This week there has been further disruption to the smooth writing of the blog, from the World cup. On Tuesday we were all set up to watch England play their semi-final and earn the chance to play France is the final. Sadly, it was not to be and England lost to Croatia 2-1 after extra-time. After our disappointment had worn off a little we came to realise that it may have been a good thing. Having spent the past month in the bar at Oisseau supporting the French and getting in with the French supporters it would have been a little difficult turning up and shouting for England.

So, we adjusted our focus and became once again true supporters of France and got ourselves prepared for the final on Sunday and another great evening at the bar. This time there were more of us as we have friends staying with us for the week. It so happens that our local friends Ian and Sarah also had guests and so we all booked into the bar. There being 12 in total on our table.

Our friends from England are good colleagues I used to work with and have been over to see us many times. They are Alan “magic dice” Martin and Debi “Frenchie” Potter. Alan is of course famous for his outrageous luck in throwing dice in the game of backgammon. He is rumoured to have sold his soul to the devil. So far this week he has won two games to my one and it has been a case of those magic dice working for him!

Debi, has no interest in Football but has a great fondness for French culture and wine and was therefore keen to accompany us to the bar to soak up the whole Frenchness of the experience, and to have one or two drinks.

We got to the bar at 4pm for a 5pm kick off, to make sure we got a seat and some beer in ready for the start. As the game was on a Sunday we were a little surprised to see the local priest Father Joseph turn up and bag his seat. It was Father Joseph who got a little carried away in the semi-final and shouted “merde” when France had a shot blocked. Anyway, he clearly had been let off his Sunday duties and was there to bring god’s help to assist the French team.

There were unsurprisingly lots of French people there of all ages and both men and women all made up with the French blue, white and red colours of the French flags. There were also lots of French tricolours and plenty of beer and wine flowing. It was a good game and France scored first and the bar erupted. Then Croatia equalised and the mood turned to depression and lots of moans and groans. Then there was a handball. The whole bar called for a penalty, a clear penalty for France. The video replay was called for and the referee went to look at his TV screen. The French and our group were shouting at the screen and begging for a penalty. I think at this stage Father Joseph must have intervened as the ref suddenly made a decision and awarded a penalty.

The bar awaits the penalty

Antoine Griezmann stepped up to take it and you could hear a pin drop as the tension held the bar in its grip. He scored! The bar went wild. France then dominated the game and went 4-1 up. Being the French there was a little drama to test the nerves as the goalkeeper Lloris gifted a goal to the Croatians. However, we held out and France became World Champions. The bar went wild and the young lads rushed outside to let off fireworks and to jump on top of their transit van and went off down the road, flags waving and horns hooting.

The French score the penalty and Debi is impressed

Time for a coffee and a brandy to calm the nerves and Anne-Sophie brought round sparkling Saumur wine so we could all toast the great victory with shouts of “Vive la France” and “allez les bleus”.  After several more drinks we watched the cup being awarded and we decided to return home. We found out that the bar had stayed open for more celebrations until 5am.

To the victors the spoils!

The next day we all went back to the bar for lunch. We discovered that Father Joseph was there and I reckoned he had been there all night. We had a lovely meal which seemed to go on for most of the afternoon, helped along with another gift of sparkling wine from Anne-Sophie to once again drink to the French success. The French do celebrating their victories and when the cup came back to Paris there were over a million people in the Champs Elysees.

It is now Wednesday, and my first opportunity to get back and finish the blog, which may be a little shorter than usual. Our guests are still here and I am afraid that the backgammon tournament is not going well. That Alan Martin and his magic dice effect. He always seems to have the luck at the right time and the right throw of the dice. I think I may need to have a word with Father Joseph and see if he can have a word in high places so that my luck may change. 

Maybe we should stick to a game called Carcassone. It is a strategy game and there are no dice involved at all. So far, I have won one game and so has Debi. Alan, without the magic dice has yet to register a victory!

It is our guests last day and we are soon off to La Marjolaine for a super lunch at this lovely restaurant. It has duck with cherries on the menu, which is Debi’s favourite so she is very excited and keen to once again sample the French experience.

I will give a full report on the visit, the meal and the backgammon next week. In the meantime, we are off to have an aperitif before the meal.

Bonne semaine