Sophie is looking particularly disheveled this morning. It's been one of those nights. Can it only be yesterday she spent half an hour on the grooming table with 'The Font' ?
Today, All Saints, is a national holiday here in France. The supermarket is open until lunchtime and will then close. A big morning for the sale of Chrysanthemums. We head off to stock up on milk. The PONs monitor my movements from the back of the car.
For All Saints The Old Farmer is going back ( again ) to his wife's grave. He's had a variety of marble plaques made up. These are adorned with photos of happier times. Brightening up graves is a very French thing. He asks me to take a photo of him standing with these new acquisitions. They're frost proof he tells me. '' The marble is treated with resin ". Our neighbour has dressed up for the journey. Long trousers, check shirts, lace up shoes and a black felt hat. "Not too formal ?" he asks. I assure him he's not.
One of the plaques commemorates the dog who was killed in the car alongside his wife and daughter. 'Cyrus our guardian angel' it says. Never let it be said that dogs aren't family members.
He's also had a plaque made up with a photo of his father on the day he was called off to the war in 1939. His father, captured in 1940, disappeared on a forced march from his PoW camp as the Russians advanced towards Germany at the end of 1943. It was only by pure serendipity that our old neighbour found the grave three years ago. '' We'll soon all be together " he says matter of factly.
I help him load the valuable items into the back of the venerable Mercedes. He'll set off later this morning and be back tomorrow.
This is playing on Radio Nostalgie this morning : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFEB9xLeLmY
And here are some bagpipers : https://youtu.be/vUCFvefMbTI?t=279