Saturday 26 June 2021

Where the Wild Hollyhocks Grow.

I know where the wild Hollyhocks grow, so I also know this to be true; a young woman stood outside the church door yesterday afternoon.


Her back was turned to the road; she was reading the notice of opening days pinned to the large oak door at the front of the three steps that rise from the dusty square where the Pentanque players stand.


I could have told her that she would have more chance of playing a game of Petanque than participating in a service; the people of the village no longer believe in the ‘hereafter’ and the church is usually only open during the summer festival when it serves as a backstage area for the concerts that take place every evening around 7.


Statues of Mary, Joseph and Francis of Assisi look down at a coil of electrical cables, spot lights and half empty bottles of beer; the pews are stacked in the corner.


There is no priest, if she is lucky one will visit from the distant city , making his rounds of the heathens that live out here in the forest; the last time we saw him (it was a he) was for the funeral of Yvan. Everyone turned up for that.


Not because we thought it was time to pray, even though his unexpected death had shocked us all, but because we all owed him money and we felt guilty.


We sought guidance as to what to do with it.


The priest offered to collect it for essential repairs to the cracks in the wall of the Nave but despite his eloquence we chose to spend it on beer in the café and drink to Yvan’s health.

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