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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NEW FRENCH FRIENDS

     Four of us recently traveled to Josselin, a small town in Northwest France.  Our house's walls were thin and the bathroom doors did not shut completely. We got to know each other quite well.

   We got acquainted with the neighbors too. It was easy as smiling and saying, "Bon jour!".  Everybody seems to do that there.  
    Imagine  saying "hello!" to everyone you see.  Maybe we should all start doing it today.

    Brigitte's place is right on Main Street's sidewalk (from third floor down, Brigitte, Martha, and Francesca.  I am in the guy in the road with the camera)
  I could sit on the living room couch and have conversations with people passing by six-feet away.

   I quickly connected with the Atelier Scotto (furniture craftsman) across the street.  Taking twenty steps from our front door I could be watching him restore delicate gold leaf to the legs of an antique chair.  

   His girlfriend, Elma, helped us clean Brigitte's house (it had been empty for a year). The young mother with the infectious smile told us she was looking for work.  Elma recently lost her job when the town's  slaughterhouse closed down.


    We also became friends with Henri Pierre, a  local sculptor.  We watched him turning brushes into people and clay into whimsical marmots. 
     

   His gallery/studio is a shining example of the artist havens many of us loved in the Grove years ago. It may take some time for the fat cats to chase the artists out of Josselin.


     This lovely storefront is the home of our new friend, Stephanie. She makes sculptures and furniture out of recycled, corrugated cardboard. Isn't it great that there is still a place for the unique artists of the world.

   
   Peter Stein is another one of them.  All he wants to do is live in the world's most picturesque place, eat terrific French food, and teach the world to sing the world's most beautiful (15th century) music.  He's doing that.
     He and his partner live in a lovingly  restored mill house a half-mile west of town.  Their dreamy bungalow sits in the middle to the River Oust, reached by this bejeweled-by-flowers bridge. 

 The five of us shared wine and stories as the mill's wheel turned lazily behind us.




 

Peter is now the director of the town's Catholic church choir.  He invited us to come hear his group practice.  We went the next night and learned  that his enthusiastic singers are between the ages of 60 and 94. 

Looking back at Josselin from Peter's island.
   

Here is a short clip of his group, "The David Stein Experience", in the choir room at the abbey.
(Some of you let me know that you can not see my most excellent 15-second video of seniors singing Mozart.  Sorry.  I'll try to fix the problem when I can)


video
        
 It was one of many special moments on our Get the Heck Out of Miami Summer Tour.
                        _________________
    
   

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