The ladies of the Beautiful Byeways Committee and the Floral Village Association have set aside their differences and formed a choir. They've had two, brief, rehearsals. The sound of Ave Maria, sung lustily, fills the church. The little lady in the purple hat conducts while the accordionist tries to keep up. Madame Bay waves at us. She's wearing an overstuffed black velvet beret which sports, for some unknown reason, a large red and vividly swaying cockade.
The young priest is a good judge of people. He moves through the mass at a jaunty speed, the sermon kept brief. The old combatants barely have a chance to get fidgety before it's time to proceed outside for the unveiling of the Algerian War Memorial. The flags, the porch curtain and the low doorway once again cause a momentary traffic jam.
France has many layers of government. All of them are represented on the village green. The Prefect , dressed in her official uniform, sweeps into the car park in a chauffeur driven Peugeot. The mayor , resplendent in a new suit and tricolour sash, makes a speech of welcome. The speech is briefly delayed while the mayors wife rushes off to the car to find his reading glasses. After that the Prefect inspects the guard of honour, lays a wreath and shakes hands with the general from Paris. The accordionist appears, the Marseillaise is sung and then the ceremony draws to a close. The old combatants mop their eyes.
Ten at night. Time for Bob and Sophie's last tour of the garden before bed. All is quiet apart from the sound of the frogs in the village pond and a solitary accordion carrying across from the Salle des Fetes. The old combatants and the depressive physiotherapist are still partying. It's been a perfect day in deepest, deepest France profonde.