Not long after I first arrived in the village to live, when I was wondering around in our garden just taking it all in, looking up at the hills around us, looking at the church on the hill, listening to the chickens and to the dogs barking in the distance.
I looked up and down the road and saw all of the normal things going on in the street, tractors coming and going to the fields, a man cutting weeds at the side of the road, and a group of old ladies just chatting in the sunshine, and watched as they all disappeared from view, quickly..
Then I saw a procession coming down the street, led by cart which was decorated with pine tree branches and pulled by a single horse, which had been especially cleaned of it's usual every day mud and grime from working in the fields. Following behind was a group of people all dressed in their Sunday best, some carrying religious banners.
It was obvious to me that it was some sort of religious festival day, so I ran inside the house where Alison was preparing our dinner for the evening.
"Quick, come outside and bring the camera!", I puffed excitedly, "There is a religious procession coming down the street and it looks fantastic!"
Alison wiped here hands on a tea towel and rushed out, with the camera. The procession was just beginning to pass our house, and I was smiling and waving at the people on the cart and in the group behind. They were all very kind, they waved and smiled back.
I hadn't noticed that Alison's arrival at the fence at the front of our house had come to an abrupt halt, that she was hiding the camera behind her back, and that her head was bowed. I was just smiling and waving, like the idiot I am.
Once they had gone past, slowly, solemnly, Alison turned to me,
"It's a funeral!!"
She avoided using the words 'you idiot', but it was how I felt. If the ground could have opened and swallowed me down at that moment, I would have welcomed it. I could feel my face hot as it blushed bright red, as I crept back into the house.
That night though, at the village bar, a number of people who had taken part in the procession came up to me and shook my hand, smiling.
I think they were just being nice to the brainless idiot who had just moved into their village!