Image by Truus, Bob & Jan too! via FlickrI know I am old because I can now remember what my cousin Hugh said to make me so upset when I was three. The memory of the upset had lingered, and I knew it involved frilly knickers and a pond, but only now has the full, unexpurgated version returned. So I must be old.
Memories of the France I moved to are clear and always have been, so I'm not sure whether they will stay clear or whether they will be assimilated to the recent period and disappear as I get older and concentrate on the events of childhood as yet unrevealed to me. I hope not, as it was a happy time.
People smoked, drank and drove cars that fell apart if they went over thirty kilometres an hour. Naked women jumped from windows and fled through the vines as their husbands returned unexpectedly early from market. Gendarmes had a bar in their barracks and were much better tempered in consequence. Papy up the road cooked in a cauldron and had a pornography collection which was the envy of several communes around. The man with the three wheeled tractor had not been driven from the roads. Jules slaughtered his own sheep and I could buy the meat. The old people got together in the winter evenings to play cards, knit and tell stories. Andre was soaking blackcurrant branches in his wine to make it taste better. Lawyers went on strike and defendants were left to make up their own stories. Monsieur Untel was cleaning his drains with eau de vie. There were eight bars in the commune and a cafe which was cheap and good. There wasn't a Parisian, an artist or an antique dealer in the area.
As that great collaborator used to sing
'Ah, yes, I remember it well.'