The cats woke me early to open the window for them and then, as it’s a jour de ferié , I dozed off again and woke up at nearly 8.30 and remembered that I was looking after Nino (the neighbour’s dog) and he’d be crossing his little legs.
After pulling on some clothes I went next door and found, to my relief that he hadn’t performed on the floor. We went outside and there was time to take in the silence. Not a car, not a voice – complete stillness until the church clock struck nine.
We went down the road and disturbed the big black dog a few doors down. His owner swore at him to shut up and we continued on our way.
The only sign of last night’s festivities were a few strands of ‘party poppers’ left straggling across the road.
Last night’s festivities? Well, it started with a rather low key procession through the village with ‘lampions’ for the children who walked behind a small van blaring out music and then gathered momentum when the bar got going and the disco started.
At eleven o’clock there was a good ten minute firework display which we watched from the bedroom window. Every bang echoed noisily but the effect was most impressive as rocket followed rocket high into the night sky and then burst into a colourful cascade like falling jewels in different formations.
Unfortunately the disco carried on until well after 2 and CC and Jay couldn’t get to sleep for the din of the deep , booming bass beat.
This morning Bear and I wandered down to the square for the ceremony and wreath laying. The maire herself wasn’t present and so a rather nervous ‘adjoint’ read out the letter from the Minister for Defence which seemed mainly concerned with the atrocities committed concerning the deportation of the Jews 60 years ago, but also mentioned those who had died in battle.
One of the children present helped to lay the wreath on the monument. There was a minute’s silence before they played the Marseillaise and then we all trooped into the Mairie for the Vin d’Honneur. The adjoint quickly removed his sash of office and mucked in with opening the bottles and serving the champagne.
During the conversation I learned another new expression. The chap next to me was saying how Nicholas Sarkozy never actually allowed his lips to touch a lady’s hand when he did a ‘baisse main’. Another man laughed and said he prefered a ‘baisse nature’.
I can’t remember the exact French that followed but I instinctively translated the conversation as:
“Dream on. You know we’re both past it!”
“You speak for yourself!”
I’d had enough champagne to confirm my guess at the meaning by asking my neighbour,
“I take it a ‘baisse nature’ means rather more than a kiss then”.
To which he replied with a wink and a laugh,
“Yes, you’ve got it!”