Raymond

By his own admission, Raymond is "well into his 80s". However, this native of Tarn has lost none of his energy or his passion for blacksmithing. "I became a blacksmith because I am very cold", he explains with an amused smile, "I had the choice between baker and blacksmith, I became a blacksmith, because it is a job I love". And that's not a figure of speech: Raymond's entire house is filled with objects of all ages that he has forged or restored.

As he discovers these treasures, the old man forgets his cane and goes so far as to lift a fifty kilo ploughshare to show it off! He can't stop talking about what he calls his "couillonnades"(1) and it's a veritable anthology of objects and old words that emerge from his cupboards: 14th century arrows, nightingales, yokes, lopinière, rogne-pieds, plough age, varlope, willow leaf or tree frog, "the more rusty the object, the better" declares the pensioner.

"At the time, we used to place up to 150 irons on the oxen every Thursday at the Soual market", he says, "we bought the blanks at the Norbert Raynaud hardware store, in Rue Villegoudou in Castres, and some winters, I forged up to three thousand irons". A trade which does not leave him since the retired man continues to forge for pleasure in his small lean-to, to take part in exhibitions on heritage, and to travel in spite of his old age to listen to conferences on the forge. Not only does he love reviving objects from the past, but until a month ago he was treating a mare's foot.

"I'd like to do an exhibition on farriery," confides Raymond, before taking out of a shoebox the vet's kit he inherited as a child: "It took me three weeks to renovate it," he shares with great emotion. As for his rusty anvil, weighing one hundred and forty kilos, Raymond holds it like the apple of his eye: "I want it to stay in the family!

(1) When you messing around, in Provençal

Original version in French...