08 May 2013

The End. For now...

If I say I'm writing this post in England, then that will tell you that my time in Melle has come to an end. Yes, after nearly 7 and a half months in the west of France, I am back in the real world that is north London. But fear not, I am only home for a week before I set off on another French adventure.

Early evening sunlight in Melle

But more on that later. For now, I feel it's about time that I tell you about my last couple of weeks in the pays mellois.

My absence from the blogosphere can be almost entirely attributed to my research project that was due in last Thursday. I won't drone on about my last minute struggles to get it all done, but let's just say I can't remember ever being quite so stressed. 

So on Thursday evening with the dissertation due at 17:00, I submitted it at 16:58, attempted to tidy and clean my essay-abused flat in half an hour for the landlord's inspection at 17:30, all whilst awaiting the imminent arrival of my parents.

Having my parents FINALLY get to see Melle was so so lovely! As we only had two full days before we headed back across the Channel, we decided to stay local, and so Friday was spent at the market and walking in and around Melle, and Saturday I showed them Celles-sur-Belle and Niort under bright blue skies. And we had 7 different cheeses between us. And lots of pains-aux-raisins. Just making the most of my last few days in France. ;)

Really wish I could teleport this patisserie back to England :(
Aww, bluebells
Dad and Mum loving life in Melle...
Old Melle hospital through the flowers
Niort - the Sèvre Niortaise river in the foreground, and Eglise Saint-André at the back
Eating bread, cheese and pâté by the river
Le Donjon

Rather excitingly, it was Games Night at the Café on Friday night, so deciding that this was the best way to witness Melle life, we went along for the plat du jour (which was Moroccan chicken and couscous) and had a game of Scrabble, as people in Melle do on a Friday night. The games commenced with a standard poem by Afro Man and his side-kick, and then bizarrely followed with a random game of musical chairs for which the music was provided by aforementioned side-kick on a kazoo (Google it if you don't know what one is - coolest instrument ever in my opinion). It may have been the most tedious game of Scrabble I have ever played and we didn't finish it until 1am. And I lost.

Side-kick and Afro Man 
Side-kick and Non-Afro Man taking the game very seriously
The result of 3 hours of wordplay

On the Sunday, after struggling but eventually managing to pack 3 cases and 5 boxes of my crap into the car, we set off on our 10 hour drive back to Blighty.

The greatest work of car loading you'll ever see.

Oh, and I also became obsessed with Wisteria at the weekend:

How could I forget?! I had my last last day at school last week, which was sad! I got given homemade macaroons, several hand drawn union jacks, and lots of cards from my pupils which was so cute, I will miss them loads!

Some of the leaving presents I got from my pupils
Me with Dominique and Anne-Lise, the English teachers

I will write another post over the next week reflecting on my past year as an English assistant and my life in general in France, but until then, I'll tell you where I'm off to next Tuesday.

For the next 6 weeks (hopefully) I am going to be a WWOOFer. For those that don't know, that stands for World Wide Organisation for Organic Farming, and is a worldwide scheme in which farmers advertise their farms and hope to receive volunteers, known as WWOOFers, to help on the farm in return for accommodation and food. So I'll be working on a fromagerie high in the Pyrenees for the first three weeks, milking cows and sheep and learning how to make cheese. If you haven't already gathered, cheese is literally in my top favourite things about life in general, so I am mega mega excited. I should have the afternoons free which will give me lots of time to go for walks in the mountains. It better be sunny!

For the other 3 weeks, I'm hoping to go to a vineyard preferably in Provence, but I haven't had much luck so far in finding a place that still has space, as I left it a bit late to contact them. I'm hoping I'll be able to secure somewhere last minute.

Beautiful sky on the way home from France :)

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