Last night we went to the annual Bastille Day dinner under the Halle (a sort of covered market square). The maire hosts a dinner for about 500 people on long tables served by local people and there is a band for dancing. They manage to serve soup, melon, foie gras, confit de canard and peas, cheese, salad, ice cream and coffee with unlimited wine/water/bread with smiles and jokes.
(Him Outdoors was grumping because on the new regime he was paying 19 euros for soup, melon, peas, lettuce and coffee. Which as it turned out was quite right :-). But we had already bought the tickets and were going with friends. And we had a lovely time.)
You sit where you like and we chose a spot quite far from the music - for us deaf old gits - and quite near where they were serving so that we might get our dinner first. Didn't work out like that of course but hey. That left 12 places next to me which were filled by a group of lads. They were 18 year olds from Ruislip that were holidaying in the house of one of them having just finished their A levels. Oh bloody hell, here for the unlimited wine (and already well oiled by the glazed looks). Him Outdoors and I who were sitting next to them exchanged a look.
We couldn't have been more wrong. They were delightful. Yes they were drinking and yes they were noisy and singing. But they chatted to us happily. One was a trainer for Kangos? a sort of bouncy trainer and waxed lyrical about how wonderful they were and how 'even old people could enjoy them' :-). Another was enthusiastic about his future university plans. They happily ate all Him Outdoors' cast off food and were really upset for him that he couldn't eat it.
When the dancing started they all leapt up and were doing their best to follow the local line dancing and charming the nearest single older women to dance - which of course delighted them.
(One came back to us for the next course with fists raised shouting 'I win, I got 6 ladies to dance'.) Endless energy and enthusiasm. Lovely.