What will be next after the shock of the referendum? A month of talks, deals and political suicides we wonder what is coming here for us in rural France. I have had rousing conversations with French friends who are very well informed on the subject and who wondered if we might return to Scotland. I don’t think this is on the cards. We might go down the dual nationality track though but will wait a bit to see how it affects us.
The French it seems have had quite an admiration for the UK to make such a bold move and wish they might for themselves – apart from President Hollande at the top, but the ordinary person on the street doesn’t rate him very highly. We notice that Scotland voted to remain and it's going to be very interesting to see how this develops?
France’s national holiday is the 14 Juillet or Fête Nationale , as they don’t recognize the name Bastille Day that we call it in the UK. It is also the time to reunite family and friends and “faire la fête”. With Paris having an annual défilé ie procession down Les Champs Elyséés, a military and aerial show and impressive fireworks, our little village put on a show of its own but on the 13th. Under the huge tent, that is beginning to show some disrepair, there was an orchestra playing French classic songs and people dancing young and old. Our Café de La Place was open for the occasion too so I slipped in to have a rosé or two and to watch the show. Just before midnight we all trooped down the hill for the fireworks which are always fun to watch.
Unfortunately, as I write this there has been a terrorist attack in Nice on the 14th July, just as people were out enjoying themselves. What a world.
The French mime artist, Marcel Marceau , was famously known for his personnage of Bip the Clown, a character with his trademark striped sweater, white trousers and a funny black hat with a wavy red flower attached. He worked as a liaison officer to General Patton’s army during the war, and was able to speak three languages. Influenced from a very young age by Charlie Chaplin and his” Little Tramp” figure , he started to
entertain the troops with his version of a character who would create a world of fantasy around everything from butterflies, lions, trains and childhood. It was said that he could accomplish more in two minutes of mime and gesture than several volumes of literature, so perceptive and precise were his movements.
He started L’Ecole de Mime in Paris, the first of its kind, where students learnt fencing, ballet, acrobatics as well as mime. He also had his own company which travelled internationally. Michael Jackson was a huge fan, who incorporated Marceau’s work into his own choreography. In the USA he had the Marceau Foundation established to promote the art of mime.
He also wrote children’s books and at the later stage of his life was an artist. He died in 2007, apparently ruined financially, but his work lives on. There was an exhibition of his paintings in Cahors, which is close to us, last year for the first time. He died at the racetrack at Cahors at the age of 84.
As I mentioned last month, there are new road signs springing up everywhere. The latest are at the foot of our road to signal speed bumps or “sleeping policemen” Why are they called that anyway?
In French they are called Dos d’anes or donkeys backs. Pourquoi?
I heard a good expression the other day. Someone was talking about a situation that was like “un canard avec trois pattes “ a duck with three feet or meaning that it was unbelievable.
I leave you with this as it seems the world’s situation is a bit like this at the moment.
Fifi’s story from rural France. July 2016.
Dance and film courses in the Dordogne.