Sunday, June 12, 2016
The Air France pilots are on strike. So are the workers in the oil refineries and ,as of Friday, the dustmen. Not that anyone would notice. France, as host nation for the European championships, has gone football crazy. The ladies of the flower arranging class have had to move their activities to the kitchen patio so that a widescreen television can been set up on the stage in the Salle des Fetes. Beer kegs are much in evidence. The opening match, France against Romania, is a French victory. A winning goal in the closing minutes. Madame Bay, a patriotic figure in white chiffon, red turban and blue pashmina, forgets the constraints of her surgical stockings and does a balletic hands above her head Swan Lake style jig. Her great grandchildren scream with delight.
Down in Marseilles the English fans have started rioting. Their Russian counterparts have followed suit. Why is it that rugby matches are strangely familial affairs whereas soccer matches hint at simmering violence ?
Here at The Rickety Old Farmhouse life follows a quiet routine. Bob has his place at the front door. Sophie glares at the empty yoghurt pot. Crimean Tomatoes can now be found in the greengrocers every day.
A hand written sign in the bakers window '' Gone to Noyon for a family wedding. Back next week ". There is a studied imprecision as to what ' back next week' means. The blinds in the window are drawn against the sun but the three tiered cake with its chocolate football and football boot decorations is left firmly on the sunny side.
A petanque tournament underway near the newsagents. Bob shows signs of wanting to introduce himself to the petanque players. He and his sister are hurried along.
So starts a Sunday morning in the French countryside. In the scheme of things events too unimportant for a diary but too important to go completely unrecorded.