Saturday, January 12, 2013

On Friday afternoon ...

... Bill was quietly laid to rest in the presence of his friends. It sounds pretty awful to say that there was "a large crowd" - it makes it sound like a football match or something - but I don't mean it like that. What I mean to say is that despite Bill being an elderly gentleman living on his own, he had heaved himself heart and soul into the local society - something that every ex-pat needs to do - and consequently he was very much appreciated by everyone in his neighbourhood. There's so much solidarity here too amongst the people who wish to integrate into the community and this event, sad as it was, was ample proof of that. Bill was quite a character and will be sorely missed by many.

At a funeral a few months ago, Bill had expressed a wish that if anything were ever to happen to him, that he be laid to rest in France but with no religious presence. Consequently the funeral directors brought him directly to the cemetery. They loitered discreetly in the distance to keep an eye on the proceedings and in the absence of a priest or whatever, we had a very informal ceremony where we said a few words about Bill. Once our gathering had concluded, the funeral directors took over for the actual interment.

It's all in a complete contrast to how such a ceremony would be organised in the UK and it says a great deal for how things are in such a Catholic country as France, where such an informal procedure is allowed to take place without any supervision from Church or State.

This morning Cécile and I went out to the forest near Teilhet for a walk in the snow, and gathered a huge pile of wood which we took back to her house. Wood is of course a valuable commodity here and decent lumps of it lying around are well-worth collecting as I am sure that you can imagine. It was quite nice and exhilarating out there.

But today is Saturday, and shopping day, as you all must know by now. And as Cécile had things to do this afternoon, Yours Truly was dispatched with a shopping list. It must be 15 years or so that some such event has happened to me. There's quite a danger that I might start to become domesticated, and won't that be a change?

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