Tuesday, January 26, 2010


By the time we got to the church it was standing room only. We took our place to the side of the choir under a stirring wall painting showing a kneeling Joan of Arc, in full armour, looking skywards to a cloud on which was stirringly written : " Go forth Joan! Drive the English from our land so that France may stand in glory". Proof if any were needed that France is one of those countries where there is a psychological if not tangible benefit to being Scottish. The intended martial effect of the fresco was slightly ruined, for me at least, by the artists decision to tinge the whole scene with a strange kryptonite green light.This was presumably intended to reflect a divine presence but made me think of Superman. When I pointed this out to 'the font' I got a look and one of those whispered admonitions which included the word 'behaviour'.

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?


  1. Hey Angus
    The funeral sounds quite jovial - what fun! Wish I was there to experience it all.
    As for 'superman'...the notion works for me!...the motives are ironicaly similar.

    On a different note - why don't you just be honest?...The only way to integrate into a foreign country is to hire a fan club! Go Mongoose!


  2. That funeral sounds a lot better than any I've been to!

    Isn't it funny how dogs always like to keep us on our toes by making us wonder if they'll behave when company comes over and then acting like angels?

  3. It sounds like you and the "font" are really fitting right it. I, too, live in one of those places where respect for the dead and their families is wonderful. I've already been to the funeral home once this week and am planning on going again tomorrow.

    Thanks so much for the tie. It is wonderful and my husband will wear it. He is a teacher and wears a tie every day, so it will be great with a white shirt when he has to have a patriotic theme.

  4. Maybe the mayor can sort out your car paper problems in return?

  5. It sounds like the village people have truly accepted you as part of the community. Has it really been 3 months? It seems like just yesterday that you wrote about moving. In any case, I'm glad that you're building a community in your new home!

    And, I agree about dogs breaking down social barriers. It couldn't be more true.

  6. May two cases of good French champagne (after all, there really is no other kind) be consumed following my funeral!

    There is a beautiful window at our church depicting the Peaceable Kingdom. There is a tree on which is inscribed the names of every country in 2001. However, among the beautiful animals is a young man dressed as young Jedi warrior Luke Skywalker. When the window was first unveiled, I couldn't help whispering in my companion's ear "Luke, I am your father." We burst into giggles and were the recipients of stern glances - behave!

    We also have a window depicting Jesus quieting the waves where one of the passengers was no doubt inspired by the cover of Jethro Tull's album Aqualung. Behave!

  7. Such good boys. They are the ultimate ice breakers. I always tell my husband that if anything should happen to me, he could meet someone else in a heartbeat by just taking the dogs for a walk. They always draw a crowd.

    Your mayor must be quite honorable, for Digby to fall asleep at his feet. On his back, no less!!

  8. kks - Thank you

    MAX - Either a fan club or provide free champagne

    houndstooth - As Digby is a demon dog we are kept doubly on our toes - if he doesn't like someone he lets them,and us, know.

    WW - Yes it is really rather heartening that we're fitting in but see comment above about free champagne

    WW - By the time he left he was beyond sorting anything out

    KB - You can never be alone when you have dogs

    Petey - Behave indeed

    Pamela T|&E - Yes but out of politeness I didn't say that he managed to break wind rather frequently while on his back.

  9. Y'all are so lucky. It sounds like y'all fitting in, and your making friends. My Mommy is envious that y'all can live in France. I not sure what that means, but I think she wants to live in France too. I want to do everything with her, so I too want to live abroad.
    Sally Ann