By Veronica

Le château fort

One of the more awkward things about the choir I belong to is that despite our size and longevity we have no permanent location to rehearse, and no funds to hire one. So we have to hunt around for villages that will lend us a hall big enough for 70 people, for a whole weekend, for nothing. Usually it's in places where a choir member lives, for obvious reasons. This weekend was a first -- we were in Bouilhonnac, a village with about 250 inhabitants. It's only about half an hour's drive for me, but it's sufficiently out of the way that I'd never been there before, or even heard of it. 

The mairie attached a rather strange condition: inviting residents to come and listen to us rehearse on Sunday morning. This was happily accepted, and in exchange ( as if the loan of a very nice village hall and the pain of listening to us repeat the same musical phrases 20 times incorrectly wasn't already enough) they invited us to share an aperitif at lunchtime. We expected a glass or two of wine and some crisps, but no: around 30-40 villagers turned up to listen, and then they plied us with copious wine, bread, pâté, tapenade, sausage rolls, baskets of raw vegetables with dips -- it was all very convivial. It almost always seems to be the smallest villages that lay on the best welcome.

To refresh myself after the aperos, I went for a little walk around the village. It's on a small hill with fine views all around, steep cobbled streets, and a ruined 12th-century castle at the top. A completely delightful place. I'm tagging this derelict Sunday, although it's very well looked after for a ruin :)

At home, time for birthday feast number 2, prepared by S: cava, jamón, foie gras, steak and chips with marchand de vin sauce. Now it's time for a sofa sprawl!

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