Extract from the novel “French Sand”

The bus was full of Kanak people, carrying baskets full of chickens or paw-paw; one person even carried a small pig.  A couple of European youths sat near the driver, smoking and talking loudly.   At the school she stood uncomfortably aware of her little sun-dress as she spoke to a nun who was totally covered from head to foot, to include a huge starched wimple jutting out like a halo from her head.    The school yard was dusty and smelt of latrines, but a remarkable purple bougainvillea spread itself along the covered walkways and the fronds of a palm jutted up in front of a classroom, startlingly green against the blue sky.

Non, Madame,” the nun replied somewhat curtly, “rien”.

Part of what made it so difficult was that this was a French-governed island and she was, essentially, a foreigner.  She guessed she was probably supposed to have a resident’s permit, and almost certainly a work permit.

It was the landlord who suggested she try the Commission.

“No offence,” he said, “but I need the rent in, see.  Can’t eat if I’ve got no rent coming in.”

He was of Indian extract, with a French passport.  A lot of Indians around Noumea seemed to own a bit of property which they let out.  Unlike the British, the French tended to rent rather than buy, and this syndrome had followed them to their colonies.  She had never heard of the Commission.

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Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites.  Her sketches are on her web site http://turquoisemoon.co.uk .  Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.

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Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  Her books are available as e-books on this site:-

https://payhip.com/b/tEva            “A Call from France”

https://payhip.com/b/OTiQ          “French Sand”

https://payhip.com/b/BLkF         ”The Man with Green Fingers”

https://payhip.com/b/1Ghq        “Saying Nothing”

They are also available on Amazon & Kindle, or can be ordered as paperbacks from most leading book stores and libraries.


Posted on 25/08/2012 by Catherine
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