I have to say that I am exceptionally lucky with my neighbour, as she is certifiably insane (in the nicest sense of the word) and enormous fun to be with and a non-stop talker so we never have those awkward pauses
Her husband is her opposite. Quiet and reserved .
It was a family affair with four of her five children present, three grandchildren, nephews and the indominable Tata Lili, who despite her very advanced years, spent the evening blagging cigarettes of anyone and everyone then smoking them furtively. She's a delightful character.
Nephew Thierry was there doing his Donald Duck impressions and sneaking up on me and shouting 'Cocorico' at the top of his voice. This was punishment for giving my very vocal cockerel to Ma Chere Voisine when his non-stop crowing got the better of me. Poor Thierry was sleeping in his 'camping-car' by the barn and was awoken bright and early every morning when the cock started his regular 40 second crowing at about 4am.
Big surprise of the evening was another (recently divorced) neighbour turning up with a recently separated mother from school on his arm. This particular lady is no favourite of mine. She's not from 'le coin' and is very superior. She's been introduced to me loads of times but then the next time we meet she acts as if we have never met.
I often see her at the bus stop in the morning dropping her daughters off. I'm the one in the pyjamas and dressing gown with bed hair and last night's mascara making me look like a latter day Chi Chi. She's always immaculately coiffed with full makeup and just the fact that she's dressed is impressive in itself. (OK, OK, I'm just jealous!!) I've often sat in the car and waited for her to finish buying her baguette before I venture out in public. Just imagine my delight when, just before the end of term, I espied her, beautifully turned out as ever but wearing red fluffy slippers. Hooray! There is a god!
Anyway, so here she is on my turf, among my neighbours, so I thought it only right to 'fait les bises' (mwah, mwah). She almost visibly recoiled and regarded me as one would a ripe, smelly dog turd on the bottom of your shoe. Ah, there's nothing quite like an imperious French woman!
They sat entwined, like Love's Young Dream, even disappearing off for half an hour and returning looking very smug! There was much whispering behind hands that night I can tell you.
So, piggy was duly roasted and was quite delicious although I was a bit put off when one of Chantal's sons-in-law very ceremoniously placed the charred head in front of me. I like to think this is some sort of rural custom and not a concerted attempt to offend the sensibilities of a poor English lass. DD declared herself vegetarian (except for sausages) and threatened to 'liberate the piggy'. Happily it only lasted until the next day.
The birthday cake was delicious. 6 chocolate cakes, each representing 10 years, stuffed full of sparklers and candles. Guy was delighted and made us all sing 'Happy Birthday', 'Joyeuse Anniversaire' and 'Cumpleaños feliz' more times than I care to remember.
The evening was cool but the predicted rain didn't appear and we all enjoyed watching the lunar eclipse from the cover of the awning that had been put up for the occasion. Us southern softies disappeared about 2am but the hard-partying French kept going until about 6am.
The following day, an invite arrived to come over at midi to finish up all the food left from the night before. Romu, Chantal's son-in-law bought out a bottle of his home made Mirabelle eau de vie and once again I was relieved that I don't drink.
Neighbour and Mme Nez dans l'air didn't show but rumour has it she may be moving in next week. YIKES! I'll never be able to be seen in the garden without the full slap now.