14th July 2014
Dear friends around the world,
Writing this blog entry for you (my Indian friends particularly) has been on my to-do list ever since I returned from India back in April. I already started a few times but didn’t finish it. My to-do list seems to be more of a bank of things I don’t get round to doing. For months I’ve been planning to “apply for jobs as a Teaching Assistant”, “apply for Part 2 at CAT”, “apply for that teaching job in China” and “tidy my room (especially desk) and sort out all the papers” amongst other things. Only this week did I finally manage to finish my CV and actually apply for some jobs: part time receptionist in my university's engineering faculty and two TA jobs in London. I am very pleased about this! :)
Other than making lists, looking up jobs, working on my CV and procrastinating, I’ve: finished and submitted that PEDR for my University; got the original Naughty Magic Simon line-up back together and done lots of band practices; played some cracking gigs; got my old waiter’s job back at the Chinese and got a second job in a shop in my village selling outdoor clothing & equipment. I’ve been to London twice, Nottingham twice and now I’m in Normandy, France, on a family holiday avec ma maman, papa, frère et sœur.
My mum can theoretically speak French well ; ‘theoretically’ because she gets nervous and forgets it all, and mixes it up with Welsh. The rest of us are terrible at French, but we are all keen to learn some more by the time we’re here again.
Holiday in France
The people in Normandy and Brittany are really lovely. My brother, sister and I went to the Bobital Festival in Brittany on Saturday 5th July and had a great time listening to top quality bands, eating crepes, gallets, frites and kebabs and meeting very friendly Bretanic people, who could often speak fairly good broken English but hardly any Bretan (that’s a pity because we speak Welsh which is closely related to the Bretan language). One of the first people we met was a girl called Jeanne from Rennes. We chatted a bit then after a while she went off to meet her friends. Much later when we were dancing to Ska-P in the rain and mud, we met another girl called Cecilia who coincidentally happened to be Jeanne’s friend, so then all five of us danced together and had a super good time! I took turns dancing merengue with both girls and Jeanne asked me to teach her a welsh dance. Ska-P played some bagpipes followed by a folky-jig style tune so Siôn and I showed them Welsh folk dancing (Dawnsio Gwerin). One couple made a bridge while the other couple went under it. A few other people joined in and we travelled all the way to the middle of the crowd, the row of bridges getting longer and longer as more and more couples joined in. My sister was not left out. She had got a really tall Breton man as a dance partner.
Our favourite bands were Danakil, Blondie, Elephanz and Ska-P.
Here are some clips from the day we were there, courtesy of youtuber Bernadette Ramel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4kA4Z4_DU0
Danakil are a French roots reggae band. I hadn’t heard of them before but thought they looked good in the blurb because I like French Reggae and world music. And they lived up to expectations. They are very popular in France and drew a massive crowd. One of the singers is from Senegal and he did a few songs in the Senegal dialect of French. They sing about political, social and environmental issues and the problems of a consumerist society, and about peace & love.
Elephanz are a French Indie Pop Rock band with excellent music and harmonies. They sung mainly in English but had some French songs too.
Ska-P were one of the bands I’d come to see. They are a long established Spanish Ska-Punk band and they sing very energetic political songs and have a crazy stage show where one of the singers dressed up in different costumes, and they had various props including giant security guard which I think had someone inside it on stilts. They were brilliant and great fun, but they were bit unfair on the bands on after them because they dragged their encore on too long. They kept saying “merci, bon soiree Bobital, siempre!” and then jumping into another song. Then at the end they danced around the stage and threw water bottles to the crowd. I really liked the song “Freedom for Palestina”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH6FOrP2Pqw
All of this for only €34 each (and the ticket for both days would have cost €54). It was a small festival with one band on at a time and no other tents except the VIP area, two long food counters and two bars. Food and drinks were paid for with tokens that we purchased from booths. I accidentally brought too many, or the token vendor gave me extra because she was nice, so we had a bit of a feast. There were two stages next to each other (so one band can set up while the other is playing), so one band on at a time.
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Other than this, we've been to lots of pretty and historic towns with old buildings and some sensetive extensions and restorations. We're all very impressed with the architecture, food, Breton folk music and lifestyle. If Britain leaves the EU then we'd consider moving to Brittany (or Scotland or Ireland). Normandy has been nice too although most of our sightseeing has been in Brittany. We've been staying in Normandy near the Brittany border in my Aunty & Uncle's second home, 20 mins walk from a village called Saint Martin de Landelles and a short drive from the small town of Saint James.
More pictures on the way! we're about to leave and catch the ferry now.
Now I am home and it's next week, so here are more pictures!
Most mornings I cycled to the village to get bread, milk and
croissants. I took the back road, past fields of corn, pylons, barns,
cows and houses.
|Mon Saint-Michel and new access way under construction
|A street in Dinan (which we saw on our way to Bobital)
Fest Noz in Saint-briac sur Mer, Brittany
|A very nice town, worth a visit!
Town fate in Saint James
|Great band playing Chanson Francais and gypsy jazz. We spoke to the singing violinist afterwards. She's from Paris and she works in a charity helping poor Roma people (they are discriminated against badly all over Europe). When she was young she traveled around performing music with a group of gypsy musicians! She gave me her email but I can't find it.