Thursday, 20 August 2009

Cathy's party

Beep! Beep! Beep! Suddenly the peace and quiet of another long, hot Sunday afternoon in the South of France was shattered by a string of cars and vans honking their way down the drive to Cathy's gite. Even those of us who were expecting them were pretty surprised, especially at how they'd all managed to coordinate their arrival perfectly. Cathy dashed into the kitchen saying "Oh god! what have we got to feed them" but she really shouldn't have worried, as no sooner had the cars parked when people started tumbling out bearing huge tureens of soups, trays of pizza, platters of roast meats and vegetable terrine, giant bowls of salad, breads, cheeses, pates, dips and bottles of wine, along with boxes of cutlery and crockery. Within five minutes a table for 26 adults was laid, a separate one set up for the enfants, while another was covered with drinks and snacks.

It was Kate's mother's - Cathy - 60th Birthday and she'd planned to have a quiet one. Just her, her boyfriend Jean, her two daughters and their families plus her friend Christian (who's 50th birthday was also that day) and his family. A mere 15 people for lunch, on 3 tables set out under the oak. No sweat. Jean however had other ideas and had teamed up with their friend, landlady and feast organizer extraordinaire Margitte to magic up a surprise party and feast for Cathy's french and anglo friends that lasted well into the warm summer night.

It was the perfect culmination to the two glorious weeks Kate and I had spent relaxing at Cathy's in the company of Kate's sister Becky and her four beautiful children (husband Dan joining us the friday before the party). It was a lovely, lazy time, with mornings often spent swimming at the local lake, trying out boats I'd built with the kids out of paper and plastic bottles, long 5 course lunches eaten out side, walking through the woods with their mental Breton spaniel Cocky, games of cards with Jean and their neighbour Norbert, visits to other friends and local markets, plus lots and lots of reading. It really was a shame to leave - if only the rest of our families and friends could be persuaded to move to France (preferably the Lot region) it would be ideal!

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