Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A battle royal .
Census day . In Britain it happens every ten years. Here in France every five. The mayors secretary comes round in person to watch us fill out the forms and check their accuracy . She's due at nine and shows up in her little Citroen at ten . A model of punctuality by local standards . '' No coffee for me. If I have another cup I'll be flying " she says somewhat improbably . We go into the dining room. Wilf settles under the table with a Ryvita. The mayors secretary places a briefcase on the table, opens it, and hands us each a form. '' Are you sure there's only the two of you here ? " . She asks this with a tone of voice that implies there are fifty illegal immigrants hiding in the cellar .
The last census showed that 67 intrepid souls called the commune their home. According to the local paper there are rumours that some smaller villages might be combined into ' super villages ' of two or three hundred inhabitants . An attempt to save costs . A battle royal looms between the local mayors.