Monday, May 22, 2017

Just another weekend in rural France

French Village Diaries weekend in rural France giant paella fêtes des voisins
Giant Paella for Fêtes des Voisins

Friday evening saw us collecting Ed and his suitcase from school in the market town of Melle 25km away, feeding him and a friend and driving them to Niort, our big town, 45km away, where they enjoyed an evening out with some other friends. Having driven almost 150km, we retired to the sofa where we watched Gardeners’ World and enjoyed a glass of wine. Thankfully someone else drove them home, so all we had to do was to collect Ed from Melle (again) on Saturday afternoon. We live in a small village of less then four hundred people, with no public transport, except the school buses, and for a 16 year old there is not much going on. Ed’s social life has already moved on and away from the village.

I have been known to (affectionately) refer to life here, as living in the arse-end-of-nowhere, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything going for it. I know how special it is and I also know I’m not the only one; from Parisian retirees to escapees from London life, they come from far and wide to experience life in our village. Honestly! Saturday night, for example, for the bargain price of 5€ per person we celebrated the Fêtes des Voisins (Neighbours Day) in the salle des fêtes (village hall) with a giant paella, a charades game, a DJ and live music. It was the chance for friends, new and old, French and British, to have fun and get to know each other a bit more.

As well as our French friends we found ourselves in the company of a media executive from London who owns a holiday house in the village and a press photographer (and author) who is the latest arrival to be bewitched by life here. Martin, the photographer, has also written two children’s books and having taken a sneaky peek at the first one I can see him fitting into life here just fine. All I can say is that his head must be a busy place to be if his book, which is lively, bonkers and brilliantly perfect for those with an overactive imagination, is anything to go by. As for our media executive, I shall name no names, but as I’ve seen him in the Daily Mail I know he is important and I’m sure his usual red-carpet events don’t often involve him miming a kiwi fruit, but he certainly seemed impressed with Jean-Marc’s event hosting and organisation.

French Village Diaries weekend in rural France rock and roll fêtes des voisins
Ed and Adrian rocking the salle des fêtes

For me, the highlight of the evening was watching Ed, with the help of Adrian – who hasn’t played in front of an audience since 1987, entertaining everyone with a bit of rock’n’roll, including a tribute to the late greats Chuck Berry and Rick Parfitt. Many a foot tapped along with them and hands clapped in appreciation afterwards.

French Village Diaries weekend in rural France plant sale
Plant sale

Sunday dawned warm and sunny and Adrian and I set off to a local village who were holding a plant sale, vide grenier (car boot) and farmers market. We chatted with a few friendly faces, bought some tomato plants and then watched a rather bizarre big truck convoy that tooted it’s way through the village on it’s way to a country fair.

French Village Diaries weekend in rural France cherry trees chickens
Chickens and cherries

It’s now Monday and the aeroplanes have whisked Adrian and the London escapees back to the real world, leaving me to my life of chicken keeping, cherry picking, lawn mowing and laundry. As well as pondering the question why do sunny mornings turn to rain the moment I hang my washing out?

If you want to check out Martin’s books, The Boy who missed Next Year (part one and two), where among other things a goldfish talks and teaches moral life lessons and a steam train comes alive from a wall calendar and whisks Barry and Cedric the Shubunkin back to the previous year, (I told you it was bonkers), then click on the Amazon links below.


Have a great week, wherever you are. This post has been linked to Paulita’s Dreaming of France blog link. Click here to read more.