Saturday evening saw the latest Repas. This time the venue was at the Salle des fetes in the nearby town of Ambrieres. The meal was organised by the “Comite des fetes” of the small village of Lesbois, which is near to Gorron. Lesbois is too small to have a decent size village hall and so they used the one at Ambrieres which can take the numbers who want to attend.

The Lesbois repas is always well attended as it is a “Soiree Dansante” (an evening of dancing). There is also live music by a fantastic trio, Didier Gilbert et son orchestre. A man who plays the accordion and the trumpet usually at the same time! A woman on drums and another woman on keyboard who also sings. They are fantastic musicians and with some stamina as well. They started playing at 9-30pm and kept going without a break until the finish at 2am. Their repertoire was amazing as they did not repeat any song or music.

Didier Gilbert et son orchestre

We went with our friends Ian and Sarah and Paul and Chris. This time we also invited Ian and Sarah’s neighbour, Yves and his partner Yvette. Yves is the 80-year-old who helped Ian strip his barn roof. Neither Yves or Yvette speak English so we all had to practice using our French. We all got along very well and it was a delightful evening. Yves and Yvette love to dance and were on the dance floor all evening. For an 80-year-old Yves has remarkable stamina.

The food was also very good and was based around a “Pot au feu” a piece of beef very slowly cooked and served with boiled potato and carrots, cabbage and turnip. The juice from the cooking is used to make a soup with bread soaked in the juice. It is really nice and especially good when accompanied by several glasses of red Cotes du Rhone. The usual dessert of a piece of Camembert cheese and an apple tart with coffee to follow. All for 16 Euros each.

Repas at Ambrieres salle des fetes

This repas is very popular and there were over 300 people in attendance. The evening was long but we did not feel we could leave before Yves and Yvette as we had invited them. They wanted to dance until the end at 2am. Of course, then we had to go back to Ian and Sarah’s for coffee and a calva. Mrs. Parish and I eventually got to bed at 3-20am. We are not used to such late nights and spent plenty of the next day asleep on the sofa in front of the fire. No rest for Yves and Yvette who were off to a Tea Dance on the Sunday afternoon!

The salle des fetes in Ambrieres is very impressive and quite a size for a relatively small town of around 3000. It has space for sports and for theatre and musical events as well as smaller spaces for community activities. France acts to ensure that all communities have good facilities regardless of where you live. These buildings are all publicly paid for and supported by regional and national government. We don’t have to rely on draughty and dowdy church halls as we have excellent public services!

Petit, our newest cat has been with us for about 10 months and he has more than settled in. He has grown quite a lot and probably doesn’t come within the name Petit as he is now bigger than Moggie. Normally, Petit is first to the door at feeding time and wolfs his food down as fast as possible. However, yesterday morning he arrived for breakfast but was not the first to arrive. He didn’t appear quite so lively as he usually is. Then a major shock as he did not eat his food and wandered off to sit on the sofa.

I don't feel well!

We could not quite believe that Petit had refused a meal so we had a closer look at him and discovered a very extended stomach. He had obviously found something to eat during the night and eaten it all until he could eat no more. He probably came across a small animal like a young hare and had over indulged.

He groaned quite a lot and then collapsed on the sofa with his very full and very large stomach. He took to the sofa and clearly could not move. This was about 8am. On a usual morning we give the cats some treats to bribe then to leave the house and go outside. This is the only way to get them out. They like the treats and normally go quietly. Yesterday Petit did not move, he did not react to shaking the treat bag, nor to waving it under his nose. He was going nowhere!

He stayed on the sofa and did not move until we finally decided that he must need to go to the toilet at 2pm and so we picked him up and put him outside. He did not turn up for tea but returned at 9m for supper. You may have noticed just how many times during the day that our cats get fed. I do keep reminding them how well off they are! Petit was now ready for supper and seemingly back to normal!

Normal is not a word that you can easily use to describe the lives of our good friends Ian and Sarah who I have mentioned in the blog several times. Strange things tend to happen to them and this week was no different. Ian likes gadgets and decided that he needed a system to allow him and Sarah to communicate as they are in the process of doing up their house and large grounds which includes a small lake. Mobile phones can’t get a signal and this can cause problems if they are working at opposite ends of the property.

The answer appeared to be a walkie-talkie system. The first thing was to find out the French word for walkie-talkie. It turns out that in the French language it is a talkie-walkie! So, one was ordered and arrived last week and worked very well. Ian was keen to establish how well the talkie-walkie worked and sent Sarah to nearby towns as the system is supposed to work at 10kms. It didn’t work at Gorron at around 10km. This morning Sarah was dispatched to Ambrieres just a few km away. Sarah arrived and duly switched on the handset and called Ian. 

To her surprise and horror her call was immediately answered by the local Gendarmes (Police) who wanted to know who she was and where she was? Sarah, not surprisingly, panicked and turned off the handset and then drove home as quickly as possible. It was clearly a problem that the setting matched the police wavelength. Sarah suggested that it might be a good idea to read the instructions before they used the talkie-walkie again!!

I have to finish now as I have received a deputation on behalf of the hens as one of them has just wandered into the house and wants to discuss a food programme in line with that available to the cats!

Hen deputation

Over and out