Sunday, March 2, 2014

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.






Bob and 'the font' head off for a power walk round the lake. Sophie doesn't do power walks so we divert to the cafe under the arcades.It's early. The Sunday morning market just stirring into life.The man that sells mattresses and the man that restores furniture unloading their respective wares onto the pavement. The bakers wife comes to the door of the shop and beckons us in . ''M'Ongoose this is something my grandmother used to bake.Try a piece". She points to what seems to be a slightly burnt, over sized, bun. 'Pastis landais aux myrtiles'. I try it. Sweet sponge with blueberry. Sophie is also given some. Her enthusiasm is boundless. The same applies to a sliver made without blueberries. Two ladies enter the shop and say in unscripted unison " My grandmother used to bake those ".

We meet the Old Parisian Jewish lady. Grey woollen cardigan, Hermes scarf that's faded in the southern sun, black, slightly too stylish for rural parts, dress. '' Bonjour M'Ongoose ! Do you have time to take a coffee with me ? " (prendre - that strangest of French verbs). We do. Madame C lives half her year in the same house she lived in as a child. She survived. Her parents, brother and sister deported to Auschwitz in the waning days of Europe's lunacy. We chat or rather we talk. Events in Ukraine, her daughters photography exhibition in London, her sons new restaurant in Amsterdam, Chancellor Merkel speaking in English before parliament. Madame C in her eighties but still every bit the senior civil servant she was. Conversation over she counts out 15 cents in small change as a tip for the waitress. She does this very slowly and precisely with a small half smile on her face. The determined,civilizing, courtesies for those whose life has been both sad and strong.

Just another Sunday morning in deepest, deepest France profonde.



14 comments:

  1. The old Parisian lady sounds wonderful. My mother, also well into her eighties, was fascinated too by the sight of Angela Merkel speaking English last week, and concerned (as are may of us), by events in Ukraine. I hope I am taking so lively an interest in current affairs so well into old age.
    Bertie is thinking "power walking or pastis Landais, hmm, tough choice".

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    1. Bertie - You know what your priorities are !

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  2. Dear Sophie. How polite she is.
    I love people like the Old Parisian Lady. They enrich our lives.

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    1. Polite ? She's 100% polite when there's food involved. When there's not....

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  3. So many interesting people around, when you have the time to talk....

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy (who would love baked goods.)

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  4. Actually, my Grandmother used to bake something like that. But the sponge wasn't sweet and the blueberries were wonderfully fresh.
    She kept the recipe in her head and, like my mother, she was stricken with Alzheimer's. Recipe lost forever. Thanks for bringing back fond memories.

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    1. This sponge was very sweet ! Somewhere along the line we lost the family recipe for chocolate cake. Try as we might we've never got the icing right. Now it's gone.

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  5. And what a wonderful morning it was...

    Blessings,
    Janelle, Maggie Mae and Max

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  6. Determined civilizing courtesies delivered with a half smile. Oh my goodness, I can see her and feel her strength!

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  7. We should all be so lucky to "take our coffee" with someone like Madame C.!

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  8. Deepest France profonde would not be the same without these lively characters that reside there, and whom you seem to bring to life on my screen just by your vivid descriptions. Enjoy them while you can.

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  9. What a lovely recounting of your eeting with Madame C, Angus. Not many left, for sure.

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