien. I took the photos above in 1976. Later in life, Fabien came to live with me and my dad for a while when I came home, and he went to the high school I’d attended to improve and perfect his English.

The other photo above is one I got yesterday from Marie-Claude. It’s the boys today (Mat on the left; Fabien in the middle), and the lovely young woman is Fabien’s daughter Léa.

Yesterday became overcast almost immediately after the sun rose enough to inflame the treetops, so I was working on the roof without the sun burning me. I had my trusty rope for safety because I was scampering around on the house roof much of the day, as well as working from a ladder. It was scary when I was on the roof—it’s so easy and sudden to slip and lose one’s footing.

I was pretty tuckered out by 1:30 when I took my first break. I had lots to drink before getting back to it. And I persevered. I pushed myself to complete the entirety of the street side of the roof, so the house is done. Now only one side of the shed remains to be done and I’ll do that today so I can return the ladders and ropes to Kevin.

When I take a break, it’s mighty hard to get my butt back in gear and get up the ladder. The work is terribly tiring; by the end of the afternoon my arms were aching, and I was walking around at half-speed. And, because I’d also cleaned the top of the chimney, my clothes and face were black with soot. I looked a site. I washed myself and then I had to wash the bathroom to get all the black soot down the drain.

I’m mighty chuffed that I’ve been able to clean all my roofs. Even though I have one side of the shed roof to do, I feel finished already. The one remaining side is going to be very easy to clean. What an epic job! I earned my place on the couch last night.

It’s a beauty of a day. I have all my screened doors and windows open and so Fred and Ethel are particularly happy and doing their zoomies all around the house. I’ll spend the day doing the last half of the shed roof and I’ve a major watering task to do today. And tonight, I’ll enjoy a well-earned night on the couch.

My charcuterie arrived yesterday and my God it’s delicious. I’ll be ordering from them constantly. And more books arrived. I have a huge collection of unread books now and it should last me a long, long time.

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