Saturday, June 20, 2020
'The Fonts' birthday. Angus and Sophie are up and out early to get to the bakers to pick up a cake. In fact we're out so early the shops haven't opened yet. There's ten minutes to wait. From the door of the church we can see one of the flower ladies getting things ready for tomorrows mass. The seats in the nave have been socially distanced but even so they're too close for comfort. The church was built in the 1260's and is an enormous barn of a thing. Far too large for an agricultural town that's shrunk to 1500 souls of whom 60, on a good day, may attend mass. The state of the interior is dire - what the revolution failed to destroy neglect has accomplished. Stone flaking, paint peeling, wood rotting. There must be thousands of these old churches dotted around the country mouldering away. What do you do with them ? Who will pay for their upkeep ? What happens when they go ?
The bakers wife isn't wearing a mask. She's had electric sliding doors installed so that only one customer at a time is allowed in. We have to ring a bell and wait while she appears from the kitchen. She's carrying a tray of freshly baked croissants and dealing with a toddler that's clinging to her skirt. ' You're here early ' said in a tone of voice that's more admonitory than factual.
Angus, who is wearing a mask, listens as the bakers wife spills out her woes. No rugby club/ private party / school graduation orders. These accounted for 40% of their business. Their turnover is less than half the levels at this time last year. The good news is they're not paying taxes and there's a rent holiday. They survive.
Angus waits while birthday greetings are piped on the cake. He orders some croissants ...
a peach tart ....
.... and a tub of freshly made white peach ice cream together with a tub of peche de vigne ice cream.
Now that's a library : https://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/samuel-taylor-coleridges-childhood-home-up-for-sale-complete-with-pool-party-room-and-library-for-22000-books-216137?f
Something about Alaska : https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2020/06/18/state-removes-infamous-into-the-wild-bus-after-years-of-hiker-rescues-and-deaths/