If Heineken made a year….it wouldn’t be this one



The cold but radiantly sunny morning found me filled with a sense of purpose as I motored along peaceful winding lanes towards an isolated house in the countryside on a mission of mercy. Once inside that house, through some simple manipulations, I was to bring warmth and internet access to where there was currently neither, which the zeitgeist declares to be as far beyond the pale as one can be beyond whatever a pale may be, in order that a group of New Year revelers, who were simultaneously wending their way to that very house in which they were to celebrate the dawn of a brand new year. would enjoy these celebrations in the warmth and be able to share endless amusing pictures of their warm and inebriated selves with an assumedly expectant worldwide audience which popular dullness is now assumed to be enshrined within the Declaration of the Rights of Man. On arrival at the house, entry dictated the collection of a key which was held by an acquaintance of the owners, let us call her Marie, and it was my fleeting encounter with the said Marie and her menagerie that for a moment made me feel as if I had escaped the tensions of wretched 2016 and entered the delightful realm of a latter day Madame Doolittle, the complete antithesis to this nearly exhausted year. My approach to the land of Dolittle was greeted with a less than threatening alarum of geese and dogs led by a delightful, honey coloured retriever. However charming geese and country dogs may appear from the other side of a gate I thought it wise to wait for the mistress of these sentinels to appear before attempting to enter this land which was apparently ruled by the animals. Even on this cold sunny day the windows of the south facing side of the house were all thrown open allowing the building to inhale the fresh bright air and to surprisingly exhale, from a ground floor window, the top section of a round lady with a round, ruddy, smiling face on top of which was a pink knitted hat like a tea cosy. “Brioche” she cried, making me believe for a moment that she had mistaken me for a peripatetic baker only to be instantly disabused of my mistake by a qualified attempt at obedience by the dog whose name I now knew. On my first appraisal of the grounds and animal stock I had missed the prettiest brown and cream goat that was obediently standing next to the window through which half of Marie protruded. I say standing, but this goat was posing. It would be true to say that the prettiness of Marie is not outwardly evident but if jollity and kindness are elements of prettiness then she is a beauty. This is not a farm or a small holding; this is a home. A home where milk and cheese come from the goats, meat and eggs from the geese and chickens, the ground, although not perfectly ordered and trimmed, yields vegetables whilst the trees bear fruit. Not an Eden but a place that affords a kinder view of mankind than that which has festered in my mind this year. It may well be that this view of mine is that of an ageing man turning his back on a world that daily becomes more unreasonable and unreasoning ….and I’m happy with that.



About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2016, Digital photography, Dogs, Eggs, Excellence, Expectation, France, French countryside, harmony, Humour, lifestyle, New Year, Poultry, Uncategorized, Vendee, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to If Heineken made a year….it wouldn’t be this one

  1. Mad Dog says:

    It all sounds idyllic. Happy New Year Roger!

  2. Michelle says:

    Happy new year, Roger.

  3. ghetran says:

    Lovely. Happy New Year! 😉

  4. Ardys says:

    Feeling much the same Roger. You have created in my mind a world that can exist beyond the every day annoyances. Very best wishes for 2017–for all of us!

  5. Eha says:

    The very heading of your post, and one rather applicable to me, made me remember why visiting you and having lunch with you and yours before I depart across ‘that’ river has forever been on my socalled ‘bucket list’ 🙂 !! This coming year methinks there is no choice but to turn one’s back to the world to escape its inexplicable stupidities and cruelties and just hope for the impossible: that at least some of the ‘checks and balances’ will have us here this time next year to wish each other a good year to cone . . . . with lots of love and thanks for the twelvemonths’ just past . . .

  6. I love the idea of the windows thrown open to the sun, here we are about to begin the slide down into winter I think – opening windows is a dream. Did you get the internet set up? c

    • It’s amazing to see all the houses with south facing windows thrown open on any morning, unless it’s raining. There’s no fear of fresh air here and central heating is a relatively new innovation…like telephones which arrived in the late 70’s. The duvets are also hung over the window sill to breath some fresh air. We haven’t reached this point of integration and, as our house is around 12C when I go down in the morning to light the fire, throwing open windows is not on the cards. …and yes, internet is now working….in fact it was a friend’s house who rents it out for holidays etc and I just had to manipulate the router. Have a good New Year’s Ever and an even better 2017:)

  7. What a lovely escape. May next year be one we don’t wish to hasten through.

  8. lulu says:

    Ah, it’s the simple things that make life such a pleasure. Let’s hope for many of those in the upcoming new year.

  9. Such a great story as II see through your eyes! I can just imagine the glory of your day. Also I know now after reading you tale why you showed the image of a path..is it the path least traveled? 💖

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    I like your view,Roger. It’s on that I thoroughly enjoy. I hope that 2017 brings you and your family great joy, good health, and prosperity.

  11. Happy New Year, Roger!

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