Barn dance, french style

folk_dancers_in_group_01[1]    We know a very talented young couple who between them play the violin, flute, tin whistle and cornemuse, a kind of Breton bagpipes. They play in a band for what is called a Folk Ball. (The label ‘Country dancing’ can’t be used because that is the name given to cowboy line dancing.) I have been wanting to go for some time and yesterday, on a  wet January evening, Len agreed to come with me.

There was a very warm welcome and everyone seemed very friendly. Some people had obviously been dancing for years and danced well but there were plenty like us who needed to have all the steps explained. There were couple, group and circle dances. On the whole the dances seemed to be simpler than what we had experienced in England but that was probably for the best as an introduction.  The non-stop dancing went on from 9pm to midnight.

Today I am finding it difficult to move! My legs from the knees down are not functioning as usual and I fear it could be worse tomorrow. It was good fun though.

‘More galette, President?’

part de galette des rois 2  In France, January is the month for wishing people all possible good things, especially good health. This continues all through the month, not just at the beginning.

It is also the month for eating the Galette des Rois. This is usually a brioche-type cake or a frangipane tart. It contains a little figurine and the person who finds the figurine is crowned king for the day. The tradition is linked to Epiphany on 6th January when Christians celebrate the wise men arriving to worship the Christ child.

This week we had about twenty french and english people in our lounge to eat galettes and drink fizzy wine. It was a bit of a squeeze but it was a good afternoon. The reason for this occasion wa that Len has recently been elected president of an association which aims to bring together french and anglophone people. His task is to put together a programme for the year which may include outings, speakers, meals, visits etc. Quite a task.

An interesting corollory to this is that the real President of France has a massive 1.2m galette made for him every year and he shares it with those who work in the government. Apart from being so big the galette is different in another way, there is no figurine in it. It wouldn’t do for someone to be elected king in the heart of the Republic of France!

A pause

It is seven months since I posted on this blog. That is not because nothing interesting has happened but maybe because we are getting used to living in France and there are fewer things that shock or surprise. Soon after our arrival I asked a lady who had been living in France much longer, how long the feeling of being on holiday lasted. She said ‘Six years’. We are just coming up to 5 years. We still love being here and meeting new people and learning more about the french way of life but it is probably true to say there are fewer ‘Pinch myself’ moments and more ‘Get your lessons prepared’ moments.

Having said that, we’ve had two ‘firsts’ this month.