The Phillies may be done for the year, but it's still grève (strike) season here in France. The port of Marseille is blocked by the striking dockworkers, which means no deliveries of gas. I waited in line more than half an hour last week at a service station...and I was lucky to find one that had anything to sell.
Somehow the airport managed to stay open, and our visitors from London were able to arrive and depart, no problem. We spent a great day hiking along the cliffs overlooking the sea...
...where we could also see the oil tankers waiting for the port to open up again. They're there along the horizon.
Another stop on our "France on Strike" tour was the university, barricaded to protest...um...something. I'm not sure if we're on strike over retirement age or education reform.
What I DO know is that, as a teacher, striking is a personal choice, until the students barricade the school and you can't get in. My 6th and 7th graders aren't going that far, although a few of them did try to convince me that a strike is actually an official day off, and if you want to go to the protest, you can, but you DEFINITELY don't need to come to school. Sorry, guys. I'm not THAT out to lunch.
But back to our weekend visitors, and the baseball metaphor: we had a fun "France on Strike" activity planned. According to Josh (because I wouldn't know), strikes are noted in baseball stats with the letter "K." So, we decided to buy a bunch of canvases and put a "K" up on the wall each time there's a strike that affects us in some way. Between the time when we decided to do this and the time we finally got around to doing the paintings, we'd lost count of how many strikes there had been. So we just did five and called it even.
Now I need to figure out how to get them to hang straight. Any tips on hanging canvases?
By the way, the olive tree "K" is Josh's masterpiece. He's really digging les oliviers, which is a convenient fascination, since they're everywhere. We've even got one on the terrace, where we did our "Painting in Provence" afternoon.
We are LOVING our terrace. Yesterday we hung out there after work, drinking tea, skyping Josh's mom, and watching an episode of the office. The terrace was also VERY useful on Monday evening, when our electricity decided to join in the spirit of the grève. We turned on the stove to cook our friends one last dinner-en-provence before taking them to the airport, and POP, we blew the kitchen fuse. And, it was one of those old fashioned ones that actually has to be replaced. No way THAT was going to happen until the next day, so we whipped the burners out of the way cool custom-designed-oven/butcherblock thing and set them up on the bar outside. It was a bit cold standing out there in the starlight stirring greenbeans, but dinner still got cooked and the house didn't smell like pork chops afterward, so we might make the "outdoor kitchen" a more frequent occurrence.
En tout cas, the painting-on-the-terrace will definitely be repeated: there's another huge strike planned for November 6th, which just so happens to be the day we're heading in to Paris for a friend's wedding. Something tells me we're going to get some more wall art out of this one.