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.


17 comments:

  1. But where are Bob and Sophie? Did they have a good day?
    Toodle pip!
    Bertie.
    PS Gail says: we have a coffee shop in Aberdeen with a display of far more imaginative teapots!

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    1. Bob and Sophie always have a good day.

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  2. I seem to recall - forgive me if I'm wrong - that you had some fairly pointed comments about the quality of last year's Fayre? Or were your comments relating to the storage of more junk in your basement? I do hope there were slivers of something delicious for our favourite PONs

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    1. The locals love the pottery fayre - outsiders less so.

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  3. All those podiums in a room that holds only graffiti. It looks like they had a lot to say.

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  4. The Pottery fayre is a great social occasion I guess and what will they do this year in lieu thereof. There will be a plan afoot I am sure. By the way the fonts idea of the replacement for the Hedge sounds like a lovely idea. Photo shows a rather appropriate fence if it could be duplicated

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  5. For a moment there, reading your header, Angus, I thought we might be in for a risqué joke !
    You must both be relieved that the Pottery Fair has been cancelled - one less shelf to be filled in your basement, and no endless time-wasting meetings !
    Whatever happens, for Bob and Sophie it will be a best day ever !

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  6. Wow, what an exciting post..my brain is whirling 😊

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  7. You covered a lot of topics in this post! Love the idea of restoring the wooden fence around the war memorial.

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  8. The title really grabbed me. Life is never dull in your neck of the woods!

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    1. It can be dull if you spend an afternoon looking at a Chinese government exhibition of wooden spoons !

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  9. I was waiting for the punchline….sounds like the start of a joke

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  10. No disrespect to "the Font" of course, but I have to agree with you about the teapots and spoons - Am I recalling correctly about your going to a table-setting museum and an exhibit devoted to secateurs several years ago? But I do love history, and wonder if the nuns converted any of the "Ladies" in their charge?

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  11. That is not your usual sort of headline, Sir.
    I vote for March as the month of postcard-writing. Wonder what the "cartes" were?
    The wooden spoons may not be very exciting, but they're quite beautifully carved. And those kinds of teapots do make good tea, although I doubt that what's on display is real Ming.

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  12. Injured feelings and disappointed villagers make a sad ending to the pottery fayre.
    The idea of restoring railings about the memorial is interesting.
    I seem to remember there was once talk of putting up a safety barrier around the “swaying Jesus.”
    There wouldn’t have been many idle moments for two gendarmes and five nuns with that many ladies to oversee, plus the evening meetings-up with bicycling soldiers.

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  13. Thought that was the beginning of a joke. What an incredible little piece of history....

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    1. I expected the next line to be "walked into a bar".

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