Posted by: kathandroger | February 21, 2013

Little Lucien

IMG_0915He used to come around to see us most weeks. Lucien was tiny, about 5 foot tall, and always had a dangling wet fag hanging from his lips. He usually spoke with his mouth closed and it was a relief when he took his cigarette out and I could then understand a small proportion of what he was saying. But he was my main garden advisor. Lucien himself lived in a collection of caravans in a yard a few hundred yards away, with his very large younger wife and her parents, who must have been very very old. He himself was about seventy, and knarled and bent after many years of hard graft. Kath was always greeted with four wet nicotine stained kisses, two on each cheek, but she didn’t seem to mind when it was Lucien.  Boudie just loved him, and he reciprocated with mumbled French endearments. We often had a beer together him sitting on our steps outside the kitchen, or sometimes a coffee, always with as much sugar as liquid.He gave me gentle advice about the local crops and when to plant them, and he himself had a huge patch of land opposite his home which was his main occupation. He several times found me in our little patch of land and would crouch over like a supercharged human rotavator. His own little commune seemed to vary in number over the years, but he always had loads of fresh vegetables to feed all his dependents. His only help was his neighbour Guy, who is a bit mad and and needed constant supervision, but to watch the two of them labouring in the soil as we passed on our bicycles was always a pleasure, and always produced a cheery wave and mumbled encouragement.

Lucien died a few days ago after a major stroke. We will miss him terribly.

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