Posted by: kathandroger | July 14, 2019

The Black Prince….and Harvest Time.

Life is pretty easy here. The days are long, we are not constrained by the hackles of employment, and  there is a temptation to do little and fall into a rut of routine. So when several months ago a friend was looking for someone who could speak a little French to take part in a local play, it was time to get out of the comfort zone and do something different. The event was a “Visite Nocturne” at Preuilly sur Claise, a dusk presentation in the little town half an hour away, and consisted of several scenes depicting life there at differing times over the past several hundred years. I was to play the Black Prince during the Hundred Years War in France.

I hated history at school, but now find it fascinating. Especially concerning the relationship between our adopted country and the land of our birth. The Hundred Years War lasted longer than that, and was very intermittent, but at one stage there was a conflict between the King of England’s son and the leader of the French Army, the “Connetable de France”. His name was Bertrand de Guesclin, and he and I , the Black Prince, have a contretemps about the probabilities of our forthcoming combats. All this with me in full costume, including crown and big sword, standing high above the audience on the ramparts of an old castle in the town, and shouting at my adversary below. I stood there before the performance thinking how the hell did I end up doing this in a foreign country, not really knowing what I was saying, with a crowd of several hundred below me. Anyway all went well apart from some microphone malfunction, and although our performance did not start until about 11.30pm, the audience remained, perhaps transfixed by the strange Englishman shouting his accented threats from above them!

Ours was only a one of several performance we had been rehearsing over some weeks. There were also some very good Medieval musicians,IMG_0867 and the locations included the magnificent church in the town,IMG_0869 the entrance guarded by make believe ancient gendarmes; and they were fairly ancient! IMG_0866All in all a lot of fun, and I look forward to the next performance in August.

Sadly, this event contrasted badly with out little production in the local grottoes in St Remy. Our play here had been rehearsed, and was due to open a couple of days ago. It was cancelled due to lack of an audience! A lesson in the fact that any play needs to be well publicised beforehand.

Back to real life, and the Harvest here is in full swing.IMG_0870 It always amazes me at how quickly the fields are cleared of the crops, and the long hours the farmers spend in their labours. The air is full of the scent of harvested wheat and barely, and the combine harvesters throwing out clouds of dust behind them. The Maize remains, of course,  being irrigated by these great big reels of hose which seem to be everywhere.IMG_0871 Water is in short supply here, and it annoys me when most of it seems to be sprayed onto the roads between the crops, especially when I am in my open top car and have to wait for the storm to pass!

Wimbledon tennis is almost done, but we are still in the throes of the Tour de France. Today a Frenchman is in the lead, a rare event, but I would love to see him win. It still means a lot to the French, and will do wonders for morale if he can hold on. Time will tell.


Responses

  1. Roger… your performance, as you describe it…. reminds me of this famous Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene:

    “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”
    Enjoy….

    • Brilliant! My words are different but it looks the same!!
      Come and see us on 3rd August.

      • Here you are Roger….
        the French translation:
        “Votre mère était un hamster, et votre père sentait les baies de sureau!”

        Slip it in on the 3rd!

  2. You could report people irrigating the road. It is technically illegal, and when some river valleys are forbidden from irrigating due to lack of water, probably galling to certain rival farmers. Glad the performance went off well.

    • Thanks, Susan. The problem with thr road waterers is that I never know whose farm it is.


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