Authie et Mi

No mini-monks this time

27th May 2012

A glorious day. Very hot and sunny. It made me think of Victor’s communion only this time the weather was not a window in the miserableness that we had had in May 2010.

This year the midday mass was at the church at Inchy which is only a few minutes down the road from Sains lès Marquion so I went over with Stéphane and the family.

There were forty children being inducted and I was disappointed that unlike Victor’s service none of them were dressed as monks. I thought it added rather a nice touch to the ceremony.

No robes but a bonus in the form of an order of service. Despite having one I was still reminded of last time when nobody seemed to know quite what to do. Half standing, half sitting the congregation spent much of its time in a permanent crouch. I presume that if you insist on your child having a religious education it is because you attend mass yourself. This is obviously considered to be a strange presumption.

It was difficult to follow the priest because the women in the row just behind us talked throughout. I ended up having a better idea as to what they were doing the following weekend than what the priest was suggesting for the future of the youngsters up front.

The priest did however insist that no photos were to be taken during the service and that cut down the roaming about that many of the parents had done during Victor’s communion. The majority of the parents appeared to be treating the celebration as a school prize giving event.

Oh, and French hymns are wearyingly dull; not a decent roof raising tune amongst them. I am also baffled as to why they are all sung at such a high octave that fully functional males cannot participate and the dogs outside start to whimper.

Back at the house the family gathered in the furnace of the garden. Richard received his presents including an MP3 player and a competition scooter.

The first toasts were made and then the food commenced. Working on the Anton and Debs theory that you can never be certain that the personnel from the local Air Base wont drop in unannounced because their canteen is closed, Stéphane and Laurence ensured that there was plenty to eat.

And the eating continued, and continued. I gave up before the cheese course and wandered down to the pond to natter with Stéphane’s brother Guillaume who had also renounced a couple of dishes.

Then came the cake – or more precisely cakes. Two huge gâteaux and a tray full of choux buns.

One of the gâteau was raspberry and cream whilst the other was orange and chocolate. I stuck to the latter. I was so glad that I had passed on the cheese, but I was brought up in the belief that if chocolate is looking inevitable, who cares about the main course if the pud is to die for.

By about 1800 hours lunch had finally finished and we had the chance to relax and watch the youngsters boating on the pond whilst savouring a glass of brandy (That is: us with brandy; kiddies in boat). The shade afforded by the trees was most welcome because we had already been forced to open up the sides of the marquee to let some air in whilst we had been eating.

For all of an hour we were able to rest. The youngsters set up a net and played some badminton with the extra obstacle of Athos the dog who kept catching the shuttlecock in mid flight. Then it was time to think about what we were going to have for dinner !

Out came the charcoal and the barbecue was lit.

Some of the sausages were flavoured with herbs and they were really nice, the super spicy merguez though, left me unmoved. They were all right but in comparison to a good curry they were a trite wan.

Towards 2200 hours and to round the evening off we were invited to finish the cakes.

Posted : 12 June 2012