samedi 11 décembre 2010

L is for Lunches

J’ai une faim de loup — I’m famished

Tis the season for lunching. The first was with my photography club. The plan was to meander through the countryside snapping scenic scenes along the way, calling into the odd Domaine to taste some wine, and then having lunch. Unfortunately, we started late because I got the time wrong, all the Domaines we past were shut, and it was raining. So we just had lunch. And very nice it was too.

A couple of days later and it was time for the Christmas lunch with the Ainés Ruraux. The name literally means elderly country folk; it’s open to anyone over 50 and Gavin gives a group of members an English lesson once a week. It was the usually seven-course feast you get on such occasions, complete with aperitif, red, white and rosé wines and brandy. (In case anyone is interested, it cost €13 each, including the drinks.) It must be that they have been conditioned from an early age, but there were octogenarians there munching their way through everything and then having seconds. I recall my mother-in-law at that age would have struggled to get through a whole Happy Meal.

A charming lady opposite began telling us about her new kitten, and showing us where it had scratched her. She was off to Nice for Christmas, so I asked what was happening to the kitten. It turned out she was using the cattery run by a British friend of ours. Our companion told me: “She speaks really good French — much better than yours!” Thanks, I’ll pass that on, so if you’re reading this Gill…

It so happened that this lunch took place on one of the two days recently where the temperature got up to 18 degrees C during the day. At one stage, two of the club’s members appeared brandishing long bamboo poles. We couldn’t imagine what they were for. Then a large black swathe of cloth appeared; this was tied between the two poles and the whole contraption was then carefully raised so it blocked the sun that was streaming in through the windows. We’d shivered through a couple of weeks of temperatures hovering around zero, and now it was too hot for them!

Then there was a raffle. We actually won a teapot and a lavender bag. What more could you want?

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