Saturday, May 10, 2008

Day 84 – A “stroll”

I have to get out! I felt the need to get some exercise, so I decided to walk to the Jura Mountains, in France. So I took the bus to the border (only 15 minutes from the house), and got ready to walk from there. Unfortunately I was misled by the bus map, which is not drawn to scale, and my “stroll” turned into a death march to the town of Gex, which is at the base of the Juras. Normally I wouldn’t mind walking a few kilometers through unknown country, but it was hot and the route was by the side of a minor but busy highway (something like walking from Waterford to Oakdale along the highway). When I got to Gex I was ready to throw in the towel, so the true walk through the Juras will have to wait for a later time. Here are a couple of photos from Gex, including a sign that directs you to the field of “Perdtemps”, which I liberally translate as a place to “waste time”.

I took the bus back, and found Auréle enjoying a well deserved lazy noon, reading and basking in the sun. Hmm, the garden sure is beautiful, full of wild flowers (enter the Devil: “Yes, but it is overgrown, and pretty soon it will become an unmanageable jungle). Rats! OK, so poor Auréle had to come down from his cloud, and we spent the next couple of hours mowing the lawn (only did about a third) and cleaning the brush.

Much to our delight Yvette and Loïc came to visit, so we had a perfect excuse to put down the tools. Loïc came to challenge Auréle to a game of ping-pong, so I got to see, once again, how competitive these boys can be! The ping-pong table is a well known landmark in Route de Ferney, and for the next hour saw furious use.

Yvette, on her side, had invited her friend Eleanor and her two kids, Aude (4 years old) and Louis (5 years old), to come enjoy the garden. She had also brought all sorts of games with her, mostly of the throwing in the air variety, so we had great fun getting them stuck in the trees and then trying to knock them down. My own contribution was to teach Louis the basics of throwing and catching an American football.

A bit later Julie, Thierry, Cleo, Tina, and Samir joined the party, which in promptu turned into the first barbecue of the season. Here is a picture of Eleanor and Cleo, with Samir in the background, and also a picture of Aude playing “crocodile” with Auréle. The fire exerted a strange fascination on Louis, who showed all the signs of becoming a pyromaniac. He kidnapped a lighter, and proceeded to test the flammability of everything in sight. Did you know that dandelions are explosively flammable?
Great fun!

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