I have been watching 'A Horseman riding by' TV series on books by Delderfield. An illiterate poacher's wife 'tells' the future by cards at the local fete. She sees something awful which she cannot explain. It is just before the start of WW1.
If a soothsayer could have 'seen' me now, a widow in her 80's, in a too large house in a provincial French town, listening to the third awful storm in a row (Dennis this one) and wondering how to find a roofer, it would have seemed outrageous. There may be people – doctors, dentists perhaps who knew what they wanted to do, and have been able to follow their chosen profession throughout their lives. Many must have had my 'fate', a roller-coaster, where you ride the waves and weather the next storm. I am writing this by default, no insult to 'Moodscope', because I have three projects, all in French, not strong enough, and my tapping fingers are restless.
In this area many people have hardly moved from where they, their parents, and grand-parents were born. Great friends are local farmers; she has milked cows twice a day for 35 years. A son has taken over the tenancy, and she has Sunday evenings 'off'. I sowed seeds of rebellion once, took them off to Devon (they had to lash out on relief milkers) and she rapidly got a taste for country house and garden visiting. Back in France she expressed a wish to visit superb properties in the locality; husband was not having it, end of story. I do wonder, should he die first, whether she will have the energy and will to 'make up for lost time'. She is a very devout catholic, but rather narrow minded. At lunch in their gloomy house another great friend, a Franciscan monk/priest was there. He quietly, but firmly, corrected her on the pretty awful things she was saying about Jews and Moslems, pointing out that she was incorrect and racist.
My husband and one of my sons worked for world-renowned companies. If you had started with them 60 years ago you could have confidently expected to 'rise through the ranks' according to your ability, retire with a suitable present and live on a good pension. They were the 'good old days' (??) before depressions, recessions, redundancy, hostile take-overs and, often now, awful financial management (recently shown in Thomas Cook).
Having got through the war, my husband having got his 'matriculation' at a good Grammar school, he wanted to be a farmer. His mother pleaded, I think, with him, to go to college and get a qualification to give him a wider choice. I have just written his life story for the College Magazine, even surprising myself along the way. Life was often Micawber-ish (something will turn up). Things did, and we got good at grabbing opportunities, despite dire warnings about the risks and insecurity. So, che sera sera, still. Just listened to Doris Day singing the song. 'The future's not ours to see'. Has it been, for anybody?
A Moodscope member.
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