My two pals at work - B & W - and I have our birthdays within 5 days of each other. This week in fact. Every year we get together and have some sort of a bash.
Sadly, this year will be the last time we can do this as both are heading back to the States at the end of the year. To celebrate this poignant event, we decided to have a picnic for the nuclear group plus partners/kids. First problem was where to hold it. Near, not so near, sea, river, wood - so many choices, so difficult to choose!
Eventually I suggested the spot near St Laurent le Minier which is half an hour away, with a proper picnic spot - ie with tables - shady, by a river, a old stone bridge and a waterfall. That was Plan A. In case of rain, we thought we should come up with a Plan B too, but this never transpired, so it was a good thing the weather held up!
Being bright, well-organised folk (pals B & W are scientists), we drew up a list of who'd bring what which is more fun than just bringing a bunch of sandwiches each, especially as pal B is nifty cook. Pal W was assigned the chickens - two roast chickens from the market, all freshly cooked, warm and fragrant. He was also assigned the bread, but forgot about that in his dilligence with the chickens, or rather he told his lovely wife about the chickens but not the bread...
I brought apero snackerals - houmous, Tzsizaki, Lebanese bread, cachou nuts - and dessert - watermelon slices, yummy sweet grapes and a Carrouf nectarine tart plus.... CHAMPAGNE!! Me pals had been there for me all through my divorce right from the earliest weepings, so it was appropriate to share our final birthdays with a bit of final divorce celebration. Veuve Cliquot, natch. I brought champagne glasses specially.
Pal B, ze cook, excelled himself with three salads: a potato salad, a pasta salad with roasted cumin, paprika and bacon bits; and a Turkish beetroot salad with lots of garlic. He prepared all this whilst showing prospective buyers around his house! He also brought some heavenly tip top wine which we devoured with pleasure.
My TWDB, traumatised that not a bottle of his favourite rosé Puech Haut was to be had in the whole region, brought some petit Puech which was tasty enough, but wasn't quite the same. Never mind, the weather was lovely, the food was delicious, and the drink was fab.
The children were fed first, then they went off to fish for tadpoles and tiny fish, and we settled down to a lazy lunch. I must say, it was a great success. Everyone got on - my TWDB hadn't met pal W or his wife and children before, but as they are both motorbike fiends, they got on like a house on fire.
After lunch, we went down to the river to stretch our legs. The children and their mother actually got into the chilly water to cool off because it was by now pretty warm. The wind had died down making everyone appreciate the lazy afternoon with its late summer sun.
We headed off just after 5pm so we could move my TWDB into his new accommodation just up the road, having enjoyed one of those little bijoux moments of a wonderful, no fuss, just being with friends afternoon.
We even got pressies!