I haven’t been keeping very up to date recently through illness but always a momentous and sad occasion is enough to put everything into perspective. To learn of the death of a very amazing 94 year old farmer who lived near the mill where we have holidayed for years, part of another generation and era, part of the French Resistance, a small farmer in a wonderful countryside, a farm that will not be carried on, has made me sad that he didn;t suffer but even sadder for the rest of us that this really is the end of an era. Parents flying out for the funeral, it is just too difficult for me to do so. Email sent late last night to be passed on:
Possibly over the top but having been woken by F I have been lying here thinking about Rene, about how he always seemed to appreciate our visits so much yet how he never seemed to appreciate quite how much he gave us in return – not just the stream of home grown produce but more the glimpse into another lifestyle, another time, and such a kind and wonderful person – I just always wished I could speak better French or offer more than the occasional visit. So I have tried to put something into words (probably too heartfelt, hopefully reasonably translated although I may have got it wrong or misinterpreted in places) that could perhaps be passed on if there is an appropriate moment. If not I will send it in a card for afterwards.
Safe journey and sending all our love and then some
Je suis honoré et heureux d’avoir connu Rene depuis que je suis enfant, lui et Nini ont et auront toujours demeurer une partie importante de ma vie et je suis tellement heureuse que mes enfants ont eu l’occasion de connaître et de s’en rappeler. Il a été tellement partie de notre temps en France encore tellement plus; un tranquillement constante nous rappelle cette et d’humble courage, une telle expérience, ayant vécu et vu et fait beaucoup. Une telle parle doucement, douce, gentille et humble, et pourtant solide et fière, avec une étincelle dans ses yeux, généreuse toujours. Nous n’avons jamais quitté le verger les mains vides, toujours laden avec homegrown dons, même âgés de 94 : un vrai reflet de sa rusticité, esprit incroyable et le goût pour la vie. Il sera toujours une source d’inspiration pour moi et c’est avec une grande tristesse que nous lui souhaitons un dernier adieu plutôt que jusqu’à la prochaine fois. Il manquera beaucoup à tant de gens et nos pensées sont avec Jeanette et Michel et toute la famille. L’envoi de notre amour et de pensées, grosses bises, S, J, M, H et F xxxxx
I feel honoured and blessed to have known Rene since I was a child, he and Nini have and always will remain an important part of my life and I am so glad that my children have had the opportunity to know and remember them. He was so much a part of our times in France yet so much more; a quietly constant and humbling reminder of such fortitude, such experience, having lived through and seen and done so much. Such a softly spoken, gentle, kind and humble man, yet strong and proud, with a twinkle in his eye, generous always. We never left Le Verger empty handed, always laden with homegrown gifts, even aged 94: a true reflection of his hardiness, incredible spirit and zest for life. He will always be an inspiration to me and it is with great sadness that we wish him a final goodbye rather than until the next time. He will be sorely missed by so many and our thoughts are with Jeanette et Michel et toute la famille. Sending all our love and thoughts, grosses bises xxxxx