Thursday, December 26, 2013
Resist much, obey little.
Christmas Eve mass. The one time the French go to church. The cafe under the arcades full of happy farmers waiting for the service to end and their devout spouses to reappear. Benignly ignored six year olds and farm dogs running riot. We find a table outside. A bottle of Cote du Rhone quickly follows. Bob and Sophie settle down on our feet as if this is the most natural thing in the world for them to be doing. Finally, the slot machines fall silent as the sound of ' Minuit ! Chretien ' ( can there be anything more French ? ), echoes out of the church. The high point of the year for ten thousand choirs and organists. The farmers join in; some hum, some whistle, most, stand and sing. Our waitress, wearing the plastic apron with the battery operated flashing Christmas tree, stops serving and joins them. The barman does the same. That magical moment when there is no such thing as a stranger. The France tourists go in search of. In a hundred years time the grandchildren of these six year olds will be doing the same thing.
As for Christmas day itself, nothing will move Sophie from the kitchen. Bob, as top dog, is torn between staying by the stove and keeping an eye on his unruly flock. He settles on a Master of Ceremonies role which requires him being everywhere at once. Late in the day the noisy male pheasant makes a reappearance in the garden. The PON duo go wild.
Here's a little flavour of a French Christmas.