Thursday, 18 December 2008

17.12.2008 Wednesday – Welcome to the Hotel de Ville

After many days of rain, at last we are having a dry but damp spell. Time to poke my head out of the door and get some things done.
Dressing up warmly and sporting hat and gloves, I set off to register to vote.
Of course I went to the Hotel du Departement first instead of the Hotel de Ville, but having my trusty camera with me, I took this photo of the snow on the neighbouring hills/mountains.

Next stop was the Hotel de Ville. Up the stairs and along a varnished wooden floor to the office of the Secretariat General.
A very friendly lady took a photo of my passport and electricity bill, asked me lots of questions and discussed what she thought I might be having for Christmas dinner, including ze Kreesmas poodeeng. Whilst dealing with me, she also took about 5 phone calls. I think that one of them was arranging to meet someone for lunch. I got my paperwork back and signed 2 electoral forms and I asked if that was everything completed. Yes she said.
I reached the top of the stairs and she came running after me waving two pieces of paper. One for the European elections which are taking place in June? 2009 and one for perhaps municipal elections (I cannot remember).
Will I need to keep these to be able to vote? I asked. No, she said, they would send me information through the post at the appropriate time.
So I now have 2 more pieces of paper to file away.
The sun was shining when I left the Town Hall. Next stop was the Prefecture to register my presence in France. The opening hours on the wall indicated that they would be closing at 11.30am. It was now 11.16am, so I turned round and headed off again. Nothing official involving paperwork ever got completed in France in 14 minutes!!
In the town I bumped into my 86 year old friend Rene, so we had a little chat. He told me about his sciatica and a story about someone, but he was speaking so fast that I did not have a clue what he was on about. Not having full hearing yet in my right ear did not help with comprehension.
There was more evidence of Christmas coming. More Christmas trees were standing beside business entrances with more foil bows, but now that the rain has ceased, many shops had a piece of Christmas carpet spread on the road / pavement outside their entrances.

As I wandered around, I could hear music. Wait a minute, I thought, you don’t normally hear music in this street. The town appears to have sprouted a tannoy system covering many of the streets. No Christmas tunes were playing though. Perhaps it is still too early?

Tonight is choir practice, so I decided to have an afternoon siesta.
My singing voice is still a croak (some people would say that it always was) so much to Michel’s annoyance I did not do the physical warm up or the vocal warm-up as I would have had no voice left by the time it came to sing the Petite Messe.
I managed to last out the full practice and was privileged to receive the information that if you feel flu coming on, you have to sit in a bath of extremely hot water for 20 minutes.
Well that’s the singing over until 7 January so I can rest my voice till then.

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