It is faire to say that these past two days have been quite wonderful for lots of reasons. Mike made a quick recovery from his good night out and I took the liberty of leaving him quiet and warm in bed to restore himself from his over zealous wine drinking session and late night. I say that I took the liberty, because throughout our entire married life Mike has patiently restored me back to the living after my very own over zealous wine drinking sessions and I felt usefully humbled at being able to pay back that level of respect for the hung over dead with a cup of tea and a slice of brioche and butter at midday.
We had a call from Mark to ask if we were up for another party and with Mike’s colour well and truly resturned we agreed to get together and go to Jill and Tony’s for an evening of games wine and good food. The evening was a true Franglais event with a good cultural balance from both sides of the channel and the conversation sea sawed from French to English and a patois of both tongues in between and it transpired that at a certain level, speed and waggling of arms just about everyone got a good understanding of games rules and how to cheat. I am in awe of these new friends we have recently made who revel in French artefacts and have a natural and enviable attention to detail and presentation. Both homes we have visited these past two evenings have been candy to our eyes and senses with old and ancient combined with the new and practical. All in all, I feel revived and inspired, happy to have made the acquaintance of people we can talk to and learn from.
My other bit of wonderful happenings was a request from Genevievre to drive to Carentan Church and sing one of our Christmas songs at the funeral of a chorister’s husband. With nothing in the diary I agreed to join her and we set off both draped in black with manuscript in hand to participate. I have never been to a French funeral so this was a first and I am not Catholic so it was a double first. Half of the choir were there and I sat with my fellow altos to sang couronnee d'etoiles as the coffin was walked into our huge and impressive church and I for one was filled with an emotional charge that lifted every hair follicle on my neck. We then sat through the convoluted and crowd bonding process of saying goodbye to the dead. Monique played the part of song master and sang the congregation into the hymns and responses. Monique showed a strength and confidence I had not identified in her before and bearing in mind she just had her eightieth birthday she proved to me that she must be an angle living amongst us with her pure voice and patient approach to encouraging the grieving and shy to join in. The sounds of a catholic service in France is completely different to the sound of a C of E service so I was unable to participate but I had the privilege of people watching and the honour of just being there. I listened to the readings and I must admit to having had a good understanding of the sentiments but when we were asked to sit and meditate to the sound of our choir master playing Ave Maria on the full and magnificent church organ I was crushed by an emotional avalanche and I cried my eyes out as though it was my Dad in the coffin in front of me. When we left the church I told Monique that I believed she is an angel on earth and that got her going as well and we cried together in the cold wind, patting each others shoulders, Sarah standing by raking her gloved hand across her face not wanting to make this emothional outburst into a team event. What an amazing afternoon, and when I got home Mike had cleaned out our little stove and she was bubbling over with heat and good cheer, I was back home within the hour and happy to be there.