Saturday, 19 November 2011
Social life in France
Our first soirée
When we moved to France almost 4 years ago (good grief - where does the time go?!) we wanted to make sure that we integrated into the life of the village. Too many people move to France and spend all their time with other ex-pats and we were determined to be different. We started off by going into the local bar 2 or 3 times a week and talking to anyone who was prepared to listen to our halting French.
At the end of our first month here we bought tickets to a soirée in the Salle des Fetes (village hall). The bar owner had told us that although the tickets said 8.00pm start, there was no point in getting there before 9.00pm, so we duly turned up just after 9.00 to find a brightly lit hall, with what seemed like dozens of children running about. There were many long tables set out at right angles to the walls and we noticed on the end of each table a list of names. We searched, but couldn't find our names on any of the lists. Unsure what to do next, we thought of going home again but instead we bought a drink and looked again at the lists and eventually noticed "Anglais - 2". This had to be us!
There were only 2 seats remaining at the table, one either side at the far end next to the wall. We squeezed past everyone - no easy task as the tables were set very close together. The French people next to us were very friendly and were very interested in the fact that we were "English" (Gerry of course is technically Welsh and I am Scottish but to the French we are English!).
We had a four course meal, which lasted until about 1.00am and then the band started playing and the dancing commenced. Lots of accordion music which the French dance to very enthusiastically! The band were excellent and played a complete mixture, even some Rock 'n' Roll - which got us to our feet to show off our jiving skills.
By 2.30am we were exhausted (and all the kids were still running around!) and got ready to leave. Our new French friends were also leaving and one couple asked us if we would like to go back to their house for a nightcap. We really had to get back for the dogs so we explained that we couldn't. However, I knew we had to make a determined effort to make friends so I asked the two couples if they would like to come to our house the following Friday evening for an aperitif.
And that was the start of our new social life! To be continued............