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Silver Sandalled Feet
January 20, 2018
08:43 AM

Silver Sandalled Feet


"And then the dawn, with silver sandalled feet
Crept like a frightened girl"

Oscar Wilde nails winter sunrises.

Lost in Translation One Hundred and Twenty
January 18, 2018
09:18 PM

Lost in Translation One Hundred and Twenty

I am fascinated by the word Courbature- at the moment it comes up constantly in ads on the TV here in France, it is, it appears a symptom of 'flu.

The best dictionary translation seems to be ache- but this is complicated by by the same word also referring to a disease in horses.

The Good Larousse gives a short etymology saying it is a joining of court (short) and battu (beaten) which would ( to me) indicate feeling like one had been briefly beaten- good description for the aches you get at the onset of 'flu- but somehow- it doesn't convince.

Adieu, Monsieur Gramage
January 15, 2018
02:43 PM

Adieu, Monsieur Gramage

DelCatet3 (333x500).jpg

Since we came to Le Presbytere for the first time our one constant on Rue Lentheric has been Monsieur Gramage who lives just three doors down the street from us.
It is very sad to see the condolance book outside the door this morning which tells us that he died last night. He was, his daughter tells us, 92 since October.
He was the most wonderful gentle man and to us he was Thezan, always a greeting, a handshake and a smile.
On hot days in summer he would sit on his little stone bench at the top of Rue del Catet- "to catch any breeze" he told me.
The last time I talked to him he was walking up from the Super U with his groceries, I stopped and asked would he like a lift "No" he grimaced" they have said I have to walk"
I love that when Olivier Costa painted the Trompe l'Oeil in Del Catet they showed M. Gramage puffing up the stairs in the background.
It is certainly no coincidence that just this morning I have discovered that his christian name was "Angel"
We will miss him.

Lost in Translation One Hundred and Nineteen
January 12, 2018
08:46 AM

Lost in Translation One Hundred and Nineteen

It was a long time before we moved to France and we were buying wine to take home to Ireland.
Having looked at the bottles in a vineyard in Burgundy I asked the proprietor if he had it in BIB's
" Vous avez des bag-in-box ?
" Mais Oui !" he said " Mais qu'est-ce que c'est, bag-in-box en Anglais ?"

Funeral Bells
January 09, 2018
05:30 PM

Funeral Bells

Living in an old presbytery right next to the church makes one very aware of the bells, especially the funeral bells, they have such a sonorous and steady rhythm which, unlike the ringing of the hours,cuts into your life.
This is probably exactly what they were designed to do, sounding a momento mori with each stroke.
Over the years we have noticed that January is the most popular month for funerals and this year , 2018, is no exception.

Nearly every day in the last seven we have heard the bells toll warning us of a death in the village- today they are tolling again.
But today's death was a little special, he must have been once a fireman as the coffin was carried into the church by firemen in their full uniform.

There are a lot of mourners today, firemen; Les Sappeurs Pompiers, are held in huge esteem here, where it is often only their skill and courage which protects us from the lightning fast fires which can rip through the undergrowth in the height of an arid summer.

  Martin Dwyer
Consultant Chef