Fiona Alderman: Superstitions French Style
I thought I might talk about something different this time .Why not? I am sure every country has its own personal superstitions and I think we can learn from them.
1. The first one is about la baguette. Something very important in daily French life, if you can’t afford a baguette things are bad. Simple food it might be but where would you be without a hunk of bread to soak up a sauce or put your cheese on. Just don’t put it upside down on the table! Very bad luck apparently.
This belief came from the Middle Ages when on execution day the baker made the bread for the executioner but put it down the wrong way round. Since then we are careful to turn it the right way up.
2. Never offer anyone a new penknife either is another unusual one. It is said it can cut the lines of friendship. However if you give some money for it in exchange then it makes it different, no longer a gift but a paid for purchase.
3. Don’t upset the salt cellar! Yes, another one from the Middle Ages, and as salt was expensive then it was also a waste. You mustn’t pass it from one person to another either? Just put it down on the table next to him/her instead. If it falls then sweep the remains up and over the left shoulder to prevent any bad luck.
4. The last one is good though and involves making a celebratory toast. Firstly, don’t take a sip before you have made the toast, don’t cross over other hands to clink glasses and most importantly look the other person directly in the eyes when you do say Sante !
Monsieur Charles Aznavour
I have already written about Charles Aznavour but wanted to say a little extra on this French/Armenian singer, composer and actor. He died just recently and unfortunately not making his goal of reaching 100. He was 94 and died hopefully quietly in his sleep. Still working right up to the end and preparing for another tour he is another great man that has gone from us. Modest and humorous too, he was even recognized by Mr Sinatra treating him as an ” equal “. A crooner yes but when he sang he was also an actor, with all the gestures and facial expressions, telling a story that captivated the audience.
His career spanned 70 years with more than 1400 songs written and acting in many films, he could speak English, Spanish,German and Italian. I believe he was still learning more, including Russian.
He was”discovered” by Edith Piaf pushing him to develop his own style and delivery. His idol was Charles Trenet and he admired his skill with texts and phrasing. Popular in Parisian circles Aznavour’s blend of “swing” would continue to enchant audiences. In the 60’s he even wowed the Americans at Carnegie Hall and Bob Dylan is reputed to have said it was the greatest stage show he had ever seen.
Happily married for the third time and proud father of 6 children.He would say he married the first time ” too young, the second time too stupid, but the third time with a Swedish girl he learnt tolerance”.
Living in Switzerland for many years where he appreciated the way of life and the people. He lived quietly there with no need to play the “star” and where his family kept him firmly down to earth.
However who can forget his rendition of ‘She’ and ‘Dance in the Old Fashioned Way’? Huge hits in the UK. I certainly still listen to them. Sadly missed by many people in his pays du coeur La France.
Reclining on a sofa
I have been dealing with a lot of personal issues over the last few months and needed to find ways to relax. One of them is getting out in the sunshine and taking some photos for this article. I saw this beautiful sofa in a friend’s house.I wanted to lie down on it and “confess”all my worries! I didn’t though Just sat down and admired it. It is one of the many pieces of unusual furniture at the Convent that they love to buy or restore.They travel a lot too and the house is crammed with beautiful and unusual pieces from Cambodia, Peru, India and Morocco. The sofa is from an old manor in the North of France. It must tell a story, I think?
Fifi’s stories from rural France. October 2018.
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- Fiona Alderman Blog: Life in Rural France