It sounds so much more cool in French - Fête des Chataignes. Even Chestnut Fete doesn't have the same ring. Sometimes, it has to be said, French just does it better.
The chestnuts I'm talking about are sweet chestnuts - the ones you roast, peel, burn fingers doing so, get frustrated at recalcitrant skin, find half of it is dried out or rotten and then nibble at the rest only to be vaguely disappointed. Those chestnuts.
Every year, the primary school has a Fête des Chataignes. It's always very well attended and when asked why this might be, the chick in charge told me it's because it's the one occasion when parents are not expected to pay. They can buy chestnuts if they like, bake a cake or cook a quiche if the fancy takes them, but it's all free, paid for by the parents' association as a generous gift at the almost start of the new year.
My youngest announced he was way too exhausted to go to the Fête and went outside to play, taking his bike. Interesting take on 'exhausted' there, I thought, and renounced happily the obligation to attend.
Then, revived by a life-restoring cuppa, I found myself texting my mate C whose son was dying to go and offering to keep her company. I conveyed my intentions to my youngest who told me the last thing he wanted to do was go back to school especially as he didn't like chestnuts, so I could go without him. Thus released from parental responsibility, I buggered off down the road and joined my pal.
On offer was wine and warm spiced wine, so I chose the latter despite the lack of nip in the air, and was pleased with my choice as it was rather tasty. I did not go for the tomato tart with crunchy toffee topping however, or the quince jelly that looked like minced raw chicken.
Having shown willing, we didn't stay long, but left to carry on in the more congenially boozy surroundings of chez C, with supper. My youngest came down to join in, and eat, armed with guns, rifles and other weapons of minimal destruction. As for my eldest, well I caught sight of him at the Fête and he told me he would deal with his supper, so I left him to it. He's so picky at the moment he's driving me nuts. As I said to him last night when he announced he hated pumpkin unless it was in soup, what he eats can be counted on the hands of one finger, so he will eat what's put in front of him, or go to bed supperless.
I'd done a lovely baked stuffed pumpkin with baked potatoes too. Delicious it was with extra butter.