In a previous life

In a previous life I was a simple paysan called Victor. I lived in an old stone farmhouse in a rolling countryside where I ran a small vineyard and reared goats and ducks in a garden at the back. I had a sheepdog called Sylvester but I had no sheep for him to round up, so most of the day he spent sleeping under an olive tree that grew by the terrace. My wine was quite passable, a fruity little cabernet sauvignon that I often drank in the evenings with a piece of bread and some mature fermier Macônnais. My friend Raymond said it was good, another friend Gustave said it tasted like the pee of a fetid sow, but what does he know about these things ? My goats cheese, the aforementioned Macônnais, on the other hand, was quite superb – everyone said so, including Gustave – and the village charcuterie would proudly sell it along side some of the region’s finest delicacies (the cornichons from Saint Pierre were my particular favourites). Life was simple. I would get up with the sunrise, work my small farm, eat well, drink a glass or two of wine, love my rather overweight but apparently happy wife, and go to bed in a converted attic room where pigeons, mice and bats made their nests in the dilapidating rafters and eaves. Occasionally I would play a game of boules or backgammon in the village square with Raymond and Gustave, and perhaps smoke a Gitanes or two. On Saturdays I would walk to the market to buy herbs, vegetables and usually a rabbit from Madame D’Estang, a miserable old witch who I’m sure was about two hundred years old. She dribbled a lot. Her rabbits were good though, especially cooked outside in a pot over a fire with onions, potatoes and lots of garlic. On birthdays I played the accordion and wore my only suit and tie. They were a little threadbare. I gave my wife a new cardigan for the winter months and she baked me a pie of seasoned pork, livers and mushrooms. We were happy right up to the day we died, within just a month of each other – me first and then she following once she had cleaned the house of my mess and made sure the goats were taken care of.