Sunday, 27 April 2008

Everbody here loves you twice...

Getting married, moving house and leaving the country are three of the most stressful things you can do in your life, though also the most rewarding. Take it from us - we've done it. Twice!!

As several French friends - most importantly Jean - were unable to attend our first wedding in England, Kate's mum Cathy determined to hold a second wedding celebration for us in France. We were a little apprehensive, particularly after our experience at the Spring Fete when we realised that our sitting, drinking and eating skills were no match for the French and we risked not making it through the day. Plus as the 27th April approached stress levels inevitably rose, as Cathy planned and re-planned her five course feast for 45 people and we were despatched to various markets and shops to buy ingredients.

Still the day arose - a beautiful one - and it felt lovely to put on our glad rags again; Kate looked gorgeous wearing her dress and one young guest felt she had to ask Cathy "who the princess was?" Driving down in Sheena, proudly wearing her new "kate & theo" sunstrip, we did feel very much the newly weds and, this being France, were thus bombarded with questions over aperitifs about the arrival timetable for tiny feet plus incredulousness over Sheena's petiteness.

The feast - and what a feast it was - duly arrived, slightly delayed as the guest seemed non-plussed at first by the presence of of steaming bowls of freshly made italian soup on the table, and carried on chatting and drinking. Jean was manning the barbecue - aubergines for us - and served up great platters of fragrant meat after the artichoke has been nibbled. Our carefully laid up and arranged tables were clinically assessed by the French ladies, found wanting, and duly rearranged much to our amusement. As Cathy and Jean were constantly on the move, despite many requests that they sit down and eat something, we were kept entertained by the lovely Pascale and Christian, while the irrepressible Norbert started firing champagne corks across the room during desert. A deserved round of applause for the chefs was followed by the briefest of speeches (in french) by us, and then it was our turn to be stumped by the amazing generosity of all present as we opened our cards and gifts. Our wedding guests in England had been equally generous, but here it seemed even more over-whelming as some of the guest we'd only met that day!

After the clearing up was done, almost by magic by the ladies present, Kate was moved to comment that if Cathy had been catering for Napoleon's army they would have either made it to Moscow or been too full to leave France. There was so much delicious food and wine left over half the guests resolved to stick around to help finish it off that evening. Several voracious card games later and we were laying up the tables yet again for another "small selection of left overs" that wouldn't have embarrassed royalty, and the Party finally finished around 11pm, just before the storm broke.

It was a fabulous day and we both really, really enjoyed ourselves and feel so warmly welcomed to Montcuq and St Croix. Hence it was a shame that we have had to move house yet again - for Cathy & Jean's felt very much like a second home - as we head down to Biarritz for a couple of days laden with what seems like a gallon or soup and a kilo of cheese. We'll be even sadder to say goodbye to France, though it is of course only temporary.

We'll be back.

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