Today the maire and local councillors held the annual New Year's reception. As we are new to the village we decided that it would be a good idea to attend.
The invite said 11:30. Niall likes to be on time; I am, shall we say, more 'fluid' about this thing called "time" ... Anyway as a compromise we agreed to be there at 11:30 and to sit in the car until there was a sign of life if we were early; as I was pretty certain that no one would arrive much before 11:45. Well we were both right. There were people there on the dot of 11:30 but most ambled in around the 11:45 to 11:50 mark. Much too-ing and fro-ing of people wishing everyone Bonne Annee or meilleurs voeux (Happy New year or Best wishes) then took place and we said hello to some of the people we have got to know so far.
|New Year's reception at the salle de fetes|
Just after noon the mayor M. Villeret called for quiet and he and his local councillors stood at one end of the salle de fetes. First thing he did was call new inhabitants forward--so slightly surprised we found ourselves, along with a young french couple walking to the front. It felt just like being called to the front of the class :-). Anyway we were asked to briefly introduce ourselves--which we did and were given a warm welcome by M Villeret. He then gave a short speech and invited us all to raise a glass.
After that we found ourselves clutching a glass of bubbly and chatting to various people keen to hear why we chose Charnizay and were we living here permanently etc etc. A little later there was a tap on my shoulder and a gentleman spoke to me (Antoinette) in Dutch. For the last 15 yrs or so, he and his wife, have lived much of the time in the village; but they still maintain a house in The Netherlands as well. So at one point we had a conversation which was running 3 ways: French, English and Dutch. Great fun but quite tiring after a while to keep switching between all 3. We definitely felt lunch had been well earned!
It was a nice way to start 2011.