Working Day at La Giraudière – Part Two
Last week I wrote a post about a typical workday at La Giraudiere. As I become a more seasoned
observer and participant here, I’ve come to realize there is no such thing as a typical workday. Last week, I watched Marlene and Colin happily working in the garden. The weeds and neglect had required some tender loving care which they were happy to provide. But with the garden taking on a new life, they have moved onto other ventures. Colin has joined Matthew and Paul in the main house to try his hand at plastering. Matthew, under Paul’s guidance has becoming quite proficient and may be find himself soon in the capacity as a supervisor. Meanwhile, Marlene has taken over the kitchen for preparing lunchtime fare. Everyone takes a turn at preparing a meal at La Giraudiere but sometimes lunch can be a catch as catch can affair. Under the watchful eye of Marlene, however, lunch is often as nutritious and delicious as the evening meal. Not one to forget her past loves, Marlene can still be found in the garden on most afternoons but she has stepped up her game a bit, pruning roses and clearing ivy.
Last week Sal restored the aging picnic tables back to their youthful luster with fresh coats of paint. He enjoyed the task so much that he took his expertise to the front gates. Looking a bit like Tom Sawyer but refusing to give up the brush, Sal claimed he had been able to listen to all of Beethoven’s nine symphonies as he brought back the youthful vigor of the picket fences. A music student from Queens University of Belfast, he may never find a paintbrush in his hand again or possibly he may take a fancy to listening to all of Mozart’s concertos and find painting to be the perfect excuse.
Leon and Bridget arrived last week just as the work week began. Besides a couple of suitcases, they also arrived with a massive case of jet lag, as they had traveled directly from Melbourne, Australia. Just the assorted odd job here and there was suitable for their somewhat fragile conditions. A good long weekend restored them to the vitality so associated with the folks from The Land Down Under. This week they could be found on ladders plastering and smoothing out the seams of the drywall. It’s a skill that will follow them home and come in handy whenever they buy their first home.
Jacques, back in the office, however can ill afford to take time off to pursue other pursuits. The daily operations of La Giraudiere require that someone be on top of the daily correspondence, bills and phone calls. However, don’t let the French first name fool you. Jacques will be an Englishman Abroad next year as
he takes a year to study in Bordeaux. Several times a week he takes a little time off for an advanced French lesson. Although the rest of La Giraudiere volunteers get weekly French instruction, he is literally in a class of his own. His volunteer work at La Giraudiere coupled with his French lessons are leaving him with a confidence that he will manage quite well in his year abroad.
Finally, your blogger, although keeping the same task, gets to live vicariously through all the activity that makes La Giraudiere thrive. Taking pictures and interviewing the other volunteers gives me a great appreciation of all the contributions the volunteers make at La Giraudiere.
Posted by Travel writer Terrence Cremin while on working holiday at La GiraudièreTwitter and Facebook!