Smile at the rising sun…

I’ve run out of Monday songs. It was bound to happen.

So, I’ve decided to go with the most cheerful songs I can find to give you a lift on a Monday Morning, so you can feel that Much Love Monday vibe.

Today, it’s my favourite happy song of all, Three Little Birds. Damn that Will Smith for nearly ruining it in I am Legend. I hate movies where dogs die, even though you know it’s not real. In fact, it’s not just dogs. To me, Chucky is not a horror film, Bambi, however… never even get past the opening scenes. Charlotte’s Web? God no. Even though Wilbur is saved, it’s torture. Just torture. And Watership Down? I’m still traumatised. Just the first few notes of Bright Eyes get me all teary.

Anyway, here’s Bob Marley for you:

If Bob Marley’s words don’t make you feel better, when they can make the last man on earth – surrounded by zombies – feel better, then there’s no hope for you.

So what am I Much Loving?

Loving the sunshine. Méteo France say it might snow. I say Bah. I’m not planting my tomatoes out just yet, though.

Loving cute little love letters from a certain little boy to a certain little girl. Ah, that first love is the sweetest of all.

Loving our day trip out to Aubeterre-sur-Dronne yesterday. Personally, I think it’s not a patch on Brantome, which is delightful, if very touristy – but deservedly so. Aubeterre was lovely though. Brantome is SO lovely it hurts me. Aubeterre has this amazing troglodyte church in the cliff face – completely amazing. We had a picnic on the banks of the Dronne. Not loving the fact that I thought it was the first weekend in each month that is the ‘journée du patrimoine’ – heritage day when you can get in certain places for free. Turns out that’s next weekend. The first of April doesn’t count. Oh well. Dad, not so loving the church in the cave. Me, Steve and Jake, a bit more so. What was totally fabulous though was me bossing the sat nav into going past Villebois Lavalette which my Dad hadn’t seen before and is totally cool. In fact, one of the pictures on Google Earth of V-L is Steve’s. He is very impressed with himself.

Villebois-Lavalette is this fortified castle and church (and their subsequent village, down the hill a bit) on the top of a rocky promontory. It’s pretty and small and kind of a bit (well, in that it’s on a hill) like Carcassonne, though obviously not grand or magnificent.

We’d walked down past the church, which was sending its well-dressed parishioners out into the village with little bunches of a bush. I’d realised it was Palm Sunday by that point, but it still didn’t account for the hundreds of people milling about – very, very unusual for France. The covered market square was almost full and there was an actual queue. Of French people! On a Sunday! Who’d have believed it? Certainly not me. I’m not used to a busy France. In fact, when we got to Aubeterre, that was much more like it, because there was hardly a soul to be seen apart from a raft of tourists of the Belgian/Dutch/English and even Spanish persuasion.

But as soon as I saw this strange triangular biscuit, I knew instantly. It’s the cornuelle – a kind of biscuit. It’s a triangle with kind of little hundreds-and-thousands on it. I believe, and I’ve been wrong before, that it symbolises the Trinity. Or that they had some biscuit dough left and it made a good shape. I don’t know. I don’t know what the pink and white hundreds-and-thousands symbolise though. That God’s got a sweet tooth?

This photograph is not of an actual biscuit, but of a sign. They aren’t THAT big. Whilst they don’t appeal to me – I’m not a fan of aniseed – there was a queue at least thirty people deep waiting for their cornuelle. I’m not sure it’s in the spirit of Lent, eating a biscuit, but there you go.

I still haven’t got to the bottom of why the parishioners were carrying branches of a bush about. It didn’t look anything like palm. And that was the whole point of Palm Sunday. It wasn’t like Jesus went to a garden centre and took some cuttings of a nice box bush. The palms were symbolic. I don’t know what box is symbolic of. Apparently, box is used all over Europe. I’ve taken this information off Wikipedia which says ‘In Great Britain, they use pussy willow…’

Well I never.

I never had a pussy willow palm. I’ve still got one or two palm crosses and they better be made out of palm. At least a willow is a symbol of tears, maybe. A pussy willow – I’m not even sure what that’s a symbol of. I’m disappointed in Wikipedia. I normally take their word for stuff.

But besides seeing well-dressed ladies and gentlemen carrying about shrubs, and queues of people waiting for triangular biscuits, we also happened upon a car-boot sale. I’ve not had the luck to go to that many car boot sales in France. Indeed, the one I did this time last year was the first I’d been to, and the amount of outrageous tat. I was quite prepared. But the very first stall threw me.

You’ll see why from the photograph I took. I think the guy was a bit alarmed. I tried to do it sneakily, but oh my word, I had to have a picture. Just be glad I had no pennies or I’d have bought them.

Nana AND Julio… in one box. It doesn’t bear thinking about. I saw Julio’s autobiography for sale on another stall – the aptly titled Between heaven and hell. God I love France. We saw ancient tills, loads of jigsaws stuck down onto a board and then framed, several pieces of ‘art’ that – seriously – were possibly done by a child of about six. And I bought a present for my friend Verity, which I can’t post details of yet because I know she reads this sometimes and I can’t give the game away. Needless to say it cost me one euro and it SO trumps her tea-pot with the cat. Sorry Verity, but it just does. And when you see it, you’ll know why. Any car boot where you can find Julio memorabilia throughout is a boot sale for me.

Much Love to French vide greniers and bric-a-bracs, because they seem to have hoarded everything my relatives have ever thrown away. I distinctly remember, for instance, doing a nail and thread picture, where you bang some nails into a piece of board in a pattern, then wind some string or thread round it. I could have bought several of these today. Macramé plant pot hangers, strange Spanish memorabilia (I think a lot of the French also went to Spain and came back with a sombrero and a straw donkey, judging from today’s offerings). I’m sure, in among the junk and the excitingly kitsch ‘vintage’ products, there was something of great worth. I might have found it, with my one euro gift.

So, Much Love France, Much Love springtime. Much Love chaenomeles. Much Love pink shutters. Much Love cheap gorgeous storm lanterns.

Now for Pam’s Poetry Corner…

Today I’ve picked Gerard Manley Hopkins – one of my favourite poets – and one of my favourite of his poems. It’s partly because this spring has got into my soul and it’s marvellous. Spring can make me cry it’s so very, very beautiful. Not only that, but the winter is behind, the year is yet to unfold, everything is fresh and new and clean again. Everything is alert and awake. So here’s a little bit of loveliness…

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.


All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.



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3 thoughts on “Smile at the rising sun…

    1. We do the same thing with Palm, but I’ve not found a reason why the French use box (or why they think we brits use pussy willow!) other than it was convenient… we do the ash thing too with last year’s palm.

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