"Try anything in life once except incest and folk dancing." These words are attributed to none other than one of my heroes - Oscar Wilde. I suspect that a survey of British folk would reveal the view that folk dancing equated to Morris Dancing. A further survey might reveal a certain element of sniggering and derision as if Morris dancing was a form of train-spotting on acid. Please let me assure any train spotting dancers that this is not my own view. (I was most relieved last week to stop the car near at a railway crossing and chance upon a French train spotter complete with notebook and camera). Returning to the dancing, the French have a completely different view. It is neither eccentric, comic nor quaint. It is the living manifestation of a shared tradition which is rooted in the soil of the soul. Readers will have noted my comments on the relative carelessness with which buildings and bones are treated. This is because France is not a museum. It is a land of living tradition and pride. Old stuff may fall down - this is the nature of time - but love of community and patrimoine is constantly renewed and handed on. France is a country of French people. Any one can enter but it's not a theme park. The dancers are not entertainers, they are professeurs of pride.
When I first arrived I used to study some odd looking knives in the Intermarché. I thought it was a very blunt peeling knife. Soon enough Gilles explained to me that it was an oyster knife. OK, my experience of shell fish was the whelk and cockle stall at Southend and the best thing about these shell fish was that they didn't have shells. Next time at the shop I bought knives and 6 oysters. Once I had stopped the bleeding, the oysters were ok. You have been warned. Hold the mollusc in a towel or chain mail gauntlet. I'm told that a scarred palm is a rite of passage.
Emma thinx: If the fall didn't kill you be proud of your reflexes.