Our gardening activities, being restricted at this stage to the front courtyard and therefore very visible, have created a lot of interest from the locals. Almost everyone stops to inspect, and if I am around, comment. Usually the comments begin with Ca pousse !, which took me a while to figure out, but Bengt gave me the clue I needed. The verb pousser means 'to push'. You see it all the time on entrance doors (poussez), but the word can be used quite broadly to mean to thrust, shove, urge on, drive, impel, prompt, utter, grow, shoot, push on or forward and pousse is growth or shoot.
The neighbours are impressed with the size of the plants we have arrived with and all the new growth they are putting on. They are particularly curious about the contorted hazel, asking what it is. So far, everything has been pronounced très beau, even by those who I am inconveniencing by removing their handy free parking space in a very narrow street.
Yesterday, before the rain started, I clipped our potted box bushes into spheres in the front courtyard. An elderly woman stopped and complimented me on how nicely the box bushes were shaping up. When she realised my French was limited she asked me if I spoke anglais. We then continued the conversation with her using her rusty but quite good English.
of old electrical flex I found lying about.