(The priest’s house)
We are staying at the priest’s house in Le Grand Bourg – big market town. The priest is gone and in his place is a hotel and restaurant, well…. in his house.
(Candles in the church)
Right in front of the house is a church, as you’d expect and a bar as you might not expect. So last night before dinner we went for a drink. It was so warm we sat outside in the shade and I noticed something I’d seen in the last town.
In front of me in the queue at the supermarket in Masseat was an old man. When it came time for him to pay for his purchases he handed the lady assistant a little purse. She unzipped the purse, took out the required coins, re-zipped the purse and then handed it back to the man.
(Shade from the sun)
And last night I saw the same thing happen. The bar man, a very jovial guy who sang as he served us, fished for change in a customer’s little purse (the customer was there at the time….) The customer was not an old man so I wondered why he might need help. It does point to the trusting nature of the customer and probably the trustworthy nature of the shopkeeper and the barman. So we had another beer!
(Our biere pression)
I went for a walk around the town today and found the graveyard! For those of you who think graveyards are creepy, strange places to visit – think again (Hello Angela!). They are very quiet, calm, peaceful areas…. generally. I was walking along between the graves when I heard a knocking. I could see no one. The knocking stopped. I like to look at the older graves, makes it all seem more like history. There were lots of graves dotted around of men who “died for France” in the 1914-1918 war, some with pictures, all in their teens or early twenties. The knocking started again, but it was fine, just a frenchman fixing one of the grave surrounds. Didn’t take pictures in the graveyard, there could be a repeat of the whole “dead mother” situation from Spain.
(Key on little stone shelf outside graveyard….. the mystery of the knocking explained?)
Then this afternoon I was invited to tea by out host and I spoke in French… she spoke in English! She runs the hotel and restaurant with her husband and I haven’t seen many staff, so she doesn’t have a lot of time, but she made enough for tea with me. Only problem is, I take a long time to formulate my sentences in French. Not too much of a problem if I’m prepared and only want to ask for a croissant, or a room for the night. But as the conversation progressed I learned that in running this hotel she is following her heart. She wanted to do this for a long time and last January, together with her husband she started this business. Well, music to my ears, I had loads to ask and to say! Very, very slowly, with lots of pauses.
(The Big Market Town)
So I was thinking again…… In France and Spain and every other country that I have not been born in…. I get the feeling that there is a depth to the stories of the people we meet (or just see) that can only get unlocked when I get a lot (lot, lot, lot) more fluent in their language. Maybe it’s time for me to learn a language?!!!!
Sláinte, Mairead (Good health in Irish, for those not fluent in Irish (another language for me to learn…))