Noises off

Written by Simon Renfrew

A generation or two ago, when sizeable chunks of the globe were still defiantly and colonially pink, folk had more of an appetite for heroic fare. And movies based in the more far flung corners of the world invariably centered on stiff upper lipped types getting nervous, encircled and eventually speared by the locals - and usually began with a campfire conversation along the lines of ‘it’s quiet, too damn quiet’.

Happily, nos amis Francais are rather more welcoming, and the countryside calm a blessing  - rather than a prelude to fighting to the last man, eating weevil filled biscuits and writing that final letter to a childhood sweetheart. But it can take some getting used to, and you’ll notice it most when it’s broken. By geese, par example. Spring and autumn evenings bring waves of them overhead, squawking like a thousand rusty wheels before they descend into a nearby field for the night. Or summer weddings at the Marie, where the arriving convoys of cars will compete to blow their horns loudest. And then do the same thing as they leave.

Bells too - three times a day from the church in the nearby hamlet, or hung around the necks of the neighbouring farmer’s dogs as they saunter across the fields, the betraying tinkle driving your own pack mad. And other than the cries of the buzzards as they spot something small and furry (and subsequently unfortunate), that’s it. All rather better than a street full of over sensitive car alarms and the relentless rumble of your local A road, je croix.

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