Sunday, October 28, 2012

A diamond + afternoon

Friday 26th October 2012 was our 16th wedding anniversary but sadly Kevin had meetings all day in Bordeaux..

We make a good team

 I went out for lunch though as Le Club des Ainés ( seniors club) had their annual meal and I was on top table as I was standing in for monsieur le maire. The menu was very inviting and didn't disappoint.

Kir et ses gateaux secs
Potage Cultivareur
Assiette Gasconne (salade,tomate,oeuf,gésiers,mouss de foie gras)
Feuilleté aux fruits de Mer
Rôti de Veau aux Pruneaux
Légimes assortis
Assiette du Berger sur son Délice de l'Escargot
Profiteroles au Cocolat

 The best bit about being on top table was that I was seated next to one of the honoured guests who is also the patriarch of the first family to welcome us to Labretonie more than 10 years ago. Eugene and his wife Alyse were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary - in French this is Les Noces de Palissandre (Rosewood).  They had both been born in Brittany and came to the Lot-et-Garonne in 1947 when there was a lack of people to work the land here after the world wars and at the same time too many agriculteurs in Britanny. They were very young 21 and 22 with year old twins and it was very hard to leave the region they loved and all their family and friends. They were lucky that a neighbouring family had moved here 9 years earlier and they gave them their much needed support as they started out in their own farm. They went on to have another daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren and to become much cherished members of this small community. Eugene recalled how they would sit by the fire in the evenings and all sing along to his harmonica accompaniment. 'It was a hard life but a good one' Eugene told me. 

We were also celebrating the diamond wedding anniversary of Norbert and Yvette.  They were both born in the neighbouring village of St Barthélémy and went to school together. Norbert lived with his mother and never knew his father and they were very poor. His mother was eventually murdered by one of her lovers and Norbert was put into foster care in a nearby village where he was pretty much used as unpaid labour. Once a week he was able to return to St Barthélémy to go to mass and visit his aunt. There he would get his weekly glimpse of the girl he had fallen in love with - a girl he didn't feel worthy of. After his time in the army where he had learned to drive he became a long distance lorry driver and earned enough to give him confidence to approach the love of his life. They married and had 3 daughters and several grandchildren. Norbert played a big part in local politics and was mayor of St Barthélémy for many years.

Both of these couples take part every year in the show that we put on. Eugene and Alyse are known for their duets, Yvette for her contribution to the choir and Norbert for his comedy .

Alyse and Eugene singing Les Volets Bleu

We also celebrated an 80th and 90th birthday - folks live to a ripe old age here in the Lot-et-Graonne. Entertainment was in the hands of Mick  Fontaine and his accordion and our two wedding anniversary couples led off the dancing that continued through until early evening. 

A day full of friendship and love and I wasn't the only one who was moved to tears.