Fiona Alderman: Fetes Galore

What a month! From exhibitions –  to summer festivals – to computer problems. I have done it all and in the sweltering heat ! Extreme at nearly 40 degrees today.

Barry’s exhibition continues for the rest of August in both the Mairie and Le Couvent, and I have had a lot of interest for future projects too, which is lovely. I have however taken down a few of the exhibits and donated them to the local Cafe who were thrilled. Now I can see images whenever I want. They are charming  photos of people here in Salignac that Barry took over 23 years and it is a page of history.

The local summer festivals have been noticeably quieter I thought this year ? Plenty of people but they are not giving up their money so easily perhaps.

Evening Market

On the village square they hold a Friday evening market with music and a relaxed French rural village  atmosphere. Benches and tables are laid out in the middle of the square but it is too hot for me . I find a cool beer, a shady place to sit and people watch. Many years ago we had some students here taking a short film making course using the square and surrounds to practice different shots and to learn basic film techniques. At the end of the short film they made they sent us a DVD  with a saxophone player, called Rudolph, playing Stan Getz’s Girl from Ipanema. It is really very typical of a lazy Summer fair. People strolling through the market, children playing at the water fountain, and parents enjoying a taste of the Perigord, the food and the wine. It hasn’t really changed much.

This last week though, the weather changed dramatically with violent thunderstorms cutting out the power in half of Salignac. I was one of the casualties, coming downstairs in the morning and finding no phone or Internet. It all had to be changed and took nearly a week to sort out.  I had to ask for help to get onto the Hotline to report it and for Free to send me a new box. One French neighbour was on her phone for me and spent nearly two hours trying to get it done.

She is French, and even she was tearing her hair out ! Now reinstalled but I have noticed I am still keeping my pre Internet closure to do things simply. The radio, writing and listening to music. A quieter period of reflection.

Two Frenchmen in Glasgow 

In 1989 in Glasgow there was a marvellous Festival that we went to. The International Jazz Festival which included the great pianist Jacques Loussier and the equally wonderful violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Both were photographed by Barry and I included them in the exhibition this month.

Jacques Loussier was a childhood musical genius. He rose to fame early on with his adaptation/improvisation of a swing version of Johan Sebastian Bach. He founded the Play Bach Trio in 1959 and they had a massive success, giving over 3000 concerts and playing in 80 countries. He also composed tv and film scores and his Air on a G string was massively popular.

He bought the Chateau de Miraval in Provence where he set up recording studios which welcomed stars such as Pink Floyd, Sade, Sting, Chris Rea amongst others to enjoy the beautiful environment which includes its own vineyard. Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie subsequently bought it and produced their own wine.

Latterly, Loussier was exploring the classics again with Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart. He died aged 84 – working right up to the end.

Similarly with Stephane Grappelli. Barry photographed him early on in Paris then followed him throughout the years, finally in Glasgow playing with the Scottish guitarist Martin Taylor.

A big fan of his music, I even remember it from my parents and the Hot club with Django Reinhardt.

I was so happy to go to the concerts in Glasgow and see these musicians. I still remember the atmosphere and the joy. Merci Barry. Again!

A Quilt of Many Colours

A few months ago I decided I would like a quilt made from some of Barry’s clothes and some of mine too. A patchwork of life as well as memories. I contacted a local couturiere and asked if she would do it.

She gladly accepted and understood my feeling that it should include all the material I gave her, then leaving it to her expertise. I got it last week and I am absolutely delighted. Both with her care and her sensitivity. She is a character herself, on talking to her, her story unfolded: Losing two grown up children to cancer, she has encountered loss and heartbreak.

The quilt brightly adorns my couch/daybed and I look at it every day, not with sadness but with anticipation for the Autumn nights to curl up with Missy under it !

Fifi’s stories of rural France.

August 2023.

Fiona Alderman Blog: Cafe´Talk
Fiona Alderman's Blog: Les Voyages de Monsieur Barry

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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