Fiona Alderman blogging from Rural France: The End of An Era

fiona cat

I don’t know where to start this month, so will begin with the end. I have just lost my lovely cat, Toerag, who I had to put down last week. The French call our pets “animaux de compagnie”. So true. They are our companions, giving us unconditional love. It is the end of an era too, because he was the last one of the family with his mum Mo dying last year.She was 19 years old and we have had a huge family of cats for 20 years here, so it is a very strange house without their comforting presence.

I need to have time to grieve but have already been offered a tiny black kitten which is great. Word gets round here quickly.
Local elections for the mayor have been the talk of the village too with typical Gallic heated discussions and protestations.Because the first polls were right in the middle of the lockdown, and people were not flocking to the booths to vote. Subsequently, the two candidates were very close in the final reckoning and still that has been questioned.I don’t know too much about politics but have sensed a general disgruntled feeling amongst the populace. The second round has been put off until the 28th June where there are 5000 small communities all over France who will vote for a new mayor for the following 6 years .
The two men  here in Salignac who are presenting their proposals for the elections are both locals and they equally merit a chance to continue the long term that Mr Dubois has so successfully led for over 20 years. Another end of the line too.

The wonderful Decouflé

Studio Harcourtderivative work: Materialscientist / CC BY (

I discovered Philippe Decouflé, a French dancer and choreographer, when he came with his company to present his amazing theatrical performance in Scotland at Mayfest in the 1990’s.

Decouflé combined incredible dance technique with his interest in film and video techniques that were unusual at the time. A former member of the Merce Cunningham company, he already as a dancer. He was born in Paris where he grew up wanting to be a clown and he trained in both circus and mime skills. All this knowledge he brought to bear with his company DCA that he founded in 1983.

Inspired by another great choreographer, Alwin Nikolais in the US, who created strange forms with his costumes and set designs, Decouflé brought his own version of burlesque and humour to his choreography. With his work “Codex” he also investigated the possibilities of video and costumes that would distort the body image.In 1992 he staged both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Albertville which featured stunning aerial ballets.

In his short and endearing film Le P’tit Bal (1993) YouTube  he danced with Pascale Hubin, using gestures and sign language to enhance the movement, it showed a young Decouflé superbly in charge of his way of moving. The music is also memorable. The singer Bourvil was an acclaimed actor in France in the 50s.
By 2009, and becoming internationally known, Philippe Decouflé became choreographer to the Crazy Horse in Paris – a cabaret known for its striptease shows. He reinvented and revisited the semi erotic work with the clever use of video and lighting.
He has since worked for Cirque du Soleil, National Theatre of Brittany and a concert for David Bowie in tribute to his life. He continues to surprise and delight us.

French Expressions and Funny Words

Popo le Chien / CC BY-SA (

During the long months of lockdown,  I continued to improve my understanding of the French language. Always something to learn and always fascinating.
The nurses and home care people have been wearing their obligatory masks but also plastic coverings for their heads. They are called Charlottes. Why I ask them? A nice name but they don’t know why. A cake is called a Charlotte too, as it has a similar shape, round and pleated round the edges.
BCBG or bon chic bon genre is another funny one meaning someone is rather posh or “sloan rangerish” and beni oui oui is someone who is a bit of a yes man
Etre bien dans ses baskets is someone who is very together and Tout Le bataclan is just a lot of talk of blah! blah! bla!
June 2020 Fifi’s Stories from rural France.
Salignac Foundation for short courses in dance and
Fiona Alderman: Blogging from Rural France, July 2020
Fiona Alderman Blogging from Rural France, May 2020

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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