Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bonne Année, Bonne Santé!

First things first–a very happy new year to you all, may 2007 be even better than 2006, and bring you (as I said in my 'discours' on New Year's Eve, of which more to follow…) health, joy, happiness and lots and lots of good food and drink. I haven't made any resolutions yet, but I really should…
I also hope you all had a good Christmas–those of you I managed to see, it was lovely to see you. I had a wonderful week at home (despite the index, owml), including family christmas, a "century" party for Mummy's birthday (at which Cecily and I managed to match spectacularly), and several tea/shopping/dinner outings with various friends. And of course, King's for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which was very good, as ever, and extra specially wonderful after surviving so long with good choral music existing only via the WWW.
Yet despite how lovely it was to be at home, off I went on New Year's Eve ready to face what was, until midday, an entirely unplanned, potentially rather dull, French Réveillon. At midday I received a phonecall from the Reynaud family (Marie-Claude is one of the teachers I work with most) inviting me to dinner, which I happily accepted and so found myself, with suitcase rucksack and violin in tow, arriving in the 6eme for a lovely French dinner, in the company of Marie-Claude, Philippe, Marianne and Eve, and their friends Sophie, Clément, Giselle and Jean-Claude. The evening began with champagne (how many 'chings' are heard in a group of 9 people?) and nibbles (including a delicious bacon and olive 'cake' made by Giselle), while speeches ("discours" as above) were given, and turned into interpreting exercises for Marianne and I (Marianne is studying English at university and will be going to England next year to be a French Assistante). After the speeches, according to Reynaud tradition, a sparkly star was placed in the middle of the floor to which each person had to kneel in reverence*. We then moved to the dinner table, for a smoked salmon starter, followed by turkey, stuffing, chestnuts, haricots verts, etc, then cheese (Philippe was especially proud of his Master, although the rest of the family seemed less keen on account of its pungent smell), and finally a delicious cheesecake also made by Giselle (photo-->).
A short pause ensued while we attempted to find parts for the Bach double violin concerto on the grounds that Eve and I could play…but when it was concluded that a trip to the attic would be required to find it, that was abandoned. And lo and behold, it was seven minutes to midnight (exactly, as we were following an atomic clock). On the dot of midnight everyone exchanged the 'bise' and wished bonne année and bonne santé to each person present–and briefly we looked to see whether there was any live tv coverage of french celebrations (like there is in the UK), but no–all we could find in the way of live programs was Buenos Aires new year, where it was still several hours too soon, and they were doing a big outdoor concert of bizarre south american contemporary orchestral music. Meanwhile, Marianne attempted to get through the busy mobile networks to discover where the party was, and once she'd succeeded she, Sophie and I headed off to find it. Sure enough, it was buzzing, a big city centre apartment full of students, most of whom had already been partying for some hours. Lots of fun and many french people to talk to, although at times a challenge to understand them amidst the hubbub of the party! Two good friends of Marianne's came along shortly after we'd arrived, Alexis and Benoit, both very friendly and fun. We stayed about two hours, but as Marianne was not feeling too well, we decided after that that it was really time to sleep and so headed off back. A lazy 'premier de l'an' ensued, involving late breakfast, lunch at 3pm and a lovely walk in the park with Marie-Claude, Eve and their adorable dog Rugby, along with some photo viewing (Marianne's holiday in Corsica). In France, unlike chez nous, it is essential to wish everyone you know a happy new year, and this must, of course, be done in an individual, personal manner–so many a text message was sent, and many a phone call made and received in order to wish all and sundry bonne année and bonne santé! The day ended with us all sat in the living room watching a quiz show, which involved family teams–the Reynaud family were so good at it, they have now decided they should be on it, so watch this space…
Anyhow, here I am back at Rue de la Barre, which is much quieter than usual (good, given I must do lots of work over the next couple of days!). Outside it is raining, but I'm hoping the rain will go away before thursday, when Mummy arrives. More posts to follow on matters various that I have failed to write about over Christmas. À plus, as they say…

* the truth of this sentence is not guaranteed.

1 comment:

Catherine Osborne said...

Happy New Year Annie! Love from Mummy xxx