I truly hope you and yours are well.
Here we’ve had a bit of a damp week which has made my 47 (eek, what was I thinking?) cucumber plants happy. My pumpkin plant now has 38 baby pumpkins growing along its sprawling vines. And 4 new chickens have joined Reggie and Ronnie Kray’s pen and are settling in nicely. All eleven chickens in that pen have decided to sleep along the branch of a tree instead of in the posh new coop I bought them. The branch has been stripped bare of leaves and it sways up and down alarmingly when they’re all on board. I guarantee it will end in tears and a flurry of feathers.
We celebrated Bastille Day on Tuesday but it was a quiet one this year. Down at the local bar next day we chatted with Monsieur Dupont and Monsieur Lafont – whom I call Monsieur La-font-of-all-knowledge as he has an answer for everything. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the topic is, you will never hear him say, “I don’t know”. Best restaurant in Paris? How to get to Corsica by bike? Make Tarte Tatin? Understand the government’s strategy on taxes? Ok I made that last one up, I’ve never asked him, but I know he would have an answer, and it would take hours.
I told them that I was surprised that Bread Man delivered bread it being Bastille Day and all – a national holiday. They sighed. Monsieur Dupont pulled his ear lobes and sucked his false teeth in. Monsieur Lafont took a deep breath.
“That’s the trouble with young people today” he said.
Young people? Bread Man is at least 50!
“When I was young…”
Monsieur Dupont interrupted him with a snort “When you was young? You probably took part in the Revolution”, which prompted everyone in the bar to say “Vive la France.”
“When I was young” started Monsieur Lafont again, just as Arnaud the bar owner emerged from the cellar carrying a crate of wine.
“Ha, when you was young, dinosaurs roamed these valleys” he said and everyone laughed.
“When I was young” – Monsieur Lafont tried again and glared at us all. “You wouldn’t get people delivering bread, or shops open until midday like you do now on a holiday. If you didn’t get the shopping done before the day, you went without”.
All the oldies in the bar nodded in agreement, looking rather pleased at the thought.
He took another deep breath, about to get into his stride but was interrupted by his mobile phone ringing, playing out loud a tinny version of the Marseillaise. He picked it up “Oui cherie. Oui cherie. Oui. Maintenant? Immediatement. Oui cherie.”
He hauled himself out of his chair. “When I was young” he said with a touch of sadness “your wife couldn’t ring you on your mobile phone and tell you to pick up the shopping, stop off to make sure her mother was ok, collect a plant from her friend and do it now… ah the good old days!”
I do believe the 21st century is nipping at the heels of the Seven Valleys, where I live…
Wishing you and yours truly well from France,
Bisous from France
ps I’ll be back in your inbox in 2 weeks’ time as I’m taking a bit of a break and exploring France – come with me via Instagram, or Twitter or Facebook… And there are new articles, from recipes to things to do and practical guides, going on the website every day! pps! The most popular photo this week on Facebook was the lavender field in Provence (at the top)!
Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life
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