Friday, October 29, 2021

History and geography.

It's pitch dark at six am. Not that this bothers Sophie who is keen to get her day started. There is a strong wind blowing and the power goes off as I come down the stairs. Angus lights the candles on the library table. This requires finding a box of matches in a darkened kitchen. No easy job without light. Angus stubs his toe.  No sooner have all the candles been lit than the power comes back on. Sophie, being an inveterate diva, imagines all this to be part of some daybreak fun designed for her. She rushes over for an ear scrunch.

The road to the greengrocers the busiest I've ever seen it. After last years pandemic lockdown half of France seems to be on the move to clean up family grave sites ahead of All Saints Day. Chrysanthemums are flying out of the florists forecourts. The radio has a long story about Britain and France arguing over fishing rights. I'm often told by folks who should know better that nowhere else on earth are there two nations do dissimilar. That's nonsense. By history and geography the Brits and French are like cojoined twins. Linked together in a common body but each determined to highlight their differences from the other - no matter what.

In the greengrocers the 'exotics' counter is looking suitably exotic. Angus has never seen anyone buy anything off the 'exotics' counter and finds it hard to believe that there is healthy demand for such things in this ultra conservative corner of France profonde. 

The dead flowers in front of the Halloween display haven't been changed. They become ever more dried out. Angus can only assume that the dead flowers are part of the display that is supposed to remind pomegranate and pineapple shoppers of the temporal nature of life. 

A new product on the dairy counter. Meringues and double cream. A Swiss import. The price seems steep for a small pot of double cream and half a dozen tiny meringues but why let cost stand in the way of a Swiss sugar rush ?

A collection of chocolate Santas has been put next door to the Halloween display.  French retailing never takes a break. Halloween segues into Christmas without pausing for breath. Having bought the meringues and clotted cream there is no need to buy a chocolate Santa .... today.


Time to turn the volume up. The faces of the other orchestra members always says so much  :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKmtxNL4V2I

6 comments:

  1. Meringues and clotted cream and sublime music. Perfect!
    Although I shall have to hide the psychology paper from the friend who is always worried about how she comes across to others, as I often try to tell her that other people don't think about her as much as she imagines. It turns out I might be wrong!
    Cheers, Gail.

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  2. I always tell people in Japan that Halloween is very similar to Obon. That is actually not at all true with respect to the modern Halloween, but from your descriptions of All Saints Day, All Saints Day is indeed very like Obon, a holiday that falls in August. During the Obon period, the ancestors return to earth for a few days (people construct little horses from eggplants that they can ride on). People go back to their hometowns and the family tombs are tidied up and decorated with flowers, most often chrysanthemums. I also noted with interest your comments about the French and the English, although I think things may be even more pronounced with the English and the Americans. My mother always had a much more difficult time understanding/accommodating my English sister-in-law than my Japanese husband, who was granted much greater leeway for behavioral differences. The English have had the last word, of course, as my brother is now living happily on a farm in Dorset, probably drinking tea on a regular basis.

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  3. We found the Greeks and the Turks have a similar outlook as the French and English.

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  4. I like your conjoined-twins analogy. I think of France and Britain as close, but rival siblings—one always jealous of what the other has, or is perceived to have (a "liberal" constitution (1820s), fashion (always?) ....). I always look forward to the beginning of Advent and your December music selections. And, by then, perhaps a chocolate santa.

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  5. Just a delightful post . . . I always enjoy pictures of the ROF interior, especially when they include Sophie hastening across the room for an ear scrunch. Angus's report on the "temporal nature of life" display made me laugh.

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