I live on a hill called Pied Méjean. Yesterday I was invited to the annual repas du quartier. It was a delightful evening, despite the chilly weather.
Most of the houses on the hill are quite new, very undistinguished architecturally but much more desirable than old stone village houses with their lack of mod cons or reasonable outdoor space. Indeed many of my neighbours have built their own houses.
The result is that almost everyone at the dinner was young – with a vast number of small children running around and competing to throw Poppy’s ball. At least the local primary school will not be at risk of closure through lack of pupils. What a contrast to the Serres fetes, whose elderly participants reflect the average age of its inhabitants
They were all very friendly and welcoming, treating me with a concerned respect which made me feel rather old. Several I already know well enough to exchange greetings, like the baker’s wife, a handsome and clearly intelligent woman, one of the organisers of the evening.
I noticed that very soon the men were standing around the drink table, pastis in hand., while most of the women were sitting in a circle a little further away. I of course stood near the men and listened to their conversation. Lots of talk about who is building what, and whether there was any more land ‘constructible’ in the area.
I moved on to the women’s group, where they were in the middle of discussing some magic cure to smoking. We passed on to chicken pox (my grand daughter Willow is the latest victim) and whether to get the vaccination.
The food was good, albeit the timing chaotic, as always with communal barbecues. There were some delicious sausages, made with sanglier (wild boar), and served by a couple of hunters who had made them.
Even the snails (collected by the small boys) had a good time. Here is one who seems to want a sip of pastis.