We had the usual ceremony in front of the war memorial on VE Day, but it was nip and tuck. The maire had been on holiday and the nibbles in the salle de fetes after the ceremony were only bought the afternoon before. Invitations were not taken round the commune until the same day. It’s a good couple of hours to deliver one into each post box but it gives an excuse to drive up every farm track. A very few farmsteads are still rurally squalid; most working farms are obviously prosperous, as are those that have retained the land and now rent it out. The sold-off houses are all in various stages of being done up usually, these days, by young French rather than aging Brits. There was a good turn out with the usual bizarre absence of the village dissidents.

Today was fete day in a local town. We have a visitor who expressed interest and we dropped by. Our guest’s prime reaction was astonishment at the numbers thronging the streets. Rural France, in his experience, was almost deserted. The main attraction, aside from crap-selling stalls and street food, was a dozen or so horn-blowers from some chic up country chasse. They wore smart green uniforms and tootled most impressively before retiring into the mairie for refreshments.

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