Fiona Alderman blogging from Rural France: bins, earthquakes and threats

Yes, this month has been lively with all of the above happening in a quiet rural village.
The new bins were unveiled and it is still a mystery why they were changed in the first place as they are hopeless. It is a daily nuisance sorting everything into the correct bags before hauling it all up the street. The three grey domes, as I called them last month, are for separate rubbish bags or glass. I went up yesterday to find them overflowing and as it was the weekend they wouldn’t be emptied. Bags were just dumped beside them so not very hygienic either. Apparently, although I have yet to see it, a crane comes with a huge pipe inserted into the drum of the containers to suck up the refuse and then pile it into a huge tank. All very mysterious and probably expensive too?
We were woken up one morning by the whole house shaking, the bed moved over the floor and the cats ran for cover. What on earth? We found out later it had been a mini earthquake and apparently they were quite common. It certainly gave us a fright.
Lastly, we have a local Fete that has been going for 40 years but has been running into difficulties for the past few years. I have been a volunteer in the summer when they run a series of daily events named Vieux Metiers. It is based on all the old fashioned ways of farming, machinery and tools they used in medieval days. However there has been unrest in the ranks which has been brewing for a long time. It came to a head when a reunion extraordinaire was called with a faction of the main committee wanting to separate from the rest and form something else. The President, as she is called, was to be removed and the Treasurer had also been sacked. A huge argument ensued and it has now gone to the tribunal. During the meeting the police came to calm things down because death threats had been made beforehand apparently. Since then things have gone quiet and we await the following instalment. Salignac is still reeling.

Memories of Merce

memories of merce

Memories of Merce Photo by Barry Paton 1989

Once upon a time I was a young dancer in London where I studied contemporary dance.
I had been recommended to go there by a wonderful teacher named Richard Alston that I had met in Scotland.
I trained and worked in London plus going to as many performances as I could. When I saw the Merce Cunningham company for the first time in the 80’s I knew it was for me!
Cunningham was a major force and inspiration to both the art and dance world from the 1940’s in New York where he formed his own school and company.
His use of “chance operations” using a dice and the I Ching to determine where and when movements would be performed and that dance could stand alone with or without music. It was radical and unnerving for its time. He created his own Cunningham technique that I learnt as a student.It was hard but also wonderful plus I met many great teachers who had been in his company at one time or another.
He died 10 years ago, still choreographing up to the end, and left a legacy behind that continues today with the Cunningham Trust which recreates and preserves his works all over the world in other dance companies.
On the 16th April 2019 he would have been a 100, and in tribute to him the Trust organised a one off Event called 100 Solos in 3 different cities,London,Los Angeles and New York.
I watched it live in London on Livestream and thought it was both a technical achievement where you could watch something on a computer screen like that and see history danced by young and older dancers. It was an hour and a half of pieces taken from most of his dances but revisited in a new way.
I have myself been teaching Cunningham technique for over 30 years and still find it fascinating so
I decided to do a few of his exercises on the 16th outside in La Halle, the open hall in Salignac to mark the day.
My memory of him is at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London where I saw him dance – older then but he had such magnetic stage presence it was a joy that I never have forgotten.

Flaming Paris


Notre Dame Fire LeLaisserPasserA38 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

The beautiful cathedral in Paris, Notre Dame, was the scene of a terrible fire this month. Incredible pictures live on TV of this National treasure so beloved by both French people and tourists from all over the world. Everyone around the borders of the Seine watched as the famous spire fell burning to the ground.

However after many hours of work the brave firefighters managed to save the rest of the structure.
Within minutes, apparently, as the fire took hold, donations from rich patrons were pledged . It will be restored, but at some cost.
The President, Mr Macron spoke heartfelt words saying ”  Our Lady of Paris is our history, our literature, our imaginatio , the place where we have experienced all our great moments. We will rebuild this cathedral. “
However certain factions of French society ie the Gilets Jaunes in Paris are not happy with the amount of money being spent on this monument. They set fire to cars and barricades were thrown demonstrating their discontent. Where is the logic and the needs of the ordinary families who work and can’t even meet their monthly bills? People are very angry.
Another subject perhaps next month?
April 2019 . Fifi’s story from rural France.
Fiona Alderman: Updates from France
Fiona Alderman: Blogging from Rural France - The cat that got the cream

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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