Oh boy!

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of France  ,
Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oh boy, where to begin? Way too much, I mean way too much to drink. I'll give it a go, but my head is spinning and I'm not sure I can do this. 
We decided to go for a ride this afternoon. Peter thought someone recommended  a place called St Jean le Cole, almost an hour's drive north from us, so off we went. When we arrived we were directed to an improvised car park on the grounds of an impressive castle, absolutely packed, no idea what was going on. We followed the flow to the entrance of what turned out to be a flower show. Three adorable old ladies selling tickets enthusiastically explained the happening, stressing the exhibition in the church, not to be missed. Entrance fee 4 euros each. When Peter and I looked at each other to check, was it worth it, one of the ladies quickly asked if we were from St Jean le Cole. I'd say obviously not, and I did, and she gave a helpless smile, saying:  'Pity, I could let you in for free if you were - can't say I didn't try....' So sweet, she looked like a naughty child. We paid up.
The place was packed with Brits, close your eyes you'd think you were in the Cotswolds or Kent, visiting the stately homes. Plenty of Dutch too, but they are everywhere anyway, you wonder there are any left in Holland.
Well, what can I say? We are spoiled. Any old garden supermarket in Holland looks ten times better than what I see here. Never mind, the plants look really healthy and sturdy. We buy some, though overpriced, as a memento.
The setting is absolutely stunning, we must come back sometime and admire  the village without all this hustle.
Let's sit down and have a drink. We find a lovely spot, not sure if it's normally a cafe, or just makeshift for the occasion, but we grab a table under a tree and order some wine. It must be the worst I've ever had. My mouth turns vacuum, stuck together by the incredibly sour wine, worse than sucking a lemon. The enamel on my  teeth feels rough, my insides must be dissolving. Why am I still drinking it? Peter tells me to chuck it in the bushes - why so polite? Are we not to slight the waiter? I'm sure he couldn't care less - I don't see him drinking the stuff. But the man's a sweetheart, fussing over our dog, bringing him water - I swallow and try not to taste.
I start noticing the people around us - god, they are ugly. Honestly, like the people pictured on Van Gogh's Potato Eaters. But I like them, think they are far more interesting than the people you see nowadays in Amsterdam. Perfect skins, perfect teeth, perfect hair. So boring. This lot seem so much more real. 
Before we leave we remember the church exhibition, the climax of the show. There is no way I can describe what I saw there. Peter took some pictures, I hope they are useful, judge for yourself - I was absolutely aghast. (I see they are no good unless you click on them to enlarge.)
Our  Parisian neighbors are having a big party today. Ever since we got here they been talking about it, preparing food, erecting tents. Worried about the weather, as it's to be a garden party. We don't know them that well, and they had not explicitly invited us, so we decided to keep a low profile to save them from any awkwardness. We'd drive home, freshen up, and find a nice restaurant.
However, soon as we got there, there was a tap on the door, and an invitation to join them for drinks in a bit. I'd just downed a lovely white wine, and another, to get rid of the memory of the flower fair stuff, and suddenly the prospect didn't seem so bad. A few drinks before we took off to the restaurant. A few turned out to be four (at least). Very nice lemony champagne cocktails, I was well on my way and having lots of fun. I think I love our neighbors, and their kids, friends, grandchildren, the lot.
Eventually we left to find some place to eat - thank god Peter drinks moderately and won't let me drive. So I drank the best part of the bottle of wine we, no, I ordered to accompany our food.
When we left the place, after a rather unexciting meal, rain was pelting down. I was so sorry for my new friends, their party rained away.
The short ride home was a bit of a blur, but as we stepped out of the car, Peter laughed and said: 'Look, it hasn't rained here,' and sure enough, it hasn't and the party is still going strong, and that's where I'm heading for now.
See you.
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