All in all it has been a strange week. It all began with my friends in America doing a very odd thing in electing a man with an orange face and decidedly odd hair to be their President. That would not be so bad if it were not for the even more decidedly odd and somewhat unpleasant views that he expressed during the election campaign. 

But I suppose that’s democracy for you. You give people a vote but you can’t be sure what they will do with it. Indeed in France the 1848 Revolution, sometimes known as the February Revolution (In the 18th and 19th Centuries the French had an awful lot of revolutions and hence the need to name them!). The February revolution was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France the revolutionary events ended the Orleans monarchy (1830–48) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic.

If you have been reading the blog you will recall that this is when they had protest banquets to plan the revolution.

Following the overthrow of King Louis Philippe in February, the elected government of the Second Republic ruled France. They started out with a radical government who decided that it would be a good and radical idea to extend the right to vote to all males. They were not quite so radical that they thought of including women!  By June 1848, the people of Paris had got a bit bored with this government and rose in insurrection, which became known as June Days Uprising – a bloody but unsuccessful rebellion by the Paris workers. 

This led to an election for a President of France. However, extending the right to vote to all males included the peasants and land workers in rural communities. Unfortunately this group was intensely conservative, heavily influenced by the Church and wanted a return to a monarchy. How ungrateful can you be!  On 2 December 1848, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected President of the Second Republic, largely on peasant support. 

The mistake they had made was clear four years later when Louis Napoleon suspended the elected assembly, establishing the Second French Empire and created a dictatorship which lasted until 1870. That is democracy for you.

Now, I don’t want to worry my friends and family in America but you might need to keep a close eye on your new President!

The cats have mentioned democracy a few times and think that we should extend voting rights to cats so they could outvote us 3-2. I mention that this is not a democracy and that Mrs. Parish runs a benign dictatorship and even I don’t have a vote!  Mrs. Parish likes to set the radio to come on in the mornings to wake us up at about 7am so I can get up to feed the cats at 7-30 sharp (and make a cup of tea). This feeding time is part of the contract with the cats. On Wednesday morning we had the news of the Presidential election. The radio has the French news on it so I had to concentrate to make sure I had heard right. On Thursday, I was woken with the song “So long Marianne” by Leonard Cohen. At first I thought I must be dreaming and then realised that sadly he had died.

The French news had this as their first news item and spent 4 or 5 minutes reporting the death. The French tend to do things with a bit more style than elsewhere. Anyway I was sad to hear this news as I have been a fan of Leonard Cohen since the late1960’s. He is of course with Bob Dylan my go to singers when I want to deter the moles. So in tribute to Leonard Cohen I went round the orchard singing a few Leonard Cohen songs. Not only paying my respects but also frightening the moles, who were keeping a low profile.

Today the week has culminated in the strange affair of the “Cheveux Blancs”. This means the white hairs and refers to all those over 65 who live in the Commune. The local Council provide a free meal for all those over 65. Last year we got invited only for the mayor to realise I was too young and she had to apologise. She said she would make sure we were invited this year as of course I reached 65 in March. Mrs. Parish is entitled to accompany me.

So, we were told to arrive promptly at the village “Salle des fetes” (village hall) at 12 noon. We arrived on time not knowing quite what to expect.  Well there were about 40 people there and we all had to shake hands or kiss. It was almost like a parlour game, making sure you had met everyone. We went into the hall and took our places for the meal. There were menus at each place and this showed that we would have a Kir and an amuse bouche. This was followed by what appeared to be a choice of starters (soup and a terrine of fish). Followed by a beef carbonnade and then cheese and a choice of desserts (a pear pudding or panacotta). Well that is what we thought; in fact they weren’t choices but all part of the meal!!

Songs at the Cheveux Blancs

The meal was fantastic and they kept coming round with seconds, although it was all we could do to eat the meal. With each course there was a different wine and at least I could manage second helpings of wine. During pauses between courses a microphone was passed round and some of those attending sang French songs. One elderly woman took a book of songs out of her handbag. It was an exercise book with hand written songs. It was almost as old as she was and was kept together with bits of sellotape and was brown and torn at the edges. But she was determined to sing her songs and had a remarkably clear voice.

Well we arrived at 12 noon and left 5 hours later! We are now at home recovering. We may not need to eat for several days. It was a great afternoon and shows once again that France celebrates with food and treats its white haired citizens with appropriate respect. As the only English people there we were welcomed with enthusiasm and friendship.

The cats have been in a funny mood all week and seem to have spent a lot of time in boxes. I am not sure why cats like boxes but our cats make straight for an empty box and it makes for a good cat photos for the blog.

Minou in a box and Moggie on a box

We have also had a clear evening tonight and so we have been out watching the super moon and trying to get a decent photo. The night sky here is very clear and there is little light pollution so the views were good.

Super moon from our garden

It has been an interesting week and a long day. I think I may need a small drop of the hard stuff, just to help me relax.

Bonne semaine