Saturday, August 21, 2010

Funeral, ceremony and anniversary all in one.

"M'excuse but I can't be with you today" said Madame Bay standing in the middle of the kitchen as large as life and looking, to all intents and purposes, as if she was very much 'with us'. Not that we needed to be told that something was amiss. No primary colours and trailing chiffon this morning. Madame Bay was dressed entirely in black complete with elbow length gloves and a flying saucer shaped broad brimmed hat with veil. A village funeral.

The 94 year old colonel had passed on. We'd never seen him, nor indeed heard much about him. His run down house stands at the corner of the village and is quite honestly a bit of an eye sore. A fleet of rusty old 50's and 60's era Citroens, doors ajar, are scattered across what might once have passed as the garden while above them stands a flagpole proudly flying a rather battered and faded 'drapeau tricolore'.

By ten the village green was covered in cars and the bell in the church tower was sounding out a mournful angelus. We watched from a distance as the local veterans associations lined up on either side of the church porch, their flags lowering in life affirming disarray as the coffin passed by. Thirty minutes later they were all out of the church and clustered around the war memorial. An inaudible speech by the mayor, the presentation of scrolls to two ancient sabot and beret wearing villagers, an atonal rendition of the Marseillaise and then, as the little lady in the lilac hat sang the Song of the Partisans, they were off.

Afterwards, sharing a glass of restorative 'elevenses' champagne in the garden with the mayor and the little lady in the lilac hat we discovered that the government has decreed that all surviving Second World War combatants must be honoured with a ceremony, a scroll and a bottle of 'good' champagne. The mayor had been putting it off but in light of recent events had decided that it wouldn't be wise to delay too much longer. It was also he brightly informed us the anniversary of the day that the village had liberated itself in 1944. The diplomat in me did not congratulate him on another great feat of French arms. Funeral, ceremony and anniversary all in one day. Wilf sat quizically through it all patiently wondering when the sausages would arrive.


  1. We'll drink to that........and any other occasion!

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  2. Interesting thought to combine both ceremonies, but a thoughtful thing to do for the living vetrans, there are not many left.

    Is that a dead bee laying next to Wilf? YIKES!

  3. If it involves champagne, I'm for it.

    All joking aside, veterans should be honored - there are very few WWII vets still living. There are two who attend our church and both of them are fast approaching 89 years old.

  4. I just lost my whole comment, I think (if you get it, please post the first one and not this one). I think that the French have it right - drinking champagne for every occasion!

    The Democratic SC senate candidate is getting much fewer headlines than the "alleged Dr." over here in the US. I'm embarrassed.

  5. Well, I'll agree that veterans should be honored. And I'm sure any excuse to drink champagne is a good one!

    What is that in Wilf's mouth? I kept looking at it, but it's so Wilf-colored that I couldn't figure out where Wilf ended and the toy began!

  6. Any occasion fow a weally good champagne and possible snausages is to be celebwated
    smoochie kisses

  7. Interesting to combine the ceremonies. I probably wouldn't have thought to do that.

    It's too bad the US doesn't honor all veterans.

    Did Wilf get his sausages?

    Sounds like Madame Bay had on regular clothes for once!

  8. It's a fumoniversary. We have them all the time at our house! :)

  9. You have to love champagne for elevenses!

    We like the fact the veterans are honoured and remembered so well. We have had a bad history here at remembering our WW1 and WW2 veterans - indeed I only recently discovered that one of my great-uncles had died in WW1 in northern France - my Grandad never spoke about his brother!

  10. That's alot going on in one day. That bee is interesting. It is National Honey Bee Awareness Day today. Posy would love to play with that bee and Wilf too!