Victor's Communion

And butter wouldn't... Lots of excited cousins With the grandparents Richard didn't really want to be photographed Photo opportunities on the back lawn Checking the results Ah yes ! The presents And he smiled all afternoon
Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture Tending to great Gran's needs This is Stéphane's garden pond Richard out boating Victor then took me out in the boat Tale's from the riverbank You can't go wrong with profit rolls Bernard ensured that nobody's glass ever went empty
 

Sains les Marquion

16 May 2010

Outside Bourlon Church

Outside Bourlon Church

A really good day if somewhat different for me. Off to church and all that. The good news was that I could still get into my old suit and that a collar and tie wasn't too weird.

I had counted on about an hour and three quarters to get over to Bourlon church but although in theory I was early, the church was already packed and parking space was at a premium.

Found Stéphane and the family and we settled down to wait on our fifty initiates to arrive; looking like mini-monks. At first it looked as though we were down to 49 when the fiftieth came running up the aisle to join the rest of them, all but hopping whilst still trying to get his socks on !

The ceremony was interesting with the congregation taking very little part. In fact half the time they didn't seem to know if they were supposed to be sitting or standing. Singing was not on the menu, it would appear, for anybody apart from the choir and the youngsters.

Once the ceremony of induction was over I slipped outside to wait on the procession to come back out again. Victor had been in the lead on the way in so was probably going to be in the lead on the way out again.

There are numerous monuments in and around the church to the battles that had taken place here in 1917 and 1918. The altar was a gift of the British army after the Great War. I hardly missed the chance to get back to my roots and dead people.

Getting his priorities right

Getting his priorities right

Back at the house Stéphane had erected a marquee adjuxting the kitchen and we were highly fortunate to have a warm sunny day - though once you were out of the sun you soon realised that this was one of the coldest Mays we have had in a long time.

Communions appear to be good things as you get lots of presents - including cameras, jewellery, and a portable DVD player.

I was the only person present who was not a member of the family but much to my surprise amongst so many French people I was not the only non-smoker as nobody (yes that's a nobody) smoked, or if they did they were keeping it very well hidden.

We took photos along the pond bank, eat our nibbles and drank the opening glasses of kir royal.

I was sitting opposite Laurence's father Bernard, a large man with an appetite and bonhomie to match. Another glass of cognac Bernard - oh I just might indulge myself a little. Where he was putting it all I have no idea.

A typical French meal that went on and on all afternoon and well into the evening. We were still at table at 2000 when the cake finally arrived. You can't go wrong with a St Honore - pastry base and profiteroles covered in more profiteroles. Mother would have been made.

In between courses we roamed around the garden did some archery and Victor took me rowing on the pond.

At 2100 the festivities came to a close and everybody drifted home. Stéphane and I had a beer and looked through his battlefield relics gathered in from the fields.

The two wee lads had long since fallen over with exhaustion and it was coming on midnight by the time I was leaving. It was a long and arduous drive home in the rain which had finally caught us up.

 

See also

Comicon 2010 in Paris

Anthony's visit