In France there are thousands of Villes Fleuris, villages in bloom. This competition of cities and villages in bloom started in 1959, organized in France to promote the development of green spaces in cities. National and free, it is open to all municipalities. Over time, criteria have evolved, and begin to take into account environmental aspects and sustainability of flowering.
Tourteron won their little ‘village fleuri‘ flower just a year ago. Everybody happy you would say but with the little flower came the big worry. The local committee for the Village Fleuri flower is really worried about their little township. Daily inspections of the jardinieres (planters) around the main road, the church and the lavoir followed. A mill in renovation does not fit that tidy and clean cut look.
Four weeks ago the first angry neighbor stopped our car and knocked on our windscreen when we arrived at the mill. He was furious about the damage to the road by the delivery trucks. His French went so fast that only his pointing finger gave some hints of what he was talking about. That same weekend his wife started to ‘accidently’ pass the mill three times a day which is odd since the short cut to their house is by the main road. It must be at least a 5 minutes longer walk home.
Then three weeks ago another neighbor dawdled around the mill. Catharine, Stephanes wife who was around, recognized the importance of this provoked visit and invited her over. Madame Moreau feels personally responsible for the situation at the lavoir and has a huge influence in greater Tourteron. We showed her around the mill and gardens. The atmosphere started a bit tensed but ended with a promise of a homemade rhubarb cake. The delicious cake arrived the next day, the tension stayed.
Last weekend we tried to show our honest intension to make the mill AND the lavoir the pearl of Tourteron. Right before the annual brocante, the french garage sale street fair, we cleaned the complete front garden and direct area around the watermill. It all looked so tidy, it was amazing. That day everybody was so nice.
We’ll do our prayers for the second fleuri. Tourteron is worth it.