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Archive for May, 2012

Last Saturday we were invited to a neighourbood get together La Fête des Voisins
which literally means neighbourhood party. This is a traditional get together which takes place all across France albeit later in May generally.

When living in Lyon, this was the type of get together that I’d watch on the television but never see or even hear about in real life, so when we got a note through the letter box some weeks ago I was delighted.

Since moving to the French countryside I’ve not really met that many people and have remained in close contact with my Lyon based friends. It can be quite a lonely existence but the friends I have made more than make up for quantity in quality.

It’s said here that people are wary of foreigners and when I say foreigners, I don’t mean people from other countries but people from other parts of France! So I guess I am a super dooper foreigner for people in these parts!

Anyway, back to La Fête des Voisins. We’d been invited to Chez Gael which was one of our neighbours although I didn’t have a clue which one or where they lived. Our neighbourhood is quite extensive and to walk round it takes me 35 minutes and there aren’t that many houses.

I managed to locate the house quite easily last Saturday by walking down the lane whilst pushing Little Piglet (yes, I’ve decided on a name). I couldn’t but notice the huge marquees outside a house at the top of the hill, so I was guessing that either the party was there or I’d be gate crashing someone’s wedding reception… Thankfully upon arrival my destination was confirmed as being the correct place! Ouf!

I’d been told to bring along something for the aperitif or for dessert and in Mr Piglet’s absence (he was working) I took a long a bottle of white and some crisps. Good job I had Little Piglet in her pushchair as I was confronted with lots of home made specialties from the other guests making my offering look very basic. Little Piglet’s presence more than made up my lack of food however as everyone cooed over her, saying how gracious she is.

Eventually Mr Piglet turned up and it was great meeting all the people who live nearby. It was frequently commented how people were glad that the previous owners had gone and how they were very cold and snubbed people. We chatted and met so many people, I can only remember their faces not their names or where they live so it’s going to be fun over the next few months working out where everyone lives and checking out their names on their letter boxes.

I even met a lady who grew up in our house, it belonged to her great grandmother and her bedroom was Little Piglet’s room! She is very fond of the house and hopefully she’ll accept my invitation to drop in for coffee one day and tell me more about the house and how it was before it was renovated.

After a while the heavens opened and as Mr Piglet had returned to work and I hadn’t the foresight to bring an umbrella or rain cover I was kind of stuck, baby in tow and wondering when the rain would stop so I could run home. General debate amongst the neighbours decided that it wasn’t wise for me to run home in the wet so a car was arranged and a kind soul (the retired village Doctor!) drove us home.

We were made to feel truly welcome and it felt great to finally meet up with our neighbours and it feels even better to be able to greet them when I’m out on a stroll or working in the garden.

Vive La Fête des voisins !

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We celebrated the day with family and some close friends and Baby Piglet met some of her UK relatives for the first time.

Happy Birthday

I had decided to have quite a laid back affair and a few weeks before the party I realized I had invited too many people to have a sit down lunch. What to do? The weather forecast was changeable and the weather leading up to the party was absolutely awful; rain and wind.

Thankfully Mr Piglet came up with the idea (the day before) of having the party in the barn, so the English guests who had already arrived set about clearing the space and making it look a bit more partyish.

All the guests enjoyed the rather haphazard setting and loved the rural feel of the location complete with cows in our fields. Much wine and champagne was drunk and much cake eaten, including a gorgeous Victoria Sponge cake which an English friend had made for me as I desperately wanted to have a traditional birthday cake but am useless at baking.

I had been trying to teach Baby Piglet to blow out her candles for a couple of weeks and rather than blowing she had learned to whistle. When the time came for her to blow the candle she stuck her finger out and touched it instead! Thank goodness we were able to quickly blow it out for her! It actually looked like she had put it out with her finger, talk about a Harry Potter moment.

Cake time!

Baby Piglet (I’m going to have to think of another name for her now that she’s one, any suggestions?) was spoilt rotten, a new playroom, a new tricycle which she loves, a farm set complete with animals (essential for a baby growing up in a farming community), Lau Lau from the Waybuloo series, toy car, mobile phone… you name it, she got it!

It was a fantastic day that lasted well into the night with a boules tournament after Baby Piglet had gone to bed. I think Baby Piglet will remember this special day, she enjoyed being paraded around in her tricycle and waving to everyone with her special Queen wave as she went. What a contented little baby we have!

Proud

Our UK relatives stayed on for a few days afterwards and Baby Piglet had great fun getting to know her cousin and Uncle and Aunty. There’s only 5 months difference between them but he’s already as big as her and we can see that they’re going to get up to plenty of mischief in the future!

With her Cousin

I can’t believe that it has been a year already, a year where life changing events have taken place, a year of emotion, of sadness, worry and extreme happiness. Baby Piglet has taught me so much in the short time she has been here, she completes me and I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her.

Proud Daddy

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