Dancing with Ghosts

Orleans- Dance with me

I know Orleans may be consider a bit of a naff 1970’s song but I am unashamed to say, I like it. The harmonies are great and they did play Woodstock so that makes them cool.

Our time in France has come to an end for another year. It has been marked by unreliable weather and biting things that seem to find my crutch and armpits comfortable homes. But, it will be mostly remembered as the first year when all the grandchildren plus four out of five of our daughters came to visit. It is hard to explain the joy that brings. Without being maudlin, I have to accept as my seventieth year approaches the number of summers in France I have left are limited. Which makes each summer more precious and something to be savoured.

Now, the house is all closed up and everything stored away until next year. We awoke this morning in Newcastle and I have to go and have a haircut as I look like a hippie at the end of the Glastonbury Festival. I haven’t stepped on the bathroom scales yet but I know all those morning croissants come with a price tag and it’s soup for the next month.

This week blog features an additional musical influence,  George Smith and The Hicksville Swing Band. To see the band: click here

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They played at the Friday night market in Beauville a couple of weeks ago and Lynda and I, along with friends Nicky and Helen danced the night away. Most cover bands annoy me, they usually ruin songs I love but this band were different and a couple of their numbers were even better than the original (or was that the wine?).

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View from the Jardin des Indians

Beauville is a place well worth a visit. It is steeped in history, it switched sides during the 100 Years War from English to French and when once threatened by the Black Death the villagers prayed to St Roch and the village was spared. They still give thanks every year with a special mass and feast to thank the saint.

One of the stranger stories is associated with the Jardin des Indians (a small park at the end of the village). It takes its name from an event in 1892 when a three members of the Osage tribe of Native Americans were stranded in France. They had been part of a Wild West Show that ran out of money.

The people of Beauville raised funds for them and enabled then to return home. This led to regular visits by the Osage people. In 1992 park land was dedicated by the local town council as belonging to the Chickasaw Nation (Osage Tribe is part of the Chickasaw Nation).

Dancing with Ghosts

 

They are the ghosts in the shadows of an ancient landscape

They watch from behind the heavy arched Bastide walls

They watch the dancers In the moonlight cast of the bell tower

 

They watch a scene that is little changed in six hundred years

They danced when the siege ended and the town became French

They danced to honour St Roch who saved them from the plague

 

They danced when the harvest was secure and the larders were full

They danced when the Bastille fell and the revolution swept south

They danced to the tunes of the travelling troubadours

 

They danced when the weary returned from the battlefields of Flanders

They danced when the Germans retreated across broken bridges

They danced to the rhythms of the Osage drums

 

We dance as our grandchildren swirl around our legs

We dance to the saxophone, the guitar and the stomp of feet

We dance because we still can and until we can no longer

 

© Jeff Price September 2017

 

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