Football. Reunionese Style

It’s a well known fact, to those who know me, that I’m a football fan.  For as long as I can rememberI have followed, and mostly suffered, the fortunes of my favourite football team, Tottenham Hotspur, and my country, England.  When I lived in England I often went to matches to cheer the Spurs on.

Here in Réunion, to assauge my footy fix I regularly go to matches here.  The teams that play in the D1P, Réunion’s highest level league, attract about 500 fans.  It’s not many in comparison with crowds at the top games in England, but there are compensations.

A nice balmy evening in a small but well appointed stadium with coconut trees swaying and the Indian Ocean in the background is a complete change from the White Hart Lane stadium at the end of bustling Tottenham High Road.

Then there are the fans themselves.  A cross section of not just men but often entire families with mothers fathers and children watching their local teams.  The public courtesy, one of Réunion’s great strengths, is also evident.  I am often invited to shake hands with a fellow supporter, someone I’ve never met, but who wanting to reach his seat doesn’t push or shove, but with a kind « good evening » passes me before sitting down.

The price of a game is very affordable.  The entry ticket is 7€, a Dodo 2€ and a chicken and mustard baguette sandwich 3€.  All in 12€.  Prices for football today in England make me shudder with no change from 100€ for a seat, programme, and a soggy hot dog.

The football itself is amateur.  Honest competitive and direct.  Last week’s match between the Marsouins of St Leu and current league leaders Excelsior of St Joseph was no exception.  It soon became evident just why Marsouins are near the foot of the table and Excelsior are at the top.  After 20 minutes of competitive play Marsouins were undone by two goals scored in quick succession just before half time.  Much of the second half saw the Marsouins’ centre forward show his love of astronomy by repeatedly trying to place a football on the moon!  That said, i’ve known a few Tottenham Hotspur centre forwards with the same passion for outer space!

Saving face Marsouins did score a consolation goal just before the end with the aforementioned centre forward remembering Newton’s Law of Gravity and actually suceeding in keeping the ball down whilst scoring.

So, another pleasant evening with no one minding too much about the result, everyone making their way back to their cars and on home, and not one police officer in sight.

Vocabulary

To follow – suivre
To suffer – subir
The Spurs – Les Eperons (diminuitive d’Hotspur – L’Eperon chaud)
To push and shove – se bousculer, raler, pousser
Bustling – animé

Affordable – abordable
All in – tout compris
Soggy – mou, trempé
Undone – dé fait
Making their way back – reprendre le chemin de retour

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Reunion Island’s Tree of the Year

Hello everybody, 

It’s already November and the end of year festivities are now uppermost in most people’s minds. It’s a time for celebration and also for reflection. My own memories of Christmas and the New year are interwoven with reading articles, and watching TV specials on the highlights of the year which has come to a close and often having a chance to vote for event, car, song, sports personality etc…. of the year. 

So it was a nice surprise to read whilst surfing the net last week that Great Britain has been looking for contenders leading to the vote to decide one of nature’s most marvellous of creations: its Tree of the year. 

The Woodland Trust is, at present, selecting favourites from over two hundred trees in order to select an overall winner. These favourites include The Major Oak which still stands in Sherwood Forest and was a meeting place for Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Another favourite is the Norfolk Apple Tree under which Isaac Newton sat, caught a falling apple and expounded his theory of gravity. 

I’m sure that everybody who listens and reads this blog will agree that trees throughout the world are a vital part of the planet’s, and indeed our own existence. Trees come in all shapes and sizes inviting mostly reassuring adjectives such as magnificent, imposing, majestic, solid etc. It seems tragic that notwithstanding this, man seems to be intent on cutting the majority of them down thus contributing to a shortage of trees, forests and woods with all the dangers this situation can bring.  The Woodland Trust’s idea is to encourage people to visit and admire trees especially in the nation’s forests and woods. 

So, if Great Britain can elect a tree of the year, why not Reunion Island?  I would like to invite all the visitors to this site to put forward their choice of tree as a prelude to selection at the end of the year. My conditions are; 

1. That it should be obviously growing on Reunion Island. 

2. That it should be growing on public land and not in a private garden. 

There are two or three trees that personally come to mind but I’m not going to say anything. I want this to be your decision. Please add the reasons as to why you have chosen your particular tree. Goodbye for now.

Vocabulary

Uppermost – le plus élevé
Memories – souvenirs
Interwoven – entrelacées
Come to a close – touche à sa fin
Whilst – pendant que 

Highlights – meilleurs moments
Tree of the year – arbre de l’année
Contenders – participants
The Woodland Trust – L’ONF (Office Nationale des Forets)
Over – plus que 

Overall winner – grand gagnant
Oak – chêne
Robin Hood – Robin des Bois
Caught – attrapé
To expound – exposer 

Throughout – partout dans
Notwithstanding- malgré/en dépit de
Thus – par conséquent
Especially – surtout
Put forward – soumettre

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A Name for the Reunionnaise Cat

Hello. My name’s Barry and I’m English. I was born in London, but I moved with my family to Leicester, a city in the East Midlands, and it was there that I went to school.

Growing up both in London and Leicester, our family owned a succession of dogs. They were my mother’s pride and joy and she looked after them, showering them with her considerable love and affection. The dogs in question were almost all mongrels, which she either bought cheaply as puppies from the local dog’s home, or even finding them abandoned in the local park. She had an uncanny knack of coming across these dogs or, as I believe, the dogs had an uncanny knack of abandoning themselves as she approached, somehow knowing that, if picked up by my mum their fate would be a life of warmth, regular meals, exercise, and general wellbeing.

I mention this because, having married a Réunionnaise girl, I emigrated to Réunion 17 years ago. Having built my house it seemed only fitting that we acquire a dog to guard it.  Lily is a small crossbreed terrier, in other words a mongrel, or, as she is known here on Réunion, a Royal Bourbon.

A Royal Bourbon: what a glorious name to give to the everyday  mongrel dog.  Mans most faithful friend. The Royal Bourbon, a metissage of canine heritage, tough, resilient, present, mirroring their human masters of this island.

Until recently I also had a cat. He too was of mixed heritage. He was a beautiful animal, sleek with huge eyes. And I’ve been thinking, if the mongrel dog is known as a Royal Bourbon, what name should we give the crossbreed cat? Indeed, does a name exist already? Or should we, designate a name ourselves. My own idea would be a Regal Mascareigne, but I would welcome any of your ideas.

Vocabulary

To own  – posséder
Pride and joy – La fierté
Mongrel – Chien batard
Puppy – Chiot
Uncanny knack – sixième sens

Wellbeing – Bien etre
To acquire – acheter
Sleek –  lisse, élaçee
Having lived – Ayant habité
Having built –  Ayant construit

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