Fiona Alderman blogging from Rural France: Red Gates and Rendezvous
This month has been a busy one.We have had numerous appointments for doctors unfortunately.
The French word is rendezvous which has a different meaning in English and rather makes me smile.A secret liaison comes to mind? However there is nothing secret in the amount of time we have spent recently in waiting rooms.Too much.
We had a leaking boiler too which had been repaired just 6 months ago.Luckily we have a suberb neighbour, a retired plumber, who was able to help.He is a forceful character and in true French style ie talking very fast French he said “ooh la la Ilya un probleme ,toujours cette merde ” meaning there is a problem again with this shit !!!However it is calcium buildup which is a real problem here.Everything gets blocked up. However he went off to get the necessary to repair it and the job was done by the evening.Quick in French terms.
My reason for all this is we have come to realise how great our neighbours are. Over the years we have developed a good relationship which is reciprocal.I walk a neighbour’s dog for him, I feed a cat and rabbit when the owners are away.All this is important to finally integrate into village life.
We have a shared courtyard at the back of our house and other neighbours have a small studio over our cellar.They don’t live there all the time but use it just for holidays.There is a small patch of flowers and the ground which they own finished with an imposing set of gates.He put them up last year and were a natural wood.However he decided this time to paint them.A rather startling shade of red.It made quite a source of discussion with all of us.The French have a knack for stretching out something simple into a major piece of work.Over the week that they were here,there was much loud talking and comings and goings with the gates.Quite lively and good humoured.
A very special meeting
Nearly 40 years ago, a very different place and scenario.I lived in London and was training as a dancer.I used to love going to the theatre to see a wide variety of music and dance events.My favourite was Merce Cunningham an American contemporary dancer and well renowned choreographer. One of the dancers in the company was Robert Swinston who moved with grace and speed over the stage.He really caught my eye.I kept the programme of the performance and still have it here in France.
I was amazed to see that he was now a director of a Choreographic Centre in Angers and that their resident company was coming to Brive, which isn’t far from where we live. I told my French friends at the Convent who said they would like to join me in going to see what would be a memorable evening.
The company presented an Event, a new work made from 8 original pieces by Cunningham, into a unique dance which is adapted to each different space it is performed.
Some dated back to the 60’s and 70’s but with a new twist for today’s audience.During the years since Cunningham’s company closed and his last wishes before he died in 2009, he worked closely with Robert Swinston who was by then his assistant.
He has brought back rare works. and The Centre Choreographic has been an important home for his repertory.
I watched it all thinking back to all those happy days with a little tear!At the end Robert came and took a bow with the dancers. I had brought my programme from all those years.Why not try and see him?My friends pushed me to do so and I did meet him.He was astonished I think that this woman clutching an old theatre programme would like to talk to him.
The little house on stilts
I spoke of seeing this little house before but didn’t know what it was?
I saw it again but still can’t work it out.It is based beside the church and is on stilts.There is no ladder so I don’t know how you get in the door?What could it be used for I wonder?.
Shall try and find out for next time.</p>
Fifi’s stories from rural France. June 2018
Film and dance courses in SW.France. www.salignacfoundation.com
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