banc
garde-manger

chiffon

Bottling-truck
The mobile-bottling machine and one man with a lot on his mind... and the day hasn't even begun yet. Read on, in today's story. 

chiffon (she-fown) noun, masculine
    : rag, duster, dust cloth

Check out the French Country Diary 2009 (desk diary & calendar)

Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word and this expression "donner un coup de chiffon": Download chiffon.wav .Download chiffon.mp3

Terms & Expressions:

  vieux chiffons = old rags
  parler chiffons = to talk about fashion
  un chiffon de papier = a scrap of paper

... and this expression (and example, in today's story): donner un coup de chiffon = to give something a polish / touch up with a cloth


A_day_in_a_french_life
Yesterday, beneath a pouring Provencal sky, we bottled our 2007 Mistral*: all 10,300 examples of it (and just in time to clear the cellar for next week's incoming grapes!). If the bottling process took only seven hours, this was thanks to an international influx of helping hands. From the east and west
coasts of the States, and as far away as Australia, aid arrived, strong, smiling and a bit sopping wet...

Flanked by a row of flowering rosemary and a field of rapidly ripening rasins*--a thundering sky on the horizon--we worked the day away. Some of us were stationed inside the mobile bottling truck, where the bottles made their way down the conveyor belt and into the cartons--others were posted outside,
offering up empty cartons or "catching" the full ones as they slid down the chain-bottomed slide.

"Eh merde!" Jean-Marc complained, when the truck lost power after yet another celestial grumble from above. We stared at the bottles, now frozen in place, inside the machine. Well, at least it isn't raining!, I thought, at which point the sky responded with a cantankerous CLAP and, like that, down poured the pluie.*

Michelle When the lights returned, the bottles followed suit--spitting out from the truck's entrails in time for us to collect and pack them. I worked side-by-side with Michelle, who had flown in from Paris, via San Francisco. Erin, from Australia, was our supplier: it was her job to build the boxes, insert the
intercalaire,* and hand us the prepared boxes in time to fill them.

As the rain poured down, droplets began hitting the bottles on the conveyor belt, the rain having made its way into the truck with the help of the wind. I watched as Michelle flew into action: drying each and every bottle with the tail-end of her T-shirt! Taking her example, I cradled the newly-labeled bottles into my own T-shirt, in time to give them a good patting dry and, like that, after a quick coup de chiffon* the bottles were laid to bed in cozy, dry cartons... having been tended to like well-fed babies, caressed, and even blessed, by the baptismal pluie de Provence. Braise-bottling

***
Photos of our équipe*:  Charles (Florida) photo to the right, Ross (Washington State) ... whoops, can't find the photo of Ross..., Erin (Australia) above photo (on left), Michelle (California) above photo (on right).... More pictures as the grape harvest gets underway.... And, yep, that's Braise-the-Dog in the photo to the right... ever hard at work on her siesta, as the world whirls round her.

Talk about today's word or story or share a vignette of your own, here:
http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/2008/09/chiffon.html#comments


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
le mistral (m) = a) violent northern wind b) Mistral 2007 = one of our Domaine Rouge-Bleu wines--find them here.
le raisin (m) = grape; la pluie (f) = rain; un intercalaire (m) = divider; le chiffon = une équipe (f) = team


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