Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wow, a social event!

"I've got us tickets to the soiree du vin in the village" announced the CH with a flourish the other day.

'To the what?' I asked.

The Soiree du Vin, as it turned out, was a fundraiser for our local cat charity, Les Amis des Chats. Wine tasting, nibbles and good company in the old hotel in the village that has now been renovated as a frou-frou art gallery. Fabulous! Except for one teeny weeny thing, I don't actually drink wine (meths and other assorted cleaning products yes.... wine, well, to be honest it's wasted on me if it doesn't come in a screw top bottle). Still, never mind, I was quite sure the CH could help me out there.

But first, what to wear? In La France Profonde, I have little need for a posh frock and tiara. In the summer it's light cotton flowing stuff and in the winter anything that doesn't go with wellies is pointless.

I rummaged through my cupboards in the hope of finding something that might fall into one (or even all) of the following categories a) vaguely fashionable b) clean c) still fits me. The last one was arguably the hardest.

I dismissed the gorgeous velvet suit I'd worn for my wedding (not as long ago as you may think) as hopelessly dressy, the MaxMara suits I'd worn in my days of gainful employment had little chance of doing up (note to self: you ain't never gonna get in them so just give them to charity) but the green bias-cut skirt looked hopeful and it even went with a vaguely new olive green cardigan. That's the clothes sorted out.

Now for the footwear.

Surely I must have something more than the green wellies or sky blue crocs with flowers on that are my normal footwear and my brown flatties really should have gone in the bin months ago. Time to bite the bullet and go in.

In the deepest darkest mouldering depths of my wardrobe, under the piles of painting clothes and 'things that were put out of the way' when the house went on the market were to be found a stack of real, proper grown up shoes.

I hauled them out.

A pair of gorgeous Marc Jacobs sandals - slightly mildewed

Another lovely pair of LK Bennett sandals - not bad nick. I put my feet in them......blimey, when did my feet get so big... or should I say wide!

Ah, those beautful Olivia Morris slingbacks - wrong colour even if I could manage to walk in spike heels.

Eventually I found the perfect ones. A pair of plain Escade court shoes. But wait.... what's this? Heels! I haven't worn heels in, well, nearly five years.

I slipped them on, a little tight but I'd manage. That's me sorted.

So, the evening arrived, I got dressed up in my finery and put on my shoes. So far, so good.

Half an hour later I was back in the bottom of the cupboard. How on earth did I ever wear these things? The balls of my feet were already numb. Another suitable candidate (or should it be candidates) was located, still had a heel but it didn't feel quite so much like walking with a pair of skyscrapers strapped to my feet and with less risk of broken ankles on our uneven French pavements.

Off we set, with the CH looking smart in his suit that hasn't fitted him in years - all that hard work he's been doing but it's soooo unfair. How come life in France makes him thinner and I've just piled on the pounds?

Now the great thing about any social event in La France Profonde is the lack of social conventions. Back in the motherland, a wine tasting evening would require, as a minimum, smart casual. In France it can mean anything from Chanel and diamonds to a clean tee shirt. Sure enough, the great and the good of the village were gathered in droves and the wine was flowing. We wandered round, him with a glass of wine, me with orange juice, looking at the paintings and objets d'art on display.

I admired a sort of basin type thingy on a tall wooden stand. Closer inspection revealed it to be a wine spittoon so that people could be proper wine tasters. He'd entirely misread his audience as there was no way they were going to let one drop escape, never mind a whole mouthful!

The evening progressed as expected.

The highlight of the evening was a silent auction. We perused the lots and listened to the various comments.

A painting by well known artist XXXX.
"Looks like it was painted by a child"

A resin sculpture by a well known local artist.
I honestly wouldn't give it to my worst enemy

Four hours with a builder.
Now you're talking I thought. No, it's just for building works. Damn!

An afternoon's quad biking with the lovely M. Snakehips himself
Not sure I really fancy having to watch his hands instead of the countryside (Mme O'D, I look forward to hearing how it went).

An Elm tree - guaranteed disease free
"How much did it cost?" asked someone of the donor. "About 8 euros", he replied. Some silly bugger paid 35 euros for it. Still, it's all for charity.

With these charity auctions I'm never sure if you're supposed to bid a ridiculous amount for absolutely nothing or come in below it's real worth and try and bag a bargain. As it turned out, we weren't really in the market for any of the lots, there not being one called 'Job for the CH', who really needs to get back to work.

A few went unsold and the Master of Ceremonies auctioned them off. The lovely Mme P gamely offered an opening bid and look vaguely disquieted to end up with all of them! Seems like the 'crise' had reached even our distant corner of the world.

By now my feet, squished into their ridiculously unsuitable footwear, were throbbing and the walk was more Dick Emery than Erin O'Connor. Every step was becoming agony and I was spending more and more time with my shoes off, cooling my feet on the tiled floor.

"Can we go now?" I asked.

One social occasion a year is more than enough - so that's 2009's out of the way but at least it was a success for the charity, which is the main thing.

No comments: