Saturday, November 17, 2018
A gentle detail.
Three in the afternoon. It's a cloudless sunny day so the church windows are ablaze with colour, light scattering up and down the walls. The Very Old Farmers funeral is a well attended affair. It is conducted in Oc, the old language of the region, by a retired priest from Toulouse. This makes much of what goes on a mystery.
After an opening homily the priest invites the family to light candles. These are placed on the coffin. The son and his wife first, then the grandchildren, then the old mans brothers. The wreaths on the coffin lid start to smoulder after the last of the brothers drops his candle on top of them. The priest demonstrates a remarkable turn of speed and deals with the burning laurel leaves before any harm is done. The elder of the village tykes plays Ave Maria on his trombone. Someone must have thought this would be a good idea. The left hand side of the church is filled with middle aged farmers, the right hand side by villagers and family. We sit at the back on the right hand side under the fresco of Joan of Arc with the motto '' Who will rid us of the hated English ? ". To accompany the singing the old priest has brought along a cassette tape recorder with a selection of music. The tape has been well used and in places has stretched. This provides an exotic pitch and pace to some of the hymns which in no way cramps the younger farmers enthusiasm for singing.
Towards the end of the funeral two Red Admiral butterflies float through the open double doors and waft gently down the nave towards the coffin. Those of us at the back of the church watch them go. They settle down on the steps in front of the altar slowly fanning their wings. A gentle detail.
Bob is now fully recovered from his run in with the toadstool. We are very thankful that the Miele repair man came along to get the ' Human ' washing machine going when he did. As a consequence of Bobs indisposition the dog machine has been having heavy duty usage.
The family fellow is delighted to be heading off again on the morning croissant run. He's less delighted when he discovers his sister will be joining him in the back of the car.
We shall be at home today. There is a nationwide demonstration against the increased tax on diesel fuel. Roads and motorways are likely to be blocked. The Old Farmer tells me that emotions are running high and the blockades may run until Monday afternoon. Travel by road is expected to be extremely difficult.
Sophie is having one of her '' lived in " hair days.
So passes another day in a little French village where nothing ever happens .
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