Thursday, February 14, 2013
When worlds collide.
Three large black Peugeot limousines parked outside the Salle des Fetes. An incongruous sight amid the tractors , muddy SUV's and ancient Citroen vans . The plastic carnations in the window box in the porch replaced by fresh flowers .
Inside everything is looking splendid. Or as splendid as the Salle des Fetes can look. In the centre of the room a tressle table piled high with vol au vents, sandwiches and a variety of alluringly coloured soft drinks. The tressle tables have been covered in a bright yellow plastic table cloth. A special touch. To one side a long plywood bench. On it a stainless steel drum from which the old farmer is dispensing liberal helpings of home made wine to an increasingly enthusiastic audience. Two little old ladies from the house by the crossroads have settled at one end of the table and are slowly but surely working their way through the vol au vents . Occasionally one asks the other, very loudly ' what do you think this is ? ' . The school teachers fourteen year old Golden Retriever asleep by the door .
The lady from the Ministry of Culture is there with a tall, extremely thin young man in a black suit. The pursed look on the young mans face tells you his experience of life outside Paris is limited. He studies Madame Mayors fur trimmed anorak with horror. The lady fom the Ministry is a living tricolore. White two piece, red blouse and blue clutch bag. The costume rounded off by a pair of huge diamante earrings that wouldn't look out of place on a Palm Desert cocktail waitress .
The lady fom the Ministry starts her speech at ten past four. This is a mistake. The school bus arrives as she's just started thanking the mayor for his hospitality. She starts again once the stream of toddlers and mothers have settled down. '' Citizens ! With what tenderness of spirit , what outpourings of the heart, what sense of irrepressible community were these frescoes made ". The villagers stand, arms folded, and look at her.
When worlds collide.