Fiona Alderman, June Update from Rural France


We are not old, we are retro


I was thinking this when I went to a local concert in Salignac recently. I felt very ancient,on looking around at all the French teenagers in their brightly coloured clothes and wild hair. As is so strange here , one minute the place is empty and then the fairground came to town for the weekend and all hell breaks loose!

For the first time, the new huge tent was centre stage for a concert with a bar area set up within. It quickly became packed and I decided to grab a cold beer to settle down to listen to the music due to start at 10pm. Being France this doesn’t have any bearing on things so you have to learn to be patient. After numerous sound checks and guitar riffs a group called “Mud” came on and started belting out Joe Cocker’s “ With a little help from my friends”. It was excellent. The lead singer sounding just as gravelly voiced as the original. With 4 men and a girl vocalist they were surprising in their versatility, switching from well known English songs of the moment to French ones too.The next day there was another group playing, called “The Black Strawberries” and the lead singer and guitarist was a young Scottish guy that I have known with his family for nearly 10 years. The only Scottish people I know here but I felt proud to see him on an official first paid gig. I danced along , but feeling retro rather than old!


house star

This means “habitation loyer moderé” meaning low cost accommodation. The French tend to rent their houses and flats far more than we do in the UK and these council estates are all over the place. Some looking okay some not so but ours in Salignac is really quite cool.Dwarfed by the huge water tower behind it it reminds me of the New towns in the 60’s in Scotland. Built in standard size concrete with matchbox gardens. Started in the 50’s in France, on the outskirts of large cities, they were mainly high rise flats often overcrowded and immigrants would be housed there. From
this “melting pot” of cultures and races would escalate into drug and poverty situations and les cités as they are called became a bad name. However, here in sunny Salignac it seems to be about neighbours and helping each other out when in trouble.

The Summer Solstice Exhibition

child on hill

We were delighted to have been invited along to the “Artistes en Liberté summer festival just outside our village. An annual event to show off the skills of local artists. Painters, sculptors, poets, musicians and other crafts. Barry based his around a theme of “ Images that have marked my life.”Having been a photo­journalist for over 50 years and in as many countries the choice of what to show was immense. However he decided that his journey to Africa in the 80’s with Band Aid and also Pakistan later on would be sufficient. Powerful photos that brought back memories that weren’t always good. We remarked that very little had changed, especially in Sudan today who are still having such fierce problems.

People looking at the exhibition were either curious or maybe too troubled by the images. Some were too young to know about it.

However we managed to have a good day , making some new contacts for the future and enjoying the hot summer weather too.

Well I leave you now and wish you an excellent month, and until next time?
Fifi’s story from rural France. June 2015.
​Dance and film courses in SW France.

Fiona Alderman: July News from Rural France
Fiona Alderman: May in Rural France

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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