Sunday, 22 August 2010

A second French wedding

When we arrived the temperature was comfortable, reaching 22-25 degrees during the day and 12-13 at night. This was just right for working in. However, for the last few days the temperature has crept up into the mid 30s, reaching 39 degrees yesterday afternoon and not going down much below 26 at night. This has been pretty uncomfortable and made us reassess the need for some portable air conditioning for the bedroom!

Yesterday we went to the wedding of the farmer's son. Ian visits the farmer (M Mulatier) often and talks about tractors and machines. His son has two children and he and his partner were not married so I guess eventually the presuure to conform got to them, or it felt like now or never in terms of timing! In fact, it was a double ceremony with their wedding and the baptism of their second child. I hope it was a buy one, get one free deal!

This was the second French wedding that I have been two. As France is a secular state everyone must marry first at the Marie. So, following the trail of hedge clippings laid that morning (a tradition) we headed up to the Marie in Thenac in our Tranist van, with the air conditioning on full blast. In due course, the procession of cars arrived, with lights flashing and horns blaring. Following up behind was this tractor, decked in flowers and various banners!

The banner reads " convoy of happy angels".

Nothing was quiet about the arrival; there was lots of shouting and cheering and the wedding was conducted by the local Mayor. The bride and groom say "oui" and then the Mayor reads out a long list of relevant French legislation and law, things are signed and everyone leaves, heading for the proper ceremony in the church.

The church in Puyguihelm is spectacular in that it is perched right on top of the hill, with the doors opening onto the most wonderful panorama over the vineyards of the Duras region.
The searing heat make it look more washed out than it actually is.

Fortunately the ceremony was not a full Mass. As in the UK no one but the priest knew the words or the tune of the hymn but at least he had a wonderful voice! Being a dual event the service was still quite long and by the time it finished I was soaked in perspiration and longing for a cool drink.

As the couple left the church for the obligatory photos their friends had a special guard of honour with hard hats for her (she is the manager of a building site) and toy tractors for him. This was accompanied by heart shaped confetti (with no one complaining about who was going to sweep it up, the priest just being relieved that he had managed to save two more souls!).

The day finished with a 'Vin d'honor' in our village hall where I thought I was drinking grapefruit juice but alas it was a local cocktail containing something very alcoholic! I was served in a refridgerated fountain which meant that we all drank more than we should. However, I noted again the phenomenon that alcohol improves my French!

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