Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Les Pompiers

Today I had to call the "Pompiers", which is the French equivalent of the fire brigade. But they do a lot more than just fight fires. I called them because we had found a wasps' nest in the garage (the second garage which we don't use - it is where Stef has stuff stored). I had asked Stef what we should do about it and he suggested buying a product to spray the wasps. But when I sent the photo showing how huge the nest was he got back straight away and said I should dial "18" for the pompiers. The wasps are called "frelon" and can be dangerous if anyone gets several stings, especially children. With such a big nest it was too risky to tackle ourselves.

The huge "nid de guêpe" in situ in the garage.

The nest was large and very beautiful. It seems a pity to destroy all the work of the wasps - they must have been busy while we were away - but we were advised to destroy it to remove the risk of stings.

The pompier was completely covered with protective overalls, helmet and gloves.

The children were inside trying to get a view of the proceedings.

The pompiers were very friendly, and it is just as well because I took heaps of photos. They have asked for one of the photos that they might be able to use in their annual calendar for 2010.

A close up of a dying wasp.

The spray was a neurotoxin which kills the wasps in ten seconds
After the wasps had been sprayed our neighbour Eric turned up - he said that dead wasps had been raining in his backyard. He brought his little boys to have a look at the fire truck, and they ended up staying for a drink.

The kids posing with a friendly pompier

Eric said I needed to watch my French because I had "tutoyé" one of the pompiers. In French there are two forms of the word "you". "Tu" is used for family, children, friends and close acquaintances, while "vous" is used for strangers, those in authority or as the plural from. Anne said she would never say "tu" to the pompiers, and they joked that I was making a pass at him because I had asked him "As-tu an adresse mail?". I was asking for an email address so that I could email a photo.


Anonymous said...

hou hou, this is a massive one!!
what did the pompier say: guêpes or frelon?

The Telfers In France said...

Yes, frelons. Which I have just found out means hornets in English.
Even the pompiers were impressed with the size of the nest.

Rike said...

Wow, what a beautiful nest and what a cute pompier - , I think I know why you said "tu" - hehehe ;-))). No, just kidding. You have no idea how many problems I still have with English.
Thank you for the great photos!