As far as I know, libraries in England do not celebrate birthdays, but after the English class on Tuesday, Isabelle, the librarian invited us to come back on Thursday at 5 o’clock to celebrate the opening exactly one year ago.
It was more a champagne party than a tea party though.
There were seven of us – the volunteers who help out at the library and Isabelle had provided the champagne and a gorgeous prune and nut cake – served from the paper. Marie-Claude provided the glasses and a ‘cake’ flavoured with bacon, cheese and olives.
It seems that the term cake is used frequently in French for both sweet and savoury versions but whereas gateau can be used for the sweet ones, the ‘salé’ varieties are always ‘cake’.
Then, of course, we think about the wonderful gateaux produced by patissiers, such as this one, which we bought to celebrate the birthdays of our friends from the next village:
It tasted as good as it looked and was wonderfully light.
The library ‘tea party’ was a charmingly informal gathering and after a couple of bottles of champagne we were all nicely talkative. By coincidence the new library cards had arrived as a ‘birthday present’. They mark the beginning of plenty of work for Isabelle and her volunteers as all the books must now be issued with a barcode. She entered the six of us on the computer but if we borrowed a book it was still a case of the old card system
By half past six all the cake had gone and there was only little of the gateau left. We thanked Isabelle and took our leave.
On the way home CC remarked how unusual it was for a library to allow eating, drinking and laughter.