Sunday, September 09, 2007

Le repas de l'impasse

It's weird, sometimes, how days turn out. There I was, expecting just a lunch de l'impasse where I live, and then we would all go about our business as of teatime. The kids would play, we would eat, drink, chat and then go home. I would work on my book, do some ironing and we would go for supper chez NG.

I live in a cul de sac of, I think, 18 houses. Today, one of the residents had organised a street party. We would bring our garden tables, chairs, something to eat and drink, and get to know each other if we didn't already.

I made 3 pizzas and some coleslaw, and took a 3-litre box of chilled rosé. The children stuffed themselves while us adults took an aperitif, then they all buggered off while the barbeque was going and we contined to eat and drink. The tables had been set up at the bottom of the hill, with parasols, as the sun was pretty ferocious today - one of those balmy indian summer September days. We stood around until we'd drunk so much we had to sit and start eating.

The impasse was designed for young families, but since the rise in house prices, it's mostly Parisian retirees that can afford the little houses although there are enough to rent (like mine) which are still within the reach of those families for whom they were originally intended (to keep the schools open!).

We chatted, drank, ate, and then one of the guys fetched his electric guitar and started on his repertoire of songs, inviting us all to join in if we liked. I love singing, and used to belong to choirs right up until I went to do my Masters in the UK (when I retook up my viola) so was delighted to be able to sing casually with my neighbours. Of course, most of the songs were French, but even if I didn't know them, by the second refrain I could usually hum along.

When I wasn't singing, I was listening to the others and it was all so pleasant and convivial - one of those little gems of a day where you're at peace with the world just hanging out, not worrying about drinking too much because the car is in the drive, and everyone is getting merry with you.

Eventually, I had to put the boys to bed (9pm) but the hard core guys might still be down there drinking out the evening.

When one thinks of counting one's blessings as opposed to moaning about what one doesn't have, I reckon I have things pretty well taped here. I'm surrounded by friendly neighbours who enjoy a good laugh, a drink or two and a convivial evening. I work in a pleasant lab with pals I adore even though the work itself is crappy. I live in a lovely village which is peaceful, secure and perfect for bringing up the boys, where I also have NG. Quand j'y pense, je me dis que, quand même, ça roule. Je suis où je veux être. C'est ça, être heureux (en partie).


  1. Me too...I'm lucky to have you.

    For some reason cul-de-sac is often rather like an inisular feeling. Years ago when the children were small that house too was in a cul-de-sac near Paris, and we all got on like islanders and the kids too.

    Glad you all had a super time - and see you tonite instead!

  2. That sounds like it was fun kind of street party. Not a cucumber and egg sandwich in sight.

  3. Not a sandwich in sight!

    Loadsa pizza though, and booze!


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