Sunday, 1 July 2018

Le Doyen?


                                 

Carrying on from yesterday's posting, it made me think back to my other neighbours from when we first moved here.

Apart from Jeaninne and Odette, who lived next door (middle house above), these were the others; all of whom are deceased, other than two of the couples who have moved away to our nearest small town.

Our little hamlet consists of two interconnecting tiny 'settlements'. Ours has three houses, the other has four.

In our 'settlement' (lieu dit), there was us and Jeaninne and Odette, with the third house only being occupied for only a few weeks in the year (house on left above). M. Week (pronounced Vek) was a German teacher from Paris, and his holidays were spent here with his ageing mother. I believe his mother loved it here, but M. Week prefered the bright lights of Gay Paree. He always drove down from Paris, but when here he travelled by Mobylette. I never got to know either him or his Maman; they were never here long enough..

The other 'settlement' is built around the road, and has an altogether different atmosphere. Two of the houses being so close (either side of the road) that lumps are often knocked out of their stone walls by passing lorries, military vehicles, etc.

                                    

One of the houses (on the right above) was lived in by an elderly lady and her brain-damaged son. La Sidonie (as she was known) was a rather sour-faced lady, who never really spoke to anyone. Her home was primitive, and she lived a very meagre lifestyle. She had no visible signs of support so I imagine she survived on basic State assistance. Poor Roland, the son, had been born with some genetic problem, and had been left permanently damaged. He would stand at that window all day long, rocking too and fro, and smiling. I always waved as I went by, and I think it made his day.

The house opposite was always empty (on the left above); it was eventually bought by a quiet couple, who, now that they can no longer cope, have just moved into a local retirement home.

Further down the road is a semi-derelict house that was lived in by an ex-Mayor of the village, and his wife. They were a very pleasant couple, and he officiated over the public phone box, which was situated in a tiny wooden shed by the side of his house. He never had a clue how much to charge for our calls. The phone box is happily long gone, as people now have their own. I remember his shotgun being run over after he'd lent it up against the back of a tractor. The barrels were very bent, but he simply bent them back again, and continued to use it. He was that sort of guy!

Opposite the derelict house is where the new Holiday Complex, Pool, and Restaurant is to be built. That house was lived-in until a few years ago by a couple who bred Geese for foie gras etc. They were a pair of old-time grumpies, and saw everything as negative. There's always someone who likes to cause conflict; thankfully they too have now gone.

Of all those residents from way back, there's only me left.

Oh how our tiny hamlet has changed over the years, from quiet haven of peace to what it's become today.



39 comments:

  1. That was lovely, Cro; letting myself get lost in some French hamlet with people now largely dead. When I was little my mother told me that as long as we remember the dead they aren't really dead. Which sounds comforting at first; till you realize that there will be a time when those who remember you will be dead too. Then what? Then you ARE dead. Still, not everyone can be a Mozart or Beethoven remembered forever.

    "Of all those residents from way back, there's only me left." Now you have me worried.

    U

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    1. I'm worried too! It is said that the last people to remember you, are your grandchildren. So always be nice to them.

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    2. U. When I delete all of Chloe's comments, any replies are deleted at the same time, so best not to comment. Sorry.

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    3. That's ok, Cro. I understand. As I hope she does.

      U

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    4. Oh Miss Ursula what's happening to you ? You're losIng your personality ?

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    5. No need to worry, Miss Chloe. My personality and I are very fond of each other and firmly attached.

      U

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  2. Interesting stories about your little hamlet's past; a good setting for a romantic novel I think.

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    1. The setting would be good, but not necessarily the people. Some have been wonderful; others you really wouldn't want to know.

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  3. Young people do not want to live in little hamlet. They all move into the big cities and when the parents pass away the house is left to fall. It happens here.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Oh, and by the way, ”white rabbit" :)
      X

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    2. Sadly none of the children now wish to carry on with the family farms. In past times it was 'automatic'. What will happen to all these farms; I have no idea.

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    3. I did remember to say White Rabbit. Another good month in prospect!

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  4. I still can't believe they are going to build a holiday complex in your hamlet. It's so bizarre.

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    1. It is almost criminal. He has now started building the foundations for the 'containers'. He probably intends having them ready for 2019.

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  5. Great post Cro!
    The map and the story bring the little hamlet to life. I read Sue's comment and thought you could mark the site of the holiday park with a red X and we could see how it will impact on the rest of the residents.
    Alphie

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    1. The little drawing shows just our 3 house part of the whole hamlet. The holiday complex will really be a part of the other bit, and will be positioned just behind the middle house in the drawing. You can imagine why we are all so upset.

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  6. Loved hearing all about your little hamlet and it's previous residents. All good things come to an end-unfortunately they call it 'progress'! I feel sad for you and hope it's not going to be as bad as you think it is.

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    1. I think it may be worse. We are prepared for that anyway.

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  7. Here from some reason many young people come to live and build their homes near the parents, (not my children),may be it is because the high prices of town's apartments.

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    1. Life away from city centres is much better; it's all a question of finding work.

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  8. I got a true sense of your Hamlet in times past... thanks for that Cro...this holiday complex sounds a total nightmare especially as it is so close. I hope it falls flat on it's face and doesn't end up frequented by louts!

    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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    1. Who do you think would rent a buried shipping container for their holidays? I think 'louts' might be about right.

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    2. Corbynites from Hackney and Islington. Holidays in old shipping containers are very much "in" with Brits.

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  9. The house on the corner reminds me of a few around here. Roads were made for slower traffic back then. I suppose this one widened from a farm track. Would have been a donkey track here
    You are the hamlet historian, complete with drawings and maps.

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    1. Yes, those houses would have been built when Oxen drawn carts were the norm. I believe there is a clause built into their 'house deeds' that walls can be knocked down to widen.

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  10. Growing up in an area where sons in the 1940s and 50s were very much expected to carry on the family farm I am pleased that this is no longer the case and children can go off and do as they please with the blessing of the family.

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    1. Farms in Norfolk probably amalgamate; here they tend to be sold to foreigners for raising horses, but this very much depends on them having a beautiful farmhouse etc. If they don't, they fall into disrepair, and the land eventually returns to woodland. The circle is joined.

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  11. Things change don't they Cro - I suppose that is the very nature of life. It very much looks as though the field behind my bungalow is to be built on. At present it is a wheat field. But no doubt I shall have little to worry about.

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    1. There's building and building. There is a small wooden cabin that was built nearby recently, and they cause no trouble at all. I can't imagine the holiday complex being the same.

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  12. Of course it had to happen, and you bear witness. And participated. And benefited. You know, the whole testament.

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    1. Very observant Joanne; such is la vie

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  13. I think you should have at least a shop selling baguettes. The local mayor could try for Le Tour to come through. In the Yorkshire Dales they've never looked back since the race started up there.

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    1. Our village doesn't even have ONE shop. It's the back of beyond here!

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  14. For many years I stayed with friends who lived in a lieu dit of three houses in the Poitou Charante. Sadly due to ill health they sold it. With the lack of any sort of public transport in many such rural areas and with many lieu dit being far from the nearest place of any significance it's hard to see how many will survive except as maisons secondaire.

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    1. That sadly is the case. There are a few still hanging on (mostly computer based workers), but otherwise there is nothing for them. Lovely countryside; but not much else.

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  15. Beautiful drawing of your street.
    I live in a city that has grown too big for me. I wish they would slow down.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I'm wondering if the anonymity of city life wouldn't suit me again. In a few years time we may over-winter back in the UK again.

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