Each July, we go to a gathering of all the neighbours. It’s a Repas. It’s a barbeque garden party, unless it is raining, in which case, we all move into a large shed.
Tables and chairs are set out. We all bring along our own cutlery, plates and wine glasses. We each contribute a fee which covers the purchase of the aperitif, the meat, the bread and the wine. Each family brings along either a dessert or a starter to add to the menu.
On arrival, around 12.30, we are offered the aperitif, a sort of punch, with a considerable punch, a drink that is very fruity and very alcoholic, it is rum based. The drinks do not cause a problem because we all live within walking distance of each other.
Almost immediately, the old hands light the barbeque fire. This is set in an oil drum cut in two from top to bottom. They burn local oak which has been saved for the purpose.
The aperitif is continually served until it runs out. After that, we move on to a fine red wine or, maybe, a fine rose or cider.
On the barbeque large juicy pork chops sizzle away alongside giant Toulouse sausages.
It is a festive occasion which goes on until about five o’clock. Everyone goes home. There is always an amount of wine left as well as chops and sausages. At around 7 pm, most of the people of the neighbourhood return to the fray to finish off what is left of the food and wine. The festivities go in into the late evening when the men engage in such games as Boule and the evening ends with coffee and calvados.
The pity is that we seldom see anything of each other during the rest of the year, but we do live in the countryside hidden behind our hedges and trees.
Next chapter: Chapter 110: A memorable meal