Tuesday 31st May
Returning to France yesterday at the ridiculously early time of 7 in the morning, which entailed getting up before 4 in the morning, I was in a reflective mood (as I have been for a few days). When your normal schedule is interrupted for whatever reason, it does make you stop and think a bit. And soon I will be back into France mode and looking forward to the madness that is summer here. I say madness, but a very pleasurable madness too. It is almost like a two-month long Christmas, and actually lasts even longer really. For the whole of July and August there are Night Markets and Gourmande Evenings all over this bit of France. Practically every night of the week in one small town or another there will be live music and communal eating. Food stalls selling mussels and frites, roast duck, risotto and paella and lots more are usually around the perimeter and rows of long tables and benches (communally owned) are set out and it is one huge outdoor picnic.
You never quite know who you will be sitting with; often it will be new British people you haven’t met before or French people and their families just enjoying themselves. And people talk to each other, somehow all that famous British reserve melts in the warm summer sun liberally lubricated with wine. Last year was the first year we had the Café, and while we hardly sold any coffees there was a brisk trade in cold drinks. And, because we had our own tables and chairs outside it became an impromptu meeting place for quite a few people we know. And bottles of wine would appear as if by magic and a great time was had by all. There are also wine festivals and our own Mediaeval Day and of course the Oyster and White Wine Festival. There is Bastille Day where there are also fireworks and music, a National Music Day and of course the regular Friday Music Nights at Gambetta, held under the arches in the open air.
Quite a lot to look forward to one way or another….