Why should we not celebrate Bastille Day, the national day of France? We are the French class of our small community! Twelve or more of us, most of whom have been studying the French language for seven years or so. Some of us are not too bad at speaking French. We are from all walks of life, with all of us ‘getting on’ in years.
We have a Yorkshireman who was once a ‘truckie’ on the Continent of Europe. He has many tales to tell of his experiences, and tell them he does...a retired restaurant property owner...rock ‘n roll dancer...practising nurse...retired rancher...artist...impoverished divorcee...pensioner...several retired teachers...a Frenchwoman whose father was a Resistance fighter...and of course there is moi, a writer.
It was arranged that we hold our celebration at the Hilltop Gallery, high on our mountain, with incredible views from the breathtakingly high enclosed verandah. It was my task to carry the Flag in its silver holder, and place it proudly , conspicuously in the middle of the table. A warm welcome from our Finnish hosts, and we tucked into the camembert and grapes, gruyere, French bread and butter set before us. Red wine flowed as we ate with gusto. Most of us were hungry, and there was not much food left on the platters. Good.
Then came the delicious onion soup with grilled, buttered sourdough. Lots of it, with seconds, and all demolished amid good conversation with anecdotes of our experiences while travelling France. Some good stories, some bad, but all tres interessant.
Our teacher quietly rose and put on a CD of La Marseillase, so we rose to sing with verve the gory words of the French anthem, our wine glasses aloft. A toast to la belle France, and the eating resumed. Dessert was being served.
Tarte tatin was delectable with individual puff pastry tarts smothered with caramellised apple and syrup, served with icecream. Tea and coffee followed. A few little speeches, and it was all over...until next year!