Pictorial blethers

By blethers

Saying goodbye ...

I'm sure my city friends think of us as living in the boondocks - not able to access the cultural input found in the city (except when there's a plague on) and meeting only people like ourselves (though with a fair scattering of retirees and others from England and similarly exotic locations). To an extent that's true, and even after living here for 47 years I find myself remembering nights out listening to the SNO play, or going to a big cinema to watch a new film, remembering also the variety of children I used to teach and the cultures they represented. 

But this morning, in the midge-filled car park of our church, it was interesting to think of what this photo represents. It's a moment of farewell - though we all hope it's more of an au revoir - to the man in the orange puffa jacket. No, it wasn't cold, but Yaro is from Burkino Faso and even after being here for over a year he can't think of our summer weather as being warm. Yaro has been a regular visitor for more years than I can remember, arriving just before Christmas and going home to Burkino Faso after Easter. He comes to see his old friend Richard, who worked in Africa in his young days, and last year he was marooned by the arrival of Covid. Now he's able to go home to see his family and his cows, and it'll be more than a year till he's able to return. Apparently the paperwork for these stays is daunting.

Another interesting, cosmopolitan feature of this conversation was that it was conducted in a mélange of French and English. Not only does Yaro speak French, with a strong African accent, as well as English - the man beside him is French, with a strong Southern accent. He recently came to live here, marrying a former colleague of mine, and we were all talking in whatever language seemed best to convey the moment ... which seemed to me wonderfully unexpected outside a small Episcopal church in the diocese of Argyll!

As you can tell, I'm in a better mood than yesterday's. The jolly morning helped - church always ends up providing more than the sum of its parts, so to speak - followed by coffee with my bestie. In the afternoon I attacked the remains of the bluebells in my garden: I love them when they're in flower, but they look very straggly afterwords. Some dandelions were howked out, and some long grass disposed of. Instant virtue. I even went into the loft to see what I shall have to do when Himself has finished his tidying ...

So: no walk, but toil instead. And then a wee gin and tonic in the sunshine before dinner ... and life felt rather more reasonable again.

Isn't Fergus Walsh, the BBC medical correspondent, very clear and sensible? Maybe he could run the government ...

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