That End of Term Feeling

Sign of Summer

I haven’t had a lot of time for blogging recently. Things are hotting up as we prepare for our fête at Teysseroles (more of that below) and the Parisot choir rehearses itself intensively for the concert at the end of June. But there’s a definite end-of-term feeling creeping into things and the French are very good at celebrating it.

When I lived in England there were no particular events to mark the end of the year for yoga classes or Italian lessons (yes, I took Italian two years running at night school and a fat lot of good it ever did me. Taking French classes would have been better). We just said, “Have a good summer,” or not even that sometimes and pushed off till September.

This is not allowed in France. The end of the summer term (and we haven’t even got there yet) must be celebrated with a convivial meal. And what a good idea that is.

Today, my exercise class (gymnastique douce) met up for lunch at le Relais Mont Le Viaur at Saint-André de Najac. Despite not having been to the class for months, owing to conflicting commitments, I received a warm welcome, as did the SF, who always tags along if there’s a good meal in prospect.

For €12.50 we settled down to a five-course meal with wine and coffee included. Mind you, this was a French do: the SF and I were the only foreigners. So, 14 people got through only 1½ litres of wine. C’est normal. A party of Brits would have knocked back that volume per head. I am exaggerating only slightly.

My yoga class finished for the summer this week. There are only four of us plus Claudine, our teacher, but we are not just going to melt into the countryside for three months. The year must be rounded off properly, so we’re all meeting up for a lunch in Villefranche next Friday. Again, I’m the only foreigner and they speak Aveyronnais French so I might be a bit lost at times. But it’s nice to feel that they consider I belong.

This brings me to Teysseroles, our local parish church, which we are helping to restore. Our fund-raising fête will take place on Sunday 24th June with – naturally – a slap-up meal as the centrepiece, following an open-air mass. There’s a lot to do beforehand to prepare for the 200+ people whom we hope will turn up (180 last year). We are also producing a short history of Teysseroles in two versions – French and English – for sale at the fête for a token sum. For some reason, the production of the latter has fallen to me, although originally it was my job simply to do the English translation. This is taking up some time, involving delicate negotiations with the ladies at the Mairie about the publication.

Even here, although the work is by no means finished, the end-of-term feeling is creeping in. We have a whole day’s work at the site planned this Friday, punctuated by lunch, which I know from experience will extend to a couple of hours. However, we need a bit of pampering before the onslaught next week leading up to the event itself.

Finally, the Choeur de Parisot is rehearsing like mad for the concert on 30th June at 20h30 in the church at Parisot. Again, a bit of pre-event pampering is going to take place. Aline is hosting a party at her place on Sunday lunchtime and the committee is offering us un verre after next week’s rehearsal. This is presumably to sweeten the pill of the extended rehearsals (from 1½ to 2½ hours: phew!) now being imposed by conductor Peter Nowfel.

I almost forgot the library. Since we’re open all year round I don’t know if an end-of-term celebration is likely but I’m sure we can find an excuse.

After this lot, I’m rather looking forward to a couple of months off.

Copyright © 2012 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved

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About Vanessa Couchman

My husband and I moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I am fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs and enjoy seeking out the reality behind the myths. I run my own copywriting business and write short stories and the occasional novel in my spare time. My husband appears here as the SF, which stands for Statistics Freak, owing to his penchant for recording numbers about everything.
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6 Responses to That End of Term Feeling

  1. Peter Nowfel says:

    That swine Nowfel!

  2. amelie88 says:

    We Americans are the same way. End of the year involves graduations, recitals, concerts, talent shows, school fairs… It is endless! I think my parents are relieved they no longer have to attend these. My sister finally graduated from university a few weeks ago (and that involved a 6+ hour car trip on my parents’ part) and that is the last graduation for awhile!

  3. Sue Whatmough says:

    Yes, I’ve noticed how the French love to celebrate and we do too. Any excuse – we even had an office party to celebrate moving into our new office across the yard. No shenanigans behind the filing cabinet though, so it wasn’t a genuine office party. How a lovely time at all your shindigs!

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