Legends from our own lunchtimes

Friday, April 13, 2012

Back to the future
La Ferté-Saint-Aubin

We are the first people from outside his family to stay at Jackie's place.  

He comes each day to open the shutters and tend the chickens and his vegetable garden which are a constantly changing feast, although presently it lies in wait for this year's planting as the seedlings mature in their hot boxes.

Over the course of the past few years we've had many a meal of the sort of tomatoes that one only reads about in story books, ,and a supply of lettuce that is as long as summer,  climbing beans and mushrooms and eggs which magically appear from the back of his old Peugeot, and now it seems we have become so ingratiated in his family that Celine's guest room is no longer good enough, we must stay in her father's house.

He hasn't actually lived here for a decade, and in stark contrast to his garden, nothing inside the house has changed for twice that time, it seems to be his personal attempt to coerce time into standing still.

Celine's room is as she left it, the living room and kitchen are as they were in the sixties when the house was built.  Apart from the calendars on the kitchen wall, and the posters from the toilet walls dating from the early eighties there is not a sign that the world has moved on.  There are no digital clocks blinking in the night, the microwave oven has been there I am sure, since before microwaves were even discovered.  It looks like a television set, although the television set looks like what someone who had never seen a television would imagine a television set might look like well into the future, if the future was in nineteen sixty-two.

And we are here, wandering down memory lane, trying to recognise each of the countries represented by Celine's little collection of dolls in national dress, still in their oval cellophane boxes, giggling at the lightshade with the dancing elephant motif, remembering that wallpaper in the living room with the alternating pink and yellow roses, making the most of it, before we have to return back to the future.


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