Living here in my tiny quiet village , I am a witness to a passing era. On all sides of our house we have neighbours 'd'un certain age' who have seen good times and bad and have lived simple healthy lives.
Unwittingly, in their everyday life, they effortlessly create daily vignettes that glossy magazines would be proud to display.
When these dear souls leave their homes, for whatever reason, there are some essential elements of French rural life that will disappear forever.
This generation finds it normal to spend hours in their potager, not because it's fashionable, or healthy but because that is where their vegetables come from. Our closest neighbours harvest 1000 kilos of potatoes each year - just for the two of them.
They keep rabbits in hutches, not because their grandchildren want to come and cuddle them, but because rabbit is flavoursome and lean meat.
The sound of a rooster crowing in the morning is familiar, and reminds us that the best eggs come from chickens who wander around freely all day, and lay their eggs where they feel safe.
Bees are kept to pollinate the fruit trees, and the village bee keeper is allowed into neighbours gardens to keep an eye on his hives.
If so much fruit is produced, it's not only to eat raw, to put into tarts and jams. A lot is also put aside for the bouilleur de cru, who goes from house to house in the winter, a mobile distillery who'll turn the excess fruit into delicious eau de vie, to be packed away with care in the cave a vin.
I sometimes wonder who, in twenty years time, will still think it's worthwhile to do all this. There will be some of course, but I don't think there'll ever be another generation who'll achieve the same effect in such a nonchalant manner.
This post is linked to the June French Obsession Party