Fiona Alderman: Final Farewells

horse guard by barry paton

Watching the funeral of the Queen brought up many memories. Nostalgia and sadness for her family and my own recent loss. Barry photographed the Royal family many times over the years, and often had amusing quips to tell me. When he went to Sudan and Ethiopia in 1986, during the Band Aid project with Bob Geldof, and met Princess Anne.  She, as was Barry, was there with the Save The Children Fund and just getting on with the job. No nonsense and hardworking, he said. She even had a special  Royal toilet seat flown in. Not sure she used it though?

I have a photo too of Prince Andrew when he went to Lockerbie after that terrible aircraft tragedy. Surrounded by press and bodyguards, the Prince looks youthful , charming everyone, and smiling. Who would have thought what would happen to him in these last years?

The Queen though was tiny. In stature but certainly not in character. Welcoming, but not suffering fools, Barry was behind the camera, and getting on with things. She apparently was a great mimic, and humorous within her own family.

I am hoping to have an exhibition of his work next year, and am steadily going through just some of the extensive material now. There are boxes of negatives, videotape and many photos. From Pakistan, Africa, UK and of course France, it will take me some time.

Le Barry

le barry second para

We live just down from the Chateau which sits on the hill called Le Barry, one of many reasons that my Barry so loved about living here. He first came out to look for a house 22 years ago, I was still working in Scotland, so we had to discuss what he had seen on the phone. Run down properties needing a lot of work were not what we wanted nor in the middle of nowhere. We already knew the Dordogne, having visited many times on holiday. In a village with all the amenities at close hand would be ideal. On the last day of his trip, after seeing 40 properties, this house was the last one, and he nearly didn’t go. He walked in the early morning mist surrounding the chateau up Le Barry to number 12. Sunshine broke and he said he knew this was the right one. It even had a large cave which he thought might be right for me to use as a dance studio.

Barry started writing his Diary of a Film school in France, and on this site too, WorldWide Westenders. Relating daily life in rural France, and starting a new life here. I came across one the other day that you might like to read.

Recently, an Irish friend who has a holiday house here, came to visit me after learning of Barry’s death. He had originally met us on reading this Pat’s Page, and one day going up to the Cafe, he saw Barry, quietly contemplating life with a chilled glass of rose´. He walked up to him and said “Are you Barry Paton”? They got on like a house on fire.For many years we saw him and his family here. He brought me a bottle of wine this time. Called Le Barry. A lovely rose wine and such a coincidence? I had never heard of it. Not touched it yet, waiting for the right moment.

The Bench

the bench third para

I am trying to get a bench for the cemetery, to sit quietly when I go and visit. It is not really seen in rural parts in France and I believe I am the first to ask here. With all things French it takes both time and a lot of discussions. I first went to the local Mairie and saw one of the staff who looked at me strangely when I asked about the possibility. He said he would ask the Mayor. Should I come back in a few days I asked? Oh, non , non. Three weeks later, and in the meantime I asked the local council workers would they do it? More discussion. We are now at the stage of Oui, mais……..
Will they order a new one, or refurbish an old one? More importantly, where are they going to put it in this vast cemetery? I had hoped it would go beside Barry in the Jardin de Souvenir but I have a feeling that is too simple. Shall keep you posted. I think Barry would have had a wry smile on this.

Fifi’s stories from rural France.
September 2022.

Fiona Alderman's blog: One Evening in Salignac
Fiona Alderman: Fêtes Galore

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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