by Clare Jones
This morning all the inhabitants of Oundle, my new place of residence, woke up wondering if they had a problem with une chaudière en panne –‘a broken-down boiler’ but no, we were soon to discover by knocking on neighbours’ doors that the whole town is without gas. Somewhere underground there must be a problem with la canalisation de gaz – ‘the gas main’. There are two nice things about this event: one is that strangers are talking to each other in the shops and in the street as everyone tries to work out what is going on; the other is that I can wrap myself up in blankets on the settee with a book in my hand without feeling guilty. I love the French word s’emmitoufler – ‘to wrap up warmly’. Je me suis emmitouflée dans une couverture polaire – ‘I wrapped myself up warmly in a fleecy blanket’. We are not expecting our gas to be restored very soon, so I hope Oundle’s residents are all finding a way to keep warm.
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