Yesterday we went to the funeral of Roger Lezeau. We first met Roger when he was already in his 90s. He wrote to us when we bought our house here, as he was the founder of the local history society (le Société Archaeologique de Preuilly), and had information he hoped we would be interested in. To some extent it was a ploy to encourage visitors, as he invited us to come and see him at his room in the maison de retraite. He could no longer go out and about, so people had to come to him. He was well known and well liked in the town, but in the last few years, as his deafness got worse, talking to him became increasingly difficult, and ultimately impossible. The last time I visited we exchanged notes, rather than spoke. His son Michel commented on how much of a problem it became too. He lives in Normandy, a very difficult situation if you can't just pick up the phone to chat with your father.
The officiating priest spoke well about his old friend of 40 years standing, followed by his son Michel and our friend Bernard, the current president of the Société Archaeologique de Preuilly. As always, the obituaries and eulogies revealed snippets that we hadn't known about the man, for example, that he had been an active member of the Resistance during the Second World War. He had grown up in Preuilly, but was a young man with a young family, living in Paris at the outbreak of World War II. They fled south, to his grandparents' house on the market place here in Preuilly, and he continued his profession as a hairdresser, whilst secretly acting as a courrier for the Resistance. When the war ended, the family stayed, and at one stage he was a member of the local council. But once he was unable to look after himself and moved into the nursing home, the family property was put on the market. It was sold only a couple of months ago.
The other interesting thing we learnt is that Psalm 23 'The Lord is my shepherd' is sung completely differently in France. Not only is it a different tune, but a different style, more like a chant and reply. I only recognised it because the words are an exact translation. We didn't have a hymn book, but I heard the opening line 'le seigneur est mon berger' and realised where we were going. Simon, who misheard initially, spent a couple verses wondering why the Lord was a Belgian.