• Nellie Williams

Two nights in Bordeaux


I was in Bordeaux recently for Mme Cholet's funeral. It was exhausting, heartbreaking, sad and so so wrong that my beautiful friend had gone at 47. In amongst the sadness there was also laughter and humour. This may well be lost in translation but Cecile asked me to write it so I have!

Not sure I can recommend this 2 night tour in Bordeaux but in amongst the sadness of the day there was humour:

I left Merignac at very early hour o'clock to drive to Talence in Olivia's car. I looked such a tourist as I went to the wrong side of the car. In Talence I suggested that the first person who cries does a length of the pool for each different stroke - naked. Melanie was a strong contender until Fred from Switzerland cried. Phew team Nelanie breathed a collective sigh of relief and then cried.

We walked to the church in the brilliant sunshine, then listened to Olivia and Emma giving a beautiful tribute to Clare, they were brave and didn't cry, neither did I even when Livski sang "Over the rainbow". Managed to delivery my tribute, without crying or losing my place must have been the BIG WRITING and I marvelled that I didn't drop the microphone, or swear. I listened to Melanie who took the mic from the priest (like a pro) and delivered a word perfect poem, smiled when Le Coupine spoke, lost it when Clare's father Pompa spoke. Well he said something about the last word going to Clare. In our last conversation I told her I wanted her to have the last word. Coming to think of it she always had the last word.

Used stock French conversation on Régis' colleagues. I think I may have strengthened the Anglo French relationship very well. I didn't swear but I did use slang. Quite a bit of slang actually, well when I say quite a bit I mean rather a lot, but it was slang and not swearing.

Back to the house for what we now know is the chorus. Coffee! The wine and cheese and bread and olives and and and appeared. Dried crying eyes with food. Until time to go to the crematorium, kindly driven by Mathieu Pichu. Concrete arches at the crem, looked like it wanted to be a viaduct or an aqueduct. I'm none the wiser. Régis spoke. I cried. Adieu Cholet.

Stood in sun and Stephen said his sister was 1 year and 15 days older than him. I said she was 1 year and 13 days older. than me Are you 45? No he said I'm the same age as you. Right that's my maths for you. Oh we did have a laugh, then he moved away - just slightly!

Chorus: Back to the house for coffee. The wine and cheese and chorizo and bread and olives and and and appeared. Dried crying eyes with food. Until time to go to the cemetery, kindly driven by Mathieu. He had no choice.

Clare's ashes were stuck in traffic. That's rich for someone who had immaculate time keeping and then was late for her own funeral. Oh Cholet!!! I thought it was 4, apparently it was 430 so she was only 5 minutes late. But hey I lost a year earlier so don't talk numbers with me!

Back to house with Aude and Ton Ton.

Chorus: for coffee. The wine and cheese and chorizo and bread and olives and and and appeared. Then turkey and pizza and some more and and and. Dried crying eyes with food. Talked lots of crap, both in French and English. Told Stephen my flight was late in the evening but I would get home one hour earlier, he was still struggling with me saying I was 5' 10. Some things just get lost in translation. Hit tiredness.

Meme & Pepe drove us home via Soccer (football), showed me the airport twice. Didn't take hint. Then drove past crematorium. I said that I was on not only the mystery tour but also the misery tour! Thanked them for my tour, obviously booked the cheap and emotional tour as was dark and sad.

So to summarise when in Bordeaux for for a 2 night stay I visited Church, crem and cemetery in daylight, shown the airport twice, reminded of earlier sadness by driving past crem, been offered wine, sobbed, been given food to mop up the sobs and wine. When there were any gaps in conversation more food was produced. When the food was cleared away we knew it was time to go. The minute we walked back in the food, wine and conversation flowed. We laughed, cried, hugged, smiled, reminsced, enjoyed good company, made new friends, the wine and humour were plentiful. Which is what Clare would have loved.


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