Saturday, February 11, 2012

Movin' on... down

The past two weeks have been colder than usual here in France. Lows in the negative teens (about 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) in Clermont-Ferrand are warm compared to those of Eastern Europe, but when local averages for this time of year are on average above freezing, the results are frozen pipes, problems with snow removal and for the especially unlucky, heating problems. I am extremely grateful we got all of our hot water and heating issues out of the way in October  and that we are all snug and cozy in our apartment.

Photo: Inga Lucāne

We have ventured out during this cold snap; Lauris in his snow pants and winter boots with face hardly visible behind the shawl wrapping him like a mummy, and Mikus either in the carrier or BabyBjörn, under down comforter. However the trips have been short, a couple of times to the store, once to the Marché Saint-Pierre and last weekend to the marché aux puces (although Mikus and I stayed home for that one). I miss our almost-daily visits to the park and strolls through the city, although I’m not sure how much this break in routine is due to the weather and how much to my lack of energy.

Things haven’t slowed down much in spite of the weather, excluding the couple of snow days people stayed home because of bad roads it is business as usual here in Clermont. From our perch in the living room window we watch everyone hurrying to their destinations, bundled up and faces turned down to avoid the wind. (Whereas normally they are turned down to avoid the dog poop; this might be the best part of the cold weather, all the poop is frozen!) Then Thursday morning we woke to a commotion outside, and I entered the dining room to see quite a sight right outside our window.

The family on the 3rd etage (fourth floor in the United States) was moving out, and instead of transporting everything down stairs or trying to fit it into the cupboard-sized elevator, a vertical conveyor had been set up. This is normal for the city, with extremely narrow stairwells yet large balcony windows it is quite common to see people’s belongings traveling up and down on moving platforms. Lauris and I settled down to breakfast watching tables, chairs, boxes and other unidentifiable packages traveling past our windows. Entertainment for Lauris, amusing for me… until the moment one of the movers appeared, riding down and then back up with a particularly unstable load… with me, still in robe with bedhead, sitting only about 10 feet away.

I survived the embarrassment, Lauris spent another hour with his grandmother watching the men at work, and we thought warm thoughts for the men riding up and down on that platform in this chilly, chilly weather.


  1. What a surprise that must have been. I can't imagine watching my possessions ascend into the air, but I guess it's commonplace where you live. Thanks for the laugh this morning. I even shared your picture with my hubby.

  2. It has been freezing alright! I for one am tired of defrosting my frozen pipes.
    Hope you stay warm and cozy :-)

  3. What a great picture. We haven't really left the house either with this cold weather. Whenever we do, Noah is always in my carrier and covered from head to toe. I hope the sun comes out soon!


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