One of the local farmers wives sang, two old friends pronounced brief homilies, the exceedingly ancient priest read a passage and then it was all over. The coffin was borne to the bier and the six black horses duly processed to the cemetery followed by two or three hundred local folk. France is still a country where people make the time to pay their last respects to neighbours. After that it was back to the house where , almost as if we had sent out formal invitations, we were joined by a rather large group of local farmers and their families. A second case of champagne had to be brought up from the cellar.
I'd been rather worried that Wilf and Digby might be frightened by this large group of people. To begin with they were nervous . They rushed out into the garden when we came back from the church barking and racing around the garden, on guard and full of energy. Then miraculously they settled down , greeting the guests with calm indifference and behaving like absolute angels. They revelled in all the attention they got and were soon quite at ease. Digby eventually fell asleep on his back in the middle of the hallway at the feet of the mayor , snoring loudly away to everyones amusement - a sure sign that the traumas of last year are behind him. I was reminded of why I started this blog in the first place - when you travel with two fluffy companions barriers of language and culture break down to be replaced by smiles. Dogs bring a different dimension to life and open doors that would otherwise remain closed . When we arrived three months ago who would have thought we would be drinking champagne with a large group of people we'd never met, after a funeral of someone we didn't know , in deepest France Profonde?