Friday 15 July 2011

Quatorze juillet part 2

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. 
lantern procession

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....


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
How wonderful this all sounds to have been. Such a joy to be part of a friendly community and enjoy these rather simple pleasures together. The fireworks must have been fantastic, lighting up the sky for miles around no doubt. And, were the two of you not to be found dancing the light fantastic too?!!

paper lanterns said...

wow... really wonderful.I like it.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance--having lived in Edinburgh and been used to the magnificent firework displays there our expectations were modest; but they really were good.
As for tripping the light fantastic--more a case of gallumphing. We beat a retreat when BoneyM's Ma Baker came on ;-); though the line dancers seemed to like it.

@paper lanterns-- welcome! :-) and thanks for dropping in. It was really cute, even the smallest toddler was clutching a traditional lantern on a stick with a small candle inside.

Craig said...

It sounds great. The French just do that type of community event so much better than anyone else (as I just said over at Diane's blog). Lucky you.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Craig--It was and you're right. For a country not always noted for it's organisational skills they do do this type of thing well.
Largs all in a flutter with the Euro millions winner? [Don't tell me they live down the road...]