Fiona Alderman: Blogging from Rural France, July 2020

the new mayor tent

The New Mayor and a Tent for Sale

A busy month here in rural France with the local elections for Mayor. Monsieur Laurent, from this village won the battle, but it was a close shave. We have known him for a long time as he used to live down the road from us and when we had computer difficulties, which was often in the beginning, he would come and sort it out. Very charming and very helpful, he was later to be the President of our summer village Fete. I once was a volunteer and enjoyed the busy two months helping as a guide for English speaking tourists.

I believe he will be innovative and enthusiastic about keeping the village alive and thriving, not an easy task during this pandemic. We are still following the safety issues, social distancing and mask wearing in enclosed areas, and the arrival of foreign visitors these last few weeks has boosted the much needed  local economy.

However, the local market on the square has not fared so well. It used to be housed in the huge tent which a lot of people disliked and wasn’t really very attractive. It is now up for sale at a cool 20,000 euros. It has become tatty and needs replacing but with what? A new job for the Mayor. It took 4 days to put up and so the problem is how it is going to be taken away. Very French, of course.

The Fables of La Fontaine

450px-Aubusson_-_Fables_de_La_Fontaine_1

(Aubusson, Fables de la Fontaine, Wikipedia. – Daderot – Public Domain)

Jean de la Fontaine is one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th Century but his life was far from easy.

Born in 1621 to a wealthy family in the Champagne region of Northern France, he was brought up to enter the priesthood, but realizing it wasn’t his vacation, he turned to the law.
He married a 14 year old girl with a promising dowry, they had a son, but the marriage was apparently not happy, and La Fontaine went to Paris to live with other like-minded literary people. His wife and son remained for many years in a Chateau in Champagne.
He started to read the classics and did some translations and prose himself, whilst meeting other aspiring writers of the time such as Racine and Moliere.
By 1682 he had published his Fables which were very well received by readers and critics alike.T hey became a model for other versions in Europe and featured morals of life and observations on people’s behaviour. Children loved these little books and they are still well appreciated. From ‘The Grasshopper and the Ant’, ‘The Shepherd and the Lion’ and ‘Limbs and Stomach’, in total there are 240 of them. They are beautifully illustrated by Francois Chauveau, who was a specialist of that time.
His  quotes such as ” Sadness flies away on the wings of time”, ” A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it “,  ” Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer ” and ” A hungry stomach cannot hear ” – they are full of wisdom.
By the age of 60 he was deemed to be an influential man of letters and was finally elected into L’Academie Francaise the very epitome of French cultural life. His work is now depicted on medals,  coins, stamps, statues and paintings – a fitting tribute to someone who struggled to be accepted.

A Portrait in Salignac

portrait salisnac

My neighbour at the Chateau, whom I have become quite friendly with in these last few months of lockdown, walks her dog up the hill past our door every day. We have a chat and it is very pleasant. However, I was astonished when she asked if she could paint my portrait ?
She came and took photos first, as that is how she works, and then I went to the Chateau for several sittings.
The result is marvellous and what an honour. She gave me the painting plus one she had already done of a golden cat which reminded her of the one we just recently lost.
I am still missing him greatly but hope to go soon to the SPA Societe pour Animaux to find a little companion.
Brigitte du Chateau continues to paint and has also finally been reunited with her grandchildren after the long Confinement, families reuniting after many months of seclusion.
That’s it for this month. Keep well and safe.
Fifi’s Stories from rural France. July 2020.
www.salignacfoundation.com short course in dance and film.
Fiona Alderman blogging from Rural France: The End of An Era

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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