... is now over. At least, so I thought ... but today, on very New Year’s Eve, as I write these words, I have before me this morning’s local newspaper. The world, it seems, is indeed taking leave of its senses. Rennes-le-Château is used to its quota of dotty visitors ... but the mayor of a village, not ten miles away, is reported to be considering a request for military protection from an expected influx of loonies who are expecting an imminent End of the World. (Not quite yet! Late 2012, apparently!) It seems that Flying Saucers - (or something) - have nominated Our Patch as the favoured area from which one can be spirited away to Safety in a Happier Land “Over the Rainbow” – (or somewhere).
Now ... to any of you who are about to inform me that I’m
the one who’s deluded ... I address the following question :
“Are you sufficiently convinced of this nonsense – (because someone has said so) – that you are prepared to hand over to me, (or to any other worthwhile charity, come to that), all the worldly goods, chattels, lucre ... (even euros!) ... for which you will no longer be having any need?” All donations will be gratefully received and put to good use. The endowment of a School of Good Old Plain Common Sense comes to mind. (And – yes – I do know about the Mayan calendar.)
But let’s return to the (relative) sanity of Now.
* * * * *
In late summer we had quite a flurry of excitement. Somewhere, it seems, there is a web-site which, for some obscure reason, seems to occupy itself by monitoring my doings. In September I was thrilled to discover that it was apparently carrying my Obit! The world was informed that, like Monty Python’s parrot, I was ‘No More’.
Had I deceased myself without noticing? After all, at my advanced age, nobody would be overly surprised. Judicious enquiries of my nearest and long-suffering-est elicited the information that I seemed to be no more noticeably moribund than is usual.
Further intensive research uncovered the fact that I hadn’t yet shuffled off this mortal coil - which I found comforting.* The vanished Henry Lincoln, it seemed, had been a citizen of the US of A, with no apparent connection to Rennes-le-Château, Bérenger Saunière – nor even me. I hope he enjoyed his time as much as I continue to do.
• In fact, I’m not absolutely sure that I presently possess a coil of any sort, which makes the shuffling thereof slightly problematic.
* * * * *
2010 also saw an additional 'curiosity' added to Rennes-le-Château's oddities. More and more people have appeared, wearing interested but slightly puzzled expressions. They arrive in the village, wondering why they are here. Some of them seem to know nothing of Bérenger Saunière nor his story ... or perhaps they have heard vaguely of Dan Brown's opus. And yet "something," they say, has made them come to Rennes-le-Château. Many of them stay … and all promise to return.
What is it that draws them here? Jean-Luc used to say that this is "a place of dreams". And he was right. But I don’t think that he – or they – were anticipating the Apocalypse.
* * * * *
Summer saw the usual throngs of travellers from the three quarters of the globe - (haven't spotted any Chinese yet !)
To universal joy, at the end of August, the Disney-land train was de-railed until next summer. I acknowledge that two-year-olds love it ... but they are a minority among our visitors and somehow neither 'Disney' nor 'train' seem to contribute a great deal to the ambiance of Rennes-le-Château.
I had hoped that the picture above would have included the village street filled with the usual bustling throng ... and indeed the throng had been bustling only moments before it was taken ... but, on cue, as the train appeared, they decided suddenly to become camera-shy. The Atelier Empreinte bookshop must have had an unexpected rush of customers, so you'll have to take my word for the missing multitude.
I wish you all A Very Happy,
Prosperous, Untroubled and Sane 2011.