Fiona Alderman’s blog: Two churches – a wedding and a funeral
It’s been a busy month with one thing and another. We’d been invited to a wedding locally as I mentioned last time. The weather was glorious, sun shining and no rain for a change. At precisely 4pm the bells of the church sounded and Blandine, the bride , arrived with her sister the bridesmaid. She arrived on time, unlike in the UK ,where a delay is often the case.
She got out of the car and waited for her husband to be. During the time she chatted with some of the guests that were still arriving. He finally appeared with their little boy in his arms – all dressed up in a little suit and waistcoat like his father. They went into the mairie for the civil part of the marriage but as it is quite small we couldn’t all go in. There were maybe about 70 guests by this time so we stayed out in the sunshine and tried to listen in. After about 10 minutes a shout went up and claxons hooted that they were now man and wife. We then all walked around the corner to the church which was very beautiful, the long aisle strewn with peach coloured rose petals, tall candles everywhere and soft music playing in the background. The whole ambiance was quite magical. The exchange of rings and the signing of the register looked very traditional but some of the prayers and tributes I didn’t fully understand in French.
Rice was thrown as they came out into the sunshine. They looked very happy and there was a flurry of photographs and kisses for everyone. In France they all pile into their cars , hooting the horns to wish the couple well on their special day. This can take a while before the need to have a party! We were all invited to “un apéritif” ie champagne and canapés at the farm afterwards. Yes , because Damien is a farmer and it was to be held at his parent’s farm.We unfortunately couldn’t go but it was great to have shared some of their lovely day.
Just a few weeks later, I went to pay my respects to a man who had died very suddenly here in Salignac. He and his wife, who had died just a few months ago, had started the local “épicier” about 60 years before. A popular man, he was always ready to have a chat with everyone so he was very well known here. The church was packed, from young to old, and it was another moving service. The priest sang out his sermon in a peculiar voice, unfortunately for me, but he commented on Mr. Berthy and all he had done in his life with great warmth.
Internet and Elections
For the last two weeks we have been without telephone or Internet which has caused quite a few problems. You don’t realise how much you depend upon it? There had been huge storms just about then so we thought maybe it would sort itself out. No. I would have to face the fact I would have to call “Le Hotline “. This involves tapping in numbers and waiting to get to a real person which can take over half an hour. This is difficult in French I can tell you as they speak really fast. Eventually I got through to be told they would check the line and open up a “ticket d’incident” . This was also at the Easter weekend, and no one was working! So far so good I thought.By the way this was only done by a neighbour’s mobile phone as we don’t have one so this is another extra thing to coordinate. I phoned after the weekend to be told that they had put the report to France Telecom now and this would take a further few days. Finally after nearly two weeks a technician came to the house. He was great and found that a cable inside the house had been at fault. In fact probably one of our cats had peed on it! It was under our noses, so to speak, all that time. Touch wood all is okay now. However during this time we watched a great deal of French television. It was during the French Elections and there was no escape from it. It was on all the channels. We watched the debates, the weekend of electing the new President, the passing on the leadership from one to the other, the grand spectacle of his day of election and on it went!
Time will tell how this new, young but ambitious man will do but France was in need of change.
“En Marche “ is his slogan for the future with Europe.
French words upside down
On a lighter note , I have discovered a very strange piece of French grammar. It is called “Le Verlan “ and treats certain words back to front. Used formerly in Parisian circles I believe but I have heard them locally and wanted to find out about them . Maybe used by young people as a slang version.You take the end part and start the word with that.It doesn’t work with every word though. Here are some examples.
“La meuf” is la femme.
“La teuf” is la fête.
“”Chelou” or louche (shady character)
“Relou” or lourd ( someone who is heavy going)
Well that is enough now, I am going to have a little rosé wine for an apéro.
Fifi’s story from Rural France. May 2017.
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