Saturday, 15 May 2010

Village gossip

It may be clear from this Blog that village life in Cormatin is not dissimilar to the stereotypical life in the fictitious village of Clochemerle.
A previous posting got an unexpected follow-up.

Understanding of modern technology by older citizens and progress of this technology do not always go hand in hand. The new amplifier cum CD-player, recently obtained by the commune (and not, as I wrongly stated earlier, by our war veteran and deportee Monsieur P.) was supposed to make the most recent ceremony (the wreath laying at the Monument for those who gave their lives for France during the wars) last Liberation Day a feast for the ears. After the various speeches the Marseillaise was supposed to be played through the amplifier at an acceptable, but clearly audible volume. However, Monsieur P. had forgotten how the thing worked. After what seems to be an eternity, during which Monsieur P. pressed buttons, turned knobs, at the end assisted by the flag bearer, who had to lower the flag for this purpose, all of a sudden the Marseillaise blurted out over Cormatin at House Party volume. It was loud enough to wake the fallen from their graves. But the official part was not over yet. Once every heart had recovered from the sudden shock, the whole group moved off to the monument for the deportees, just outside the village. Those who thought that Monsieur P. had left the amplifier running, just to be sure, were wrong. This time he could not get the thing working at all. The crowd started to get a bit restless, but Monsieur P. had a solution: if the blooming thing would not work, we could beat it, by SINGING the Marseillaise! There are French politicians, who are adamant that foreigners and French should be able to sing and know the words of the Marseillaise. If these politicians had had their way, the performance would have been great. However, obviously they had not had their way, and the majority of those present hummed away, or (amongst others the mayor) kept their mouth shut.
Anyway, after this rather embarrassing intermezzo the mayor announced the venue of the vin d’honneur, and he also explained that a number of ex-combatants and/or resistance fighters would be presented with “Un diplôme d’honneur pour les vétérans de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale”. This had to be handled before the wine started to flow, and one of the “lucky” ones was Monsieur P. After this last eruption of the ceremonial part of the day, Monsieur P. said that he would like to say a few words. But instead of thanking Mayor and Government for this generous diploma, he complained about the fact that “Paris”, so many years after the events, could not come up with something better and more apppropriate than a shoddy piece of paper in flyer format. Every other word he used was “ridicule”. And I think, that most people present, including the Mayor, deep down in their heart agreed with what monsieur P. had to say that day.

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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