Working Lives Toulouse: Lock keeper
- 23 March 2012
- From the section World Radio and TV
A civil servant with a strong sense of duty, Sylvian Godfroy literally lives for his work.
Mr Godfroy is a lock keeper on the Canal du Midi which runs through Toulouse. Originally he wanted to be a vet but fell in love with a lock keeper's daughter and now lives on the canal, housed by the state, at one of the city's locks.
The canal has shaped his life in many ways. He has been working on it for over 30 years, a fact which has earned him the nickname 'Papy' or grandad from his workmates.
The nature of his work and its location means he is almost never 'off'. He does not resent this, although he says he would like to have a bit more money in his monthly pay packet. At the moment he makes around $24,000 (£15,000) a year.
What he likes most is that he is outdoors so much. Even at home he is working on the garden or doing DIY. It's his way to relax - that and playing with the kids and looking after the small menagerie of rabbits, guinea pigs, geese and chickens that live with them, not forgetting Kenza the dog.
The canal is not just home and work though - it also provides entertainment. As he says: "People see the boats float past and start talking to the people on them. Those on board find it interesting to go through the towns. A canal brings life with it."