Fiona Alderman blogging from rural France: A new year in France
I wish everyone a very happy New Year and as they say in France “Meilleurs Voeux” with an additional et” Surtout la santé” Health is very important as we all realise and when you don’t have it it is certainly a problem. We personally have encountered a lot of health issues in the last few years, but in terms of the French health service we can’t really complain. Living, however, in rural France, it is not always evident and we needed a doctor during this last Christmas period. Our local doctor was on his “numerous “ holidays and the only alternative is to call the 15 ie the emergency services or else the replacement doctor in the next village. However he is already completely booked up and taking no more patients . We managed somehow but it is still a worry. Our local health centre comprises of only one doctor, two dentists, an occupational therapist, two different district nurses offices and the possibility of a new doctor coming soon. It would ease the pressure on the existing one plus the incoming one is offered good accommodation and an office, it would be most welcome to us all here.
However the start of this year has been also a strange one , several deaths of local people I have known over the last 18 years and the equally odd liquidation of a very popular local business . I won’t say too much. It is the talk of the town though.
After my last month’s tribute to Johnny Hallyday, I am pleased to be able to say that Charles Aznavour is still very much with us. Another incredible singer, songwriter and actor, he is at 93, about to embark on another tour.
Born in Paris to Armenian immigrants his roots are still very much a force of who he is and he holds the title of Ambassador for Armenia since 2009 .
He started singing from an early age when his unique voice was noticed by one Edith Piaf who encouraged him and who developed his particular style, singing about love in all its complexities. A crooner, dubbed the French Sinatra , Aznavour would tour with Piaf to the US where he was greatly acclaimed.
He has recorded over 100 songs, written several musicals, collaborated with great singers such as Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, Mr Sinatra himself and even Bob Dylan, who rated him very highly. The song “She” in English was number one in the UK in 1974 . I believe I still have it ! He is also fluent in many languages including English, Italian, Russian, Armenian and Chinese.
Married three time ,with 6 children, he has several houses and is a complete workaholic, saying that his love of music and learning all these languages has kept him going for so long. He has to have a teleprompter now thoughas he is beginning to forget some of the words of his famous songs but it doesn’t stop him at all. He often gives interviews about his career and offers huge encouragement to the younger generation of singers.
Walking in the woods
After the excesses of Christmas, a good walk was needed and so I headed for the woods lying high up just outside our village. I hadn’t been for a while so was really surprised to see the changes. It has been converted into a physical obstacle course! There are about 20 wooden structures and all for different purposes and levels of ability.
It was built by students and our local council workers and is meant to be used by everybody no matter what age or level but for the moment there seems to be no one there. Like a lot of things here, it takes time for people to be aware of its existence? A strange one however.
That’s all for now from Fifi’s stories from rural France. January 2018. Film and contemporary dance courses.
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