Added on Friday 19 Dec 2008
Over the last few weeks the weather here in Salignac has been very wet and windy which, combined with the fact that I still have to wait in for my dressings to be changed, has left me with little inclination to go out and about so I have recently being re-viewing some of my footage that I had taken over the last 30 years. From countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Pakistan etc. it has saddened me that nothing seems to change with time. As a much more youthful person then, I had supposed that my reportage and coverage of these sorts of events might change things, albeit in a small way, unfortunately world events do not seem to have moved on by 2008 with still the same aggressions, famines and injustices throughout the world. Despite all this in virtually all the countries that I have visited I received much kindness and hospitality from even the most impoverished and neglected locals signifying the indomitable spirit that humans, no matter their condition, have in the face of adversity, wars, poverty and inhumane treatment. The reason that I mention all this is because as we run up to Christmas, the season of goodwill etc.
We in the west tend to forget about all the troubles in the rest of the world but are much more selfish about ourselves. I do not have much money but I get by, I have a house and loved one beside me, I have clean water and sufficient food, I can do more or less what I want to, I have medical treatment for my aches and pains and so on. How many people in the world just do not have that? Maybe it was my decision all those years ago to travel and see situations that has made me sound a bit like preacher but I am glad that I did, and I can certainly never forget it and with a bit of luck maybe I did some good anyway. I certainly do hope so! I dare say that many of the news organisations I filed material with in those days will have totally forgotten me and the pictures, video and column inches that I wrote then are long consigned to the archives (if at all) but I do remember many of the charitable organisations that I worked with very well and all the volunteers that I met over the years.
The village of Salignac has gone into its usual pre-Christmas mode of quietness, partly due to the rather wet weather and coldness, although we have put up some decorations, including Fiona's dolls house all lit up inside the front door, the cats are all lying in the warmth of the bed that was put in the sejour for me to sleep in before I could go upstairs a couple of months ago! The cats have taken it over and won't let me take it out and Fiona this evening suggested that they all get gift wrapped with tinsel around them but they didn't seem at all that keen! I wonder why? Could it be that the heating is on, the food is out for them and it is a bit cold and wet outside? I bet it could be! In this period the shops seem to be running out of things and stocks seem to be in short supply but I suppose that will change in the run up next week. Although I am saying that it is cold (which it isn't in Scottish terms) it is certainly time for home made soups and hot sticky puddings so I think that I shall have to get into that this weekend. For some curious reason the French in this part of the world just do not go for hot puddings so it is definitely time to get out some of my old cookbooks and see if I can do some justice in that direction. It would be nice to have a nice hot steamed pudding with some custard and cream over it! I must get out of my torpor and get on with it! At least I had a rebate from EDF of a couple of hundred Euros this month (very long overdue I may say!) so maybe a bottle of brandy could be on the cards. I have to be careful about saying that because Fiona doesn't like brandy and she usually reads my piece before I send it! It is always such a shame that Fiona and I do not like the same things, apart from food and wine of course, but brandy, pastis etc. are off the list...all the things that I like, damn! I shall just have to send this update before she gets a chance to read it! Fortunately, or unfortunately, most people that we know here do know that we are Scottish and they presume that we just drink whisky of which neither of us do and we have to go to long lengths that we don't, the fact that many people do not know where Scotland has always been a problem, they do tend to think that it is part of England or similar to Ireland (which is not quite so bad!) but Scotch and not very good stuff is what they sell, and offer us when visiting their homes.
Immediately after writing the last sentence this old codger who had been having an old bottle (soft drink) on my knees full of warm water and covered by a sock, I told you that the shops were short on stock...including hot water bottles, fell onto the floor and smashed. It know leaves me with a pool of water and broken glass to clear up!!!
Have a happy Christmas and a good New Year!
Rural France. I love it!(c)Barry Paton. December 2008.