Garden Party

A couple of weeks ago we were mulling over how to celebrate our wedding anniversary when we got an email from Les Jardins d’Eyrignac announcing that they were having their very first Garden Party to herald the start of the Summer.

We are great fans of their White Picnic evenings ( see http://dordogne-gites.info/balmy-days/) so thought it would be a perfect event for our happy occasion. We organised to go along with 4 friends – after 34 years of marriage and now empty nesters we reckoned we have more than enough opportunities for romantic dinners à deux !!

Dress code was “Country Chic” and there was a competition for the best flowery hat. This was music to my ears as I’ve always been a sucker for any kind of fancy dress. Just a couple of months ago the Pti Bowl, a new food takeaway business in Jayac launched the first of their music and food evenings and also ran a contest for the silliest hat. I couldn’t resist the challenge even although I only just had time to cobble something together. I ended up with some half baked creation nowhere near worthy of a prize but when we got there I was the ONLY one out of 65 people with a hat on so win I did, and I managed to get myself a free dessert!

I was determined to do better this time but again time was against me and I ended up with a flowery hat with a couple of nods to family nostalgia ….but I knew it would take something more out of the ordinary to win the luxury hot air balloon tickets on offer 🙂

country hatThe worthy winner did just that with a fetching number made entirely out of chicken wire and flowers.

Chapeau gagnant!!

Up , up and away with the Chapeau gagnant!!

I did genuinely congratulate the lucky lady of course, while secretly vowing to think more out of the box in future 🙂 !

We always managed to do really well in our pre France days winning several awards at the local annual fancy dress parade so I need to get back into that mode!

gone with the wind

Emma and Alistair as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable in one of our fancy dress entries from way back when the nest was full …

More photos of our heyday entries here.  But I digress; back to the Garden Party!

The storms were threatening but owners, Patrick and Capucine Sermadiras were determined to go ahead with the event outdoors and we were met with a warm welcome in the sandy court yard of their home. Not so practical for those sporting open toes sandals who no doubt found themselves going home with orange feet!

Very convivial U shaped seating area

Very convivial U shaped seating area

Music flowed out of the rooms in the manoir while dinner was being cooked on the stylish brasero barbecue ( the next in- thing!) , one of which was being raffled at the end of the evening. Sadly, we didn’t win that either.

Cooking dinner on the stylish Basero BBQ

Cooking dinner on the stylish Brasero BBQ

An evening of food and chat followed and the wine flowed until the threatening storms grew closer and everyone started heading home. The gardens themselves are a true delight and until the end of October there is a display of Pierre Treilhes amazing sculptures which are well worth a visit in their own right.

All in all a very pleasant, sophisticated evening – for more photos, have a peek over on our Facebook page. For us it didn’t have quite the same charm and appeal as the white picnic though which is something really special to go to!

Here are a few of photos White Picnics gone by just to whet your appetite.

Nostalgia

one of our many visits to the White Picnic

We’ll be looking forward to going again this year – hopefully we might see one or two of you there!!

 

Christmas Tree Memories

Yes, unbelieveably another 12 months have rolled on by. Life has carried on in spite of all the challenges and changes 2021 has thrown our way. Time again for festive preparations and a lot of reflection.

It’s been a tough year for us – we have lost family members and dear friends, some departed from this life far too young. It hits home that every moment spent with friends and family is precious, not only on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries but also , and if not more so, on those other mundane, “ordinary” days which we can all take so much for granted. We really should appreciate them all!

This was very much at the front of my mind when this year’s decorations were going up.

I love our Christmas Tree. Over the years it has become so much more than just a symbol of a Biblical event or a festive holiday.

Every year when I open up the box of tree decorations, I don’t see just baubles and glitter – I see me, sitting my teenage exams with my trusty mascot, truly believing it would make a difference ( on the whole, it didn’t do too badly 😉 !).

christmas decoration teenage mascot

Trusty exam mascot from way back in 1979!

I see Emma & Alistair at nursery school, beaming with pride clutching the peg dolls they made for their Mum and Dad.

pegdolls made by emma and ali 2 (1296 x 864)

Emma and Alistair’s Christmas peg dolls made at nursery when they were 3 years old

I see Christmasses past when each year Santa left them a new decoration in their stocking to add to the tree ( he still does 😉 !!). Keys from houses we’ve lived in bring back visions of entrance halls, paint colours, and the delicious, welcoming aroma of meals bubbling on the stove after a long day at work. Wedding mementos, discarded toys, and an array of special decorations, hand chosen to match the decor in Caddon View, the hotel in Innerleithen which we ran for 10 years before moving to France.

decos montage 2021 (1280 x 908)

An array of souvenirs which have found their way on to the Christmas tree

All those things which if they hadn’t found a home on the tree would have been relegated to the back of a drawer, never to be seen for years or worse still,would be languishing in the landfill somewhere when someone ( usually my other half 😉 ! ) eventually decided they were just clutter and not worth keeping.

Talking of  keeping things, I also have some treasured nativity figures, hand crafted for me by my gorgeous sister when I was about 14 years old. The dough is now crumbling away with age ( they are pushing 45 years now so not exactly surprising!). The angel has lost a wing and its nose and Mary’s veil is hanging on by a thread, so they are well past their sell-by date but every year I wrap them up carefully and will them to hang on for just  one  more Christmas.  I had high hopes of passing them down the generations but alas the home firing techniques back then left much to be desired. Jesus and Joseph are still holding up well though so  at least half of the ensemble might last a few years longer!

(She also knitted me an enterprising jumper in a fetching pale blue with a snowy hilly landscape scene on the front – that hasn’t stood the test of time quite so well 😉 !! )

1 crib R (1504 x 1001)

Home made dough nativity figurines now pushing 45 years old!

The tree itself brings back memories of years of work when I was a retail  manager in Shoe City – it stood proudly at the front door of the shop, welcoming in thousands of customers and it reminds me of the many hours spent there with my team, some challenging but all very rewarding. I bought it when the chain of shops was sold and we were all made redundant. It’s been in our home for 25 years now and it’s not looking as sharp as it used to, but with its party attire on, it can still turn a few heads 😉 !!

the tree (896 x 1346)

25 years old and still going strong ( as long as it’s in its Christmas finery!!)

It will be a sad day for me (and the tree) when Emma and Alistair finally have their own homes and will no doubt want to take their own “memories” with them.

I do hope they will though – nice to keep family traditions alive.

A very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and safe 2022 to you all!