Mondays post reminded me of a couple of stories around a similar theme...here's the first
After having bought the our house here in Barrou back in 2005 as a holiday home, we shipped some of our possessions over to furnish it. I had left the same day so as to be there when it arrived and to do a bit of 'tweeking' to get it ready for our first stay there the following week - when Pauline would join me. There had been a lovely family living in it and although it was a little dated (it is a an 1830's house after all ) they had left it in good order. It was a strange week for me for a number of reasons - I was 'self-catering' in a strange country with little or no knowledge of the language, knew no-one and was, for a short time, not sure what time it was - I had travelled on the day the clocks changed in the UK and wasn't quite sure if they went back or forward here in France! The furniture van took two days to get here so I spent the first night in the 'Campanile' in Chatellerault. I was up early the next morning but they still beat me to the house - arriving before 8.00 am. When I got there there was only one guy in the van and where I didn't mind lending a hand I didn't feel that it should be down to me to be the 'second man'. I needn't have worried - apparently the other chap was in my neighbour's, who I had never met, having breakfast! Dominique introduced herself through her window and conversed in her native tongue which could have been Greek to me! Although I did pick out a little bit about an invitation on the Friday night - she must have said this bit in English.
Anyway I survived the week by keeping myself busy. I had not been drinking as I was on my own and feeling a bit down - adding alcohol into the mix would not have been a good idea! I was talking to Pauline every night giving her updates and feeling a little sorry for myself. Towards the end of the week I found myself out in our courtyard on a balmy night, just like the ones we were used to in Scotland (not), under a beautiful starry sky when I thought - hey its not so bad and decided to have a glass of red to celebrate my progress and the fact that well, it just felt right.
No sooner had I taken my first sip when I heard the faint sound of bagpipes in the distance, now I had been a little down but this was ridiculous but I could definitely hear them. I convinced myself that it was perhaps some Breton who had moved here getting some practice in - Pauline of course thought I had one too many!
The invitation was for the night Pauline arrived so she had a great introduction to living here - Francois and Dominique know how to throw a party! We met a lovely bunch / mix of people and had a great night. When we tried to leave we were asked to stay behind and join them for a last drink before retiring to bed - after a very long night I could just about take one last drink. They took us around to a quiet little part of their lovely garden where we were sat down and they put on some more music - the shrill of the pipes was, after all that alcohol a joy to hear!! Yes, they had bought a CD of bagpipe music just for us! At least we knew I had not been hearing things - they obviously had a sneak preview to check if it would scare the neighbours or not!
After our 'treat' we said our goodnight and made our way back through the pitch black night (the street lights having gone off many hours before) feeling our way along the wall - it was my one and only true feeling of being 'blind drunk' but we were very heureux !