Sunday, 25 March 2007

Matters of the heart from the South of France


2b has had a reflective day. In a small tight community when something not so nice befalls one of us we tend to pull together. Look out for each other so to speak. So when his lovely girlfriend of just 18 went hurtling off the road in her new car and ploughed into a field word quickly got round. Within seconds MSN was buzzing, 2b's mobile phone rang incessently as she phoned tearfully from the local hospital. Fortunately she came out pretty unscathed but the car is a mangled wreck of twisted metal. And they are all in shock, believing as you do at that age that a wet road holds no dangers, like 2b's friend last year as he set out for his camping holiday but a tree got in the way instead of a moist gentle friendly field and he died instantly. Driving hard and fast seems to be national disease here, being involved in a car accident regarded as a rite of passage.

Yesterday as I drove towards our nearest town I was forcibly hit by the dramatic change in scenery along a certain well known fast stretch. Where plane trees had majestically towered over the road and cast their shade for 200 years or more there was now a long line of red and white posts marking their graves where they had been brutally suppressed.

I commented upon this fact to 2b and The Small Cross One, lamenting on the changing face of the countryside. They looked at me incredulousy. "The trees are dangerous" they pointed out, do you have any idea how many people die when they hit them" ? The idea that people might drive less fast than the manic speeds they embrace here was alien to them. The suggestion that if there is a car in front does not deem it necessary to overtake and sod any oncoming traffic was met with puzzled looks. The answer to them sadly, and to that of their peers, was to chop the offending trees down.

And I find it bewildering also, our arguments at such odds with one another. And I really don't know, I really don't know who is right. Because, thank god, it wasn't my son who hit the tree.

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