Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The priest who took the whole service in Occitan

Is this Wee Willy Winkie?

What a little angel, one of the servers at Mass

A quick rehearsal a lot like E. Harling on Sunday mornings!

A cast of thousands!

John, with Robert and Renee

Why is this man playing a cushion?
Actually he was very good.
A man of straw!

Make hay while the sun shines and boy did it shine.
It could be 1950 or even before apart form the wires and cars in the background.

Espinas, before you ask, is the name of the village up the hill and on Sunday we had a really lovely experience at their summer festival. Every year they try to recreate the village as it might have been in the past and this year it was especially well done. All the inhabitants dress up in costumes from the past and in the afternoon they do hay making using the old fashioned machines and animals. There are men with saws 10 ft long showing how whole trees were cut into floor boards, there are clog makers, oil and juice pressers, the school is set up as it would have been before the war, and there are models all over the village showing people undertaking various activities. It's always amazing.

First thing in the morning we got up and went out with our neighbours Mme. Renee and M. Robert Lafon (who have kind of adopted us). We went to mass in the open air and the whole thing was said in the local language Occitan. We could understand some bits but most was totally incomprehensible apart from the odd sentence which made complete sense, a very odd sensation to suddenly hear something you understand in a sea of stuff you don't. We managed a bit with Robert whispering translations into my ear and also with the crib sheet. We joined in valiantly with The Lord's Prayer which as you can see is quite recognisable if you know any French, Spanish, Italian or Latin, although saying it is another matter! Robert was sniggering at our efforts, shame.

Paire nòstre que siès dins lo cèl, que ton nom se santifique, que ton rènhe nos avenga, que ta volontat se faga sus la tèrra coma dins lo cèl. Dona-nos nòstre pan de cada jorn, perdona-nos nòstres deutes coma nosautres perdonam als nòstres debitors e fai que tombèm pas dins la tentacion mas deliura-nos del mal. Atal sia!
After mass which was really beautiful we had a few glasses of cold sangria and watched all the local people folk dancing. There was a man on the accordeon and another playing a set of pipes which looked rather like Northumbrian pipes rather than Scottish ones, the music was perfect for the whole setting and I felt quite emotional. We then went home and Renee announced that we were having lunch with them, which we did en famille sitting in their kitchen and enjoying a lovely family time together, I was very proud of John who can chat away in French like anything now. It was a really special and precious time and we feel privileged to be included in their family times.
We were included again later on when we headed up the hill to take part in the Espinas harvest supper, country soup, coarse pork pate with salad and gherkins, pork with a parsley and caper sauce, white beans, grilled lamb chops, grilled sausage, bread, bread, bread, and some bread, cheese, and peche melba, wine flowed at will and we all munched and sipped and slurped and chatted (although I was driving so chateau de la pompe was on the menu for me.) Coming home at 1am we couldn't imagine ever eating anything again! Also the temperature was 27 degrees at midnight, stap me vitals! It was a great day. An uncle of a day and a joy to live through.


JoeyJoJo said...

What an adventure. There's a book in there somewhere Sal. It all looks amazing. I love that beautiful picture of the man behind two horses.
I'm glad your vitals weren't too sapped though.
All that food!
Crazy and wonderful and I'm so glad you had "a moment".

JoeyJoJo said...

P.S. Whose tummy is bigger now - Roberts or Johns?