Do I Smell of Wood Smoke?

by | Feb 11, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Alain had been invited to the monthly gathering of the Irish music ensemble

France is a paradox of a country, with the sophistication of city culture in places such as Paris and Rennes, and the idyllic rural life of the countryside. The latter takes up most of the area of the country but only makes up around eighteen percent of the population.

The two cultures meet on two main occasions, the holidays, when urban France emigrates en masse to the country, and during protests when, as happened during my arrival in France, the countryside visits the city; usually in their tractors!


Yesterday, I sampled the life of rural France, in a small bar on the outskirts of Morlaix. Alain had been invited to the monthly gathering of the Irish music ensemble, where for one night only, one takes on the guise of the Emerald Isle. The evening consisted of instrumental music on three violins, guitar, pipes and bodhrán. The latter is a frame drum played vertically on the knee using a two ended stick resembling a bone. This was punctuated by sing-alongs to such classics as Molly Malone and Dirty Old Town.

The predominantly elderly crowd joined in enthusiastically, to the chorus of each one.

The night was rounded off with an invitation to one of the oldest houses in Plougonven, a fourteenth century manor house being renovated by a lovely Dutch couple.

I drank red wine for the first time in over a decade and thoroughly enjoyed myself. As Alain drove me home in his Nissan van with Stairway to Heaven blasting on the stereo, I thought an appropriate accompaniment to my current situation.

The highlight of the night was meeting Murilel and Nelly, my two companions for the evening. Two lovely ladies and residents of a couple of Plougonven’s several manor houses. The former lives in Mondésir/Monplaisir, previously mentioned in this blog. How appropriate!

Most of my day had been spent organising and editing Sesame Seed, and you’re not getting away without another helping. Here…

Tomorrow, I shall revisit the old manoir in the daytime…watch this space.


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