Uncommon Decency

Phew, yet another staggeringly busy week – rife with little life lessons that have me once again feeling deeply grateful for all that we have.

To thank them for all their help and support with their move to France, Hal decided to throw her folks a giant joint birthday party. I’ve been watching her make lists and tick boxes for weeks – she’s made it all look so easy I haven’t had to give it much thought until this week when the to do list just got too goddamned long – So it’s been all hands to the pump, searching out lighting, organising games, liasing with the accordianist. All was swinging along, (especial fun being had by me digging up and compiling playlists of Barry and Lorraine’s lifetime of top tunes – ooh, great job !) Until that is, we learned that the marquee, booked months earlier, was not going to arrive. Yikes, with one eye on the weather ( storms and temperature dip forecast…) the rising panic was palpable.

Now Paul has been gathering together music gear, lighting – blimey, even a smoke machine and a lasar – for weeks, this disco was gonna rock, but with the rain headed straight for us we absolutely had to have cover. So off we toddle to the laptop where I release a slough of pleas for help and begin trawling the classifieds. A couple of hours of phone calls later and it became clear we were getting nowhere fast -we’d even considered driving all the way to Allençon for an absurdly expensive and thankfully unavailable solution – Tether and ends spring to mind, but that’s where it all begins to get somewhat amazing.

Back at the computer, floundering, I realised that Martin (big chief smallholder) had sent out a round robin to all members, that was encouraging, and prompted a peek at an ad I’d seen on a local expat buy and sell page, went to check it out and found that my original request for help had provoked quite a response, (a veritable avalanche of good vibes if you wanna get hippy about it.) Hope regained ground as the evenings preparatives were punctuated with offers of help and advice – from total strangers. Advice that had us on the doorstep of the local mayors office bright and early and saw us leaving, fists full of useful phone numbers minutes later. By lunchtime we’d spoken to some fantastic folk – from the commitee of a local garden festival – who gave us the keys to the their lock-up and basically said help yourself. Tented, yay !

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The weather swept in and friday evening found us trying to match tent poles to awnings in torrential rain, but hey, we had cover and we had whisky. I got home and had one last look on facebook where in response to our message of thanks for assistance were loads of happy folk wishing us a great party – now how lovely is that ? And how lovely was it that the local butcher offered us the loan of his refridgerated van, the lady from the vets froze a mountain of full water bottles to go in the beer buckets, that the man from the tip had been collecting said buckets and bins and ashtrays for weeks. That one of the neighbours had contacted a friend who drives a beautiful old Traction motor car and asked him to bring it to the party… ?

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Now I don’t know if the incredible response to our crisis was just because me and Hal are such super human beings or, and I have a tendancy towards this idea, perhaps rather in recognition of the idea of doing something nice for your folks. Was everyone that offered advice, support and solutions each thanking their own parents/parents everywhere with their actions? I’d like to think so. I do know that Lorraine was glowing all evening…

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and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Barry so overwhelmed.

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The party, thankyou very much, was a huge success – over seventy people came out from the uk to be there, and friends, both French and English made over the twenty years that Barry and Lorraine have been holidaying here were out in force. If the hangovers were anything to go by, a good time was had by all and continues as I type – you just can’t get rid of some folk 😉

I’ve retreated to the terrace for a little peace and sit looking at the rose I planted this spring at the entrance to my garden. It started life as a cutting I took with my own muvver a few years back., and every time I catch it’s perfume or appreciate it’s progress, it’s beauty, I think of her.

So this one is for parents everywhere, thanks.

À la semaine prochaine,

mandy x

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