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November, 2011:

The Oxford Companion to Beer

Something of a red letter day at Chez Bellebouche this afternoon. The culmination of a long long wait… my publishing debut!




1 November – Day Of The Dead (All Saints Day) – 2011

Today is a public holiday in France – All Saints Day – the Day of the Dead.

It is a chance to visit friends and family that have long gone, pay your respects and reflect on them and their lives. It is quite a catholic tradition and the little cemetery in our village was packed with people paying their respects, delivering flowers and saying a few quiet words.



The graves with a small photograph inserted into the stone are the most touching.  A flash of the person that was, so many stories they’ll never tell and a real human face on what is just a memory.


Another,  sepia shadow from the past, cracked and starting to crumble but just catching the glorious November blue sky.

Almost every grave at the village cemetery was festooned with pots of Chrysanthemums.  The shops all week have been brimming with these pots.

A total riot of colour in such a stark setting.

Whatever this memorial once was, it is now on the decline… an impermanence even in death. The body that was interred has long since dissolved, the ground giving way a little and the stone starting to tumble.

The sign at the foot of the memorial…

“Cette concession en etat d’abandon fait l’objet d’une procedure de reprise veuillez vous adresser a la mairie”

So, it’s known as an unloved, uncared-for grave and will be ceded back to the commune in time.


Breathtaking colours everywhere.


Another collapsed and vanishing plot.

The very fact that someone has pushed together the little fragments of the memorial is very touching.


Such a stark contrast between the stones and the sky.


The wonderful tones of this ironwork, slowly decaying like everything else.


Anything which has the slightest surface texture picks up lichen or moss.


Long shadows of winter.   The clouds casting a shadow in the sky, the stones casting long shadows across the ground.


This grave had the most stunning set of flowers on it.  A beautiful floral tribute of all fresh flowers. Never seen anything like it in my life.


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