Gosh these weeks are flying by. Doesn’t work get in the way?!
So, there I was, bundle of not-sure and will-it-be-okay and all that in anticipation of our neighbours arriving for our apero’s on the Saturday.
At least we knew some people were coming. Unlike the trend set when we sent out invitations to our children’s first French birthday parties, many of our invitees actually responded. Some even with regrets. Terribly nice.
Appropriately late, and according to the rules I’d read, people started to arrive.
Four pm 16h is on the early side for wine, even for me, and a few people opted for juice (I had bought some good stuff in bottles, as advised by fellow, been-in-France-longer, bloggers) but we were very happy to have a full choice of chilled white, rosé, cremant or even red for the daring. Rosé was clearly the go, and a couple of people brought bottles. Success number one. We had the right wine. The right colour, anyway. No one brought food – though I’d read that bringing a plate was the norm, and our English neighbour (whose Englishness is mostly cancelled out by her being married to a Frenchman and being fluent in French) brought a freshly cooked Victoria sponge. Go the Brits!
Bisous were exchanged and our new neighbours were all incredibly welcoming and seemed genuinely delighted to be here. Some of them knew each other. Okay, most of them knew each other, a bit if not very well indeed. This meant the chat was relaxed and dare I say… fun? Even though there isn’t a word in French that means ‘fun’ (they use ‘fun’ if they need it) which must mean that it can’t have actually been fun. How can you have fun if you can’t express it? It was ‘très geniale’ in any case. I’d hoped it would be pleasant, but ‘fun’ or ‘très geniale’ was beyond my expectations. We relaxed, smiled, and gabbled away. In French. Go us!
A red horror
No one looked askance at my aperos as I roped the children in to pass them around. No one pulled a face when they sipped their wine. At least, I didn’t notice if they did. So far so excellent. Someone finally asked for red so I dispatched the Mr (he was primary bar person) to sort it. He reappeared not long afterwards with a somewhat generous glass of red. Our guest exclaimed that it was rather early for wine, then quaffed the lot.
People kept trickling in until it really was quite a party. A new arrival asked for red too. I went to find the open bottle. Nothing doing,. Kitchen? Nope. Dining table? Nope. Garden table? Nope. Then I realised with a sinking heart that my dear husband, rather than uncorking one of the hopefully decent bottled reds I’d bought, had decanted a glass of our every-day ‘Chateau de Box’ red-wine-in-a-box and handed that to our new neigbour. HORRORS! It was only the second box we’d ever tried and not nearly as good as the first. Oh well. My new guest had been waiting long enough I wasn’t about to trawl down to the basement for a bottle to uncork… Chateau de Box it was.
Where we live is ace. Our neighbours are ace. Of course it’s the friendly, outgoing ones who come to do’s like ours, so they’re a bit self-regulating anyway. Although you could get the local snoops, I guess. But I don’t think we did. There was no sense whatsoever of being judged on what we offered or didn’t offer, or that we could in any way have got it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
Buy rosé. I avoided things in fancy looking novelty bottles and anything claiming a specific fruit flavour. Our guests brought rosés in fancy novelty bottles and one clearly declared as ‘pamplemousse’. Take that, you so-called apero-afficionados who put the fear of Napoleon into me. Bah!
Chillax about the nibbles. I was glad I didn’t buy anything that looked processed, but really – I don’t think anyone would have cared.
Speak French. Anyone who’s turned up is there because they want to be. Because they like meeting poeple and love an excuse for an early wine on a Saturday. Drink the wine, loosen the jaw, go for it. But do look out – that early wine can go to the head and you don’t want to be pegged as the drunken loutish Brits. We don’t drink like that, but I was aware of the ease with which the cool rosé was slipping down and reminded myself not to refill too often!
Apparently our street ‘do’ halloween.
I hope you enjoyed this post on Jumping Off Books. You might like some of my other posts like “Time to knock the expats on the head”, or one from round about this time last year “Haphazard Happy”. I’ve been trying to blog more regularly, but found it trickier since we moved – still settling into a new routine.
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