Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Just another start to the day.

Getting lighter in the mornings now. Some wispy horse tail cloud high in the sky. A sign that a cold front is on its way.

As we head out of the gate for our early walk The Rickety Old Farmhouse lit by the first rays of the morning sun. The village owls cluster on the branches of the plane trees by the gate and hoot at us in annoyance. How dare anyone disturb them ! They flutter their wings. Sophie glares back at them. Three deer wandering slowly along the lane look at us and then hurry off into the walnut grove .

We return just after eight to find a funeral going on. The mayors younger brother. They bury them quickly here. The family still in that state of mild disbelief. Their senses tell them that a loved one has gone but their emotions haven't yet registered the fact. ' All argument is against it, but all belief is for it ' as Dr. Johnson said.That rather kind and sophisticated French way of mourners saying farewell by scattering rose petals on the coffin. The ancient priest from the retirement home trotted out for the ceremony. He must be in his nineties. He has brought his guitar.

Even though it's early the kitchen in the village hall is a scene of activity as Madame Bay and her friend Renee ( pronounced Ray-knay ) open bottles of wine and slice up freshly baked quiche for a post service wake. They sang Ave Maria at the beginning of the service and then scurried over to turn the ovens on. The area around the church solid with farmers cars and vans. Some things change but French villagers, young and old, still take the time to say farewell to one of their own. That's still true in the Scottish islands but I wonder where else that courtesy holds strong.

For their second walk of the day Sophie and her master wander up the hill to the horse field. From here we can see the whole village. Church, town hall, the chateau, the water tower and the dozen or so houses that make up our small patch of paradise. Sophie has her ears scrunched and is told -as she is told every morning - that this is her home.

Just another quiet start to the day in a small French village where nothing ever happens.


WFT Nobby said...

I remember now that the funeral director offered the option of scattering petals on the grave when my father was buried. The idea being rejected by my mother as 'not his sort of thing'. But there was a good crowd wh lingered at the pub afterwards and many beers were drunk. Sounds like the mayor's brother had a 'good end off' too. Cheers, Gail.

Teena and Lala said...

What a lovely light enveloping the ROF this morning. And a loving send off for the Mayors brother. You couldn't wish for more, really.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
As father lives just down the hill from Mortonhall Crematorium, I can vouch that funerals generally have good turnouts, even in the city. What degree of separation the attendees are from the deceased, I cannot vouch for.

That view across the hillside with the church atop is glorious. YAM xx

Bailey Bob Southern Dog said...

You have captured your Village beautifully today, with your words and awesome pictures.

Taste of France said...

Not sure about your village but here the speed of the funerals is because the deceased is laid out at home (not kept in a refrigerated vault and taken out for visiting hours). We were having the village carpenter replace our single-pane windows with double-pane when he disappeared for a few days. A spate of deaths and he had to hurry up and make coffins. I have a lot of respect for these people who keep their departed loved ones in their homes and who bury them in simple wooden caskets. The trip from the tiny church to the cemetery is about three blocks, and the casket is carried, not driven. It's a through-road for oversize convoys, but traffic stops while the throng passes. Deaths are announced over the loudspeakers (modern town criers), framed by a snippet of a réquiem. Everybody freezes at the first notes (other announcements, about, say, fresh fish for sale at the grocer or the school loto, are framed by '80s pop hits) to listen for the unlucky name.

Angus said...

Here the coffin is rolled from the hearse into the church and along the nave to the altar on a funerary cart. A much bruised and battered thing with two wheels and a wooden canopy that was once covered in fabric. It's done this village duty ( with an occasional freshening of the paint and tightening of the wheel screws ) since 1728

Taste of France said...