Fiona Alderman blogging from rural France. UK is out of Europe.


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What a disaster but it is now done after a tortuous 3 years. We are waiting to see the effects for us and what will happen next. It is still uncertain but there will be a transition year to put things in place. However, because we have lived here so long now, it might be okay.We will probably need to get a titre de sejour to prove our residency or to take on French or even duo nationality. More bureaucracy.

No one really knows yet within a small rural village but I have many friends, French, Scottish and English, that we speak to and we discuss the possibilities. Some people have already gone back to the UK, selling their homes and businesses, but not everyone can or wants to return.
I have heard some horrendous stories of ex pats, well integrated into French life, even on the local Council, speaking the language well and being deprived of the right to vote both locally and in the UK? We feel like we have been dismissed and penalised for being British. One English man, living in Eymet, the “Dordogneshire” as it is called, has been refused French nationality, even though he has been here for years and considers himself more French than English now and will not go back to the UK.  All because they say he has not worked sufficiently in France and his situation is too precarious?
There is a feeling that France hasn’t taken into consideration the wealth of British owners here, who work, pay their taxes and have fully integrated into the life here. Permanent residents like us, living in France for 20 years, would probably find it hard to return to the UK. Difficult maybe financially, health care is better here and starting all over again at a certain age is a further factor.
The local mairie has no information as yet for us. I am often asked by people what we will do?  Carry on as usual I expect, but with an ear to the ground. Another issue is the French living outside France, like London which has a huge French population. It is something that will take time to sort out no doubt.

The Last Duel

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At a very short distance to us, the Hollywood machine has landed. A new film is being shot  called “The Last Duel“. The Director is the famous English Director Ridley Scott, who has many numerous blockbusters to his name, such as:  ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Hannibal’, ‘The Duellists’, ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner’.
It has been  co-written and adapted from a true story by the two American actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who also star in the movie. Sarlat is where the production company is based and already Matt Damon has been spotted in the local restaurants eating hamburgers and pizzas!
Locations are in some of the most magnificent castles and areas of the Perigord. The imposing castle and church perched high overlooking the Dordogne river on the rocky slopes of Beynac are being used as a very dramatic background – they have been used in other films over the years. Another one near us is the Chateau de Fenelon, which is being turned into a military camp for the duration of filming. It is quite impressive. Of course security is tight but some photos have been released in the local papers.
The story is based on a true one, in mediaeval times when a French knight goes to war and on returning finds one of his friends is accused of raping his wife.The accused claims his innocence.
The courts decide the two men must face a duel to find the truth. If the husband loses the duel, his wife will be burnt alive for making a false accusation. A similar story was already filmed here in 1976 by Ridley Scott in ‘The Duellists’ with Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine in the leading roles.It was a turning point in the director’s career and won him the Prize at the Film Festival in Cannes.
Eight hundred extras were needed for this film, which has attracted a huge amount of publicity with an immense boost given to the local economy; restaurants, hotels and bars that are normally quiet at this period of the year are enjoying the unusual surge of revenue. Dancers were needed as extras, but had to be between 16 and 18 years old and have long uncoloured hair. None of which applies to me!

Goodbye Rosina

ronina bonsu

It is with a heavy heart that I finish this month’s blog. Rosina Bonsu has very sadly died at just 64.
I have known her for over 30 years and first saw her in class at The Place in London. A young dancer but already with a powerful presence. Your eyes would be drawn to her, her love of movement and sense of musicality was apparent. When I moved back to Glasgow, she was already a leading light in the Scottish dance world.I subsequently taught for her at The Dance House, which she founded for the dance community in Glasgow. We were friends as well as colleagues and she made me laugh with all her exploits and her sense of humour. Full of energy and creativity, she never ceased  to amaze me with all that she was doing.  A wonderful teacher herself and very inspiring to all that came within her orbit.
Apparently still working a few days before she died we will all miss her very much. She had a Woodland Burial on the 17th February in Killearn, near Glasgow and all of us throughout the world thought of her. I had a walk in the woods here too and then lit a candle for her in the church. Very peaceful.
Then there was the French Connection – Rosina bought our house in Glasgow before we moved and she had a portable dance floor that she was going to give us here from her house she had in France?
So many threads and links. Gros bisous Rosina.xx
goodbye rosina
Dedicated to the memory of Rosina Bonsu. With Fiona Alderman filmed by Barry Paton.
Fifi’s stories from rural France. February 2020 dance and film in the Dordogne.
Fiona Alderman: France Has Shut Down
From Glasgow to Salignac: 20 years on. Fiona Alderman.

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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