Bréau has a good local club for pensioners, le Club Lou Roussignol, organises outings or events through the year. The club is not really my thing (translating the useful: “ce n’est pas mon truc”) but I try to take part, to support the organisers (who include my friend Margaret) and to integrate with the village.
Yesterday about 40 pensioners drove up to the village of Blandas, high up on the Causses, the lime plateau to the south of us, for what turned out to be an excellent lunch.
I’m a fan of the restaurant – one of the few places round here where one eats well – and they did us proud: a huge plate of charcuterie, then chicken with purée of potimarron (pumpkin), cheese of course, and then a really yummy pudding (saying it included ice cream and lightly cooked egg whites does not do it justice).
But it was the ambience that was special: a roomful of people enjoying the food – and wine – and talking away with the animation I associate with French meals. And all joined in to sing Happy Birthday to Annie Vacquier, a very nice woman who lives in Serres and who was 80 a little while ago.
Claude is the youngest brother of Lulu (Annie Vacquier’s husband) who used to be the star turn at events like this, singing and reciting in Occitan. But Lulu was 90 last year and people accept that entertainment has passed to his brother and to his musician sons.
But no, Lulu got up and sang Les Quatre Vingt Chasseurs, which is basically the story of a Marquise who took part in the hunt and then entertained her 80 huntsmen in her chateau – and nine months later gave birth to a son, “the child of the 80 hunters”. Everyone joined in, as they have on frequent occasions over the 20 years I have lived here, happy also to see Lulu still on his feet, despite his age.
For those with a reasonable internet speed, here is an excerpt from the singing.