Friday, August 20, 2010

A day in the sun, a night of fun

floating underwater life

Another week slips by: market days in new towns, working on my French, chasing paperwork for the ever elusive bank account, working on the book, Munson sliding through the cool waters at the Gorge.

I had a lovely afternoon at the beach with a group of 7-8 adults and kids. Some other people had brought their dogs to swim outside the floating perimeter of the official beach area. I elected to look for another spot on the lakeshore where I could bring Munson separately, and quickly found a spot directly across the beach where I will bring him next time. The picture below shows our beach as seen from that spot. It’s a comfortable little reverse oasis, a patch of sand amongst rolling hills with farmland punctuated by village church spires every quarter turn of the compass.


The village fête in the evening was something I had little preparation for. I expected something like the Boulogne fireworks and sideshows of the previous weekend, albeit on a much smaller scale. Seven of us rolled into the small square outside the town hall where six long columns of tables were squeezed between a bar area and a stage. I brought Munson along initially but realising that we were going to be eating in a confined space took him home after he’d been introduced to some of the locals.

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Around 8pm some teens took to a microphone singing French and English songs, either soloing or as an ensemble, moving through the crowd quite professionally. It was a bit like being on a cruise ship moored in a valley of the Comminges. As darkness fell, the action moved principally onto the well-lit stage, and for the next five hours, they and another group of singer dancers entertained us with a variety-cabaret. Modern pop mingled with Andrews Sisters’ Rum and Coca-Cola, novelty songs, French standards, Spanish ballads  - all in a seemingly endless stream of costume changes from a young group who never seemed to flag, never flubbed lines. I jokingly asked Brent if we were expected to provide Eurovision-style scoring at the end, but my after-party research showed that the performers (three related ensembles: Carpe Diem, Impulsion & Teen Generation) are mentored by an ex-Eurovision winner from long ago.

Despite the convivial surroundings, my brain was buzzing through the evening, trying to decode song lyrics. Every so often I’d actually get the drift of a French song, and then find myself bamboozled by an English song where the words weren’t pronounced idiomatically.

As several courses of food were washed down with rosé and finally some Armagnac-enhanced coffee, the villagers let their hair down, dancing on the tables and forming conga lines around the dining area. It was like a big wedding party where no one got married.

For the last hour I was pinned to my chair by one very tired little five year old boy wrapped up in a blanket (not this!) against my chest, his sisters in the embrace of their parents. Most of us stumbled home about 1.30am but the revelries went on for many hours longer. If I’d walked up to the town hall in the morning, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a few hundred people slumped over the tables waiting for the music to start over.

1 comment:

  1. Ooooooo!!! Now I know what to get you for Christmas!!

    ... you can use it on a bus. you can use it on a train. with a fox. in a box ...