Hey guys, how are you all doing today? I hope you’ve had a good week. This week, I’ve been getting ready for Christmas.
So the majority of this post was actually written en-route to home, since I had a full day of travelling yesterday.
But let’s start with Tuesday (if you remember, last week’s post was uploaded on Monday). A running theme of this week has been endless cleaning and Christmas shopping. Going by advice from my home uni on leaving for the holidays, I made sure everything was clean for when I get back.
On Wednesday, this continued over, but on the evening I made a new step in becoming an Offical Frenchman™. I found out that I can get French TV online for free (so long as I’m in France or one of the French colonies). Anyone learning or teaching a foreign language will know that one of the best ways to improve listening skills is via radio or television. Normally, I wouldn’t be able to get French TV in the UK, but now I can! Although a lot of channels are only available by a subscription to Canal (the major French TV service provider), there are a few free channels. So far, I’ve managed to get around thirteen channels with varied programming. These are: all the channels in the France.TV group; France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5, France Ô, France Slash, France Info and La Première, and some of the channels under the TF1 group; TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films, and LC1.
France.TV (also known as France Télévisions) is a state owned company, and is the French public national broadcaster. It’s kind of like the BBC, except it has adverts. The TF1 group is a private company and is Europe’s largest private television channel.
Although I don’t have that many channels compared to a subscription package, I have a lot of great programming. From American sitcoms dubbed in French, to the 8 o’clock news, to daytime game shows. I already have a few favourites: “Personne n’y avait pensé!”, “Journal 20h”, “N’oubliez pas les paroles” and “Des chiffres et des lettres”. Not only can I now get the news in French, and actually keep up to date with world events, I can also get used to the natural speed of spoken French with daytime TV. Plus, I get to know French personalities.
By Thursday, I was pretty much packed, apart from last minute things like my passport, toiletries and my backpack. That evening, I was all set to enjoy a weird-looking French film called “L’Indien dans la ville”, which I caught the first 5 minutes of. But then I was invited for a game of ping-pong downstairs and to hang out with food. Or so I thought. I went home two hours later covered in wine and smelling of beer.
After a lovely night’s sleep, Friday rolled around. My last day in Clermont before Christmas. I didn’t want to go out, in case I spent any more money and ended up getting home late. I had to be up early the next day. For once, I actually kept my promise. During the daytime, I enjoyed some Christmas films and finished packing by early evening. I also scrubbed my fridge down and threw out anything expiring over the holidays. All I had left was a tub of butter and a jar of jam.
Saturday morning soon appeared. I was up at 6:30 to make sure I wasn’t affected by the gilets jaunes and the police strikes. In the end, I got to the station an hour and a half early, but I’d planned things to do throughout my journey (such as planning this post).
I was glad when I finally got on the train and I could relax a little. I had a few films saved and a couple of TV episodes. I started with Love, Actually and had a few breaks every now and again. By the time the credits were rolling, I fancied a cup of tea. Luckily, the train had a food carriage. Unluckily, it was in the third carriage, and I was in the sixteenth. So after a marathon there and back on a rocking train, I sat down with a lovely lukewarm cup of tea. On my way back, I bumped into my German friend Christian, who was on his way home. I never got to see him before I left so I got to say goodbye.
We pulled into Paris Bercy station at about 2 o’clock, then I had to get to Montparnasse station. For that, I needed the Métro. But annoyingly, the nearest station was for ticket-holders only, and it was raining. And I had open bags. When I actually arrived at the station, I still had an hour to wait, so I sat down and had a snack while reading the paper. At 4 o’clock I made y way to the train and took my seat. I had been there for 5 minutes then an announcement came on. I didn’t catch the first half, but the whole carriage groaned. Then they said someone had left their bag unattended and we had to evacuate the train as a safety precaution. Great
So for about half an hour, me and the other passengers were waiting near the main station entrance while a fire engine and a police car turned up. In the end, we were moved to a different train also going to Rennes. We were already half an hour late, so I hoped I’d make the train to Montauban-de-Bretagne. In the end, we arrived at Rennes 40 minutes late so I had to run to get my train. Even though we pulled in two minutes after it was due to leave, my train was miraculously still on the platform taking passengers. So I eventually made it to Montauban at about half 7, then back home at half 8 (we got lost and kept taking random roads until we found the right one).
So last night, I was back home! After a welcome greeting from my siblings, a good few kisses from the dog and a deathly stare from the cat, we sat down to eat. It was nice to actually eat with other people around a proper table. Later on we sat to watch some TV (British TV at last!) and went to bed.
Now, today was a busy day. I woke up this morning with the animals on my legs and the children arguing upstairs. We went out to get bread around midday and I spent the afternoon gift-wrapping. In the late afternoon, we (me, my sisters and brother) took the dog out for his long walk around the field. We were almost home when my sister got herself stuck in the mud. My other sister was halfway up the hill, and my little brother was also sinking. I got my brother out, then ended up getting stuck trying to pull my sister out. By the time I got her free, and retrieved her shoes from the ground, we were absolutely covered in mud. It was like the opposite of those power-washing videos. My shower tonight was very welcome!
I’ll leave this post here for today, because my tea’s nearly ready and I’m very much looking forward to it. Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate! I hope you enjoy the rest of your day, whichever continent and time zone you’re in! A bientôt!