Well we did have an excellent time yesterday, the village's comité des fetes - there are only 503 of us, so it's a small place - had done us all proud. It all happend in the old field down by the river where, in summer, the mairie puts up a large chapiteau (marquee) which can be hired by the public.
|horse & cart rides|
In the afternoon the kids were having a great time on a bouncy castle and inflatable slide. In addition, there were rides on a tiny piebald pony as well as trips in a horse and cart. We never did get to the bottom of who won the 'maisons ou fermes fleurie' competition; think the prize giving had taken place by the time we got there.
We trundled home having decided to come back for the lantern procession and fireworks and pass on the dinner accompanied by the 'trompes de chasse' (hunting horns).
|trompes de chasse in action|
In the event, we needen't have worried, the hunting horns floated up clear as a bell while we were having dinner on our terrace. To honour the occasion we had a glass of rosé methode traditionelle with dinner and then watched as dusk slowly settled on the landscape. The day had been sunny, if not very warm, and a huge moon rose in clear skies.
At ten thirty we went back down into the village. We were hailed by the mairie's secretary and told that there had been a last minute change of plan--the lantern procession was now not starting from the mairie, instead it was all to happen down on the field.
|paper lanterns at the ready|
At the chapiteau, the trompes de chasse were still parping away -- conversation with friends we ran into was almost impossible! Excited kids were trotting about with paper lanterns which occasionally burst into flame due to careless handling. Then the lights in the chapiteau went out and the children, accompanied by the parping, paraded round the field.
When they had completed a full circuit there was a general re-organisation of the crowd and the fireworks started. They were--in a word-- excellent!! A really lovely display framed by the huge moon and the outline of the village on the rise.
Whoever arranged it made sure that we were treated to very professional show, and ... it went on.... each time we thought it must finish there was another burst which lit up the sky. Charnizay had done itself very proud!
The lights went back on, conversations re-started and kiddies headed to the dancefloor where the disco had started up. Many Charnizéens looked very ready to dance the rest of the night away....