Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Five nuns, two policemen and the prostitutes.
The mountains hidden by clouds but here on the ridge it's bright and warm with just the hint of a breeze. The PONs scamper down the hill towards the stream. On the way we pause long enough to welcome no fewer than seven calves who have arrived during the night. Their mothers watch us walk by but are too tired to get to their feet.
'The Font' is of the opinion that we should do something new every day. A peculiarly Lutheran concept . So it is that Angus finds himself at a Chinese government sponsored exhibition of wooden spoons and tea pots. This is interesting for all of 30 seconds but there is only so much one can absorb about wooden spoons... or teapots.
While 'The Font' self improves through careful study of the descriptions Angus wanders off.
He finds a large empty room covered in graffiti. The plaque on the wall informs him that this was a barracks for 250 prostitutes evacuated from Eastern France during the First World War. Two gendarmes and five nuns were assigned to look after them. Angus can't help but think that you'd be hard pressed to make up a story about five nuns, two gendarmes and two hundred and fifty prostitutes.
It seems the room has recently been restored and the graffiti preserved for future generations. '' My, they did keep themselves busy " says 'The Font' studying some of the more graphic inscriptions.
Monday night. The village council meeting. It seems this years pottery Fayre has been cancelled. From what 'The Font' can gather the Beautiful Bye Ways Committee Chairman told the village potter that his ceramics were 'wonky' and that his handles were poorly designed ( he didn't actually say that they were poorly designed but you can get the drift). This critique is apparently not what the village potter wanted to hear. Words were spoken. They are now refusing to talk to each other and work on the annual gathering has come to a halt.
The cancellation of the Pottery Fayre is a blessing in disguise. The council agenda calls for a discussion on a) advertising b) the menu for the potters lunch c) the purchase of ice cream for the potters lunch d) the issuing of a cash and carry card for the ice cream purchasers and e) the blessing of the 16th century pottery kiln by the local priest. All of this is now redundant.
Attention shifts to next years commemoration of the end of the Great War. 'The Font' has found an old postcard of the village war memorial and wonders if it might be a good idea to restore the wooden railings. These disappeared during the second war ( they were used as fire wood in one particularly cold winter ) and have subsequently been replaced with a rather straggly box hedge. The box hedge has now succumbed to a parasite and a replacement is needed. A lengthy discussion follows in which all present, bar 'The Font', become weepy as they remember 'absent friends'.
The back of the postcard written in a rather unsure hand. Was it written in March or May 1940 ? In France a lot happened between those two momths.