Sunday b****y Sunday

3 Mar 2019

For charade players the title is a film and a song. Although we are Anglican we had a catholic funeral service for my husband here in France, best solution, nearly the whole congregation was French and catholic, and the family coped very well, doing their 'own' thing for Papa later in the UK.

However, several people paid for masses to be said, and I go to mass on those Sundays. We have had many deaths in the town in the last 4 months, four people I knew in 10 days. Last week there was a big congregation, the whole family come when relatives are mentioned, so, many young people. Being a writer, the lives of these families intrigue me (uncharitable characters would say I was nosey).

As I walked home in brilliant sunshine someone ran up behind me 'Come to Lunch'. Great. She and I are past masters at doing things spur of the moment. They cannot be poor, but the house is just short of squalor - no heating, crumbling plaster, same oilcloth on table as 25 years ago. She has milked cows twice a day for 30 years. Now a son has taken over the tenancy she has Sunday evenings off! First one celebrated with coffee, cake and two hours chat in my warm kitchen. They have two sons and a daughter. The husband is a bore and a boar – we get on well, but if the subject is not agriculture or politics he goes to sleep. He treated the elder son as a stupid clot, so the boy (in his 20's) left for the States, no English, where he proved not to be stupid at all, now in Noumea, and all communication lost - his mother is very cut up, but can't say a thing. Second son had learning difficulties, but coped, spent 4 years in Switzerland as a relief milker, most enterprising. He's back, but will NOT live on the farm, his partner is 47, no hope of children, so, two sons, but nobody to bear their name.

The second 'case' is another lady recently widowed. When we came here they had the best delicatessen in town, and did huge official meals, 300+ people. He was rumoured to be avaricious, they did not have a holiday for 37 years. Then, one morning, she just could not get up, she had hit the buffers. They had to stop the business, and we met very often at 'do's' as we were all fond of dancing. She's nearly 80, very smart, and coping.

Back to Sunday – restaurants do a good trade here, families take Granny out. But old-fashioned English Sundays? The obligatory family roast, Mum's famous roast potatoes, her apple pie (many people were sick of apple pie) – bullying the kids into decent clothes and good behaviour. Tea with the Aunts (anybody keen on the Forsyte Saga?)

So, what's Sunday for you? Golf widow? Lawn mowing? Passing the baton with the kids if you are separated? Or lying in bed with the Sunday papers?

Dread, or delight?

The Gardener

A Moodscope member

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