Wear­ing rosét­inted spec­ta­cles

They love a cel­e­bra­tion in Ian Moore’s cor­ner of France, but he’s ea­ger to put sum­mer be­hind him so he can give his poor liver a rest

Living France - - Property Directory -

Well, thank good­ness that’s over. The pool has been ‘ hiver­nage- d’, the well pump re­moved for the win­ter, gar­den fur­ni­ture safely re­housed and hefty knitwear de­moth­balled; at last sum­mer is fi­nally over. I re­alise that cel­e­brat­ing the end of long, warm days, out­door eat­ing and sun-baked rest­ful­ness seems some­what churl­ish, but I have my rea­sons: namely I need to dry out.

It is a lit­tle known fact but French law stip­u­lates that any gath­er­ing of more than three peo­ple can­not break up with­out a feu d’ar­ti­fice fire­work dis­play – any gath­er­ing at all. Well they seemed to have added an amend­ment to this law: the verre de l’ami­tié. The di­rect trans­la­tion is ‘glass of friend­ship’, but what it re­ally means is: ‘Tuck in folks, we’ve bought a shed load of rosé.’ So now, at any for­mal, in­for­mal, so­cial or civic get-to­gether, not only will you be deaf­ened by as­sorted fire­works, you’ll end up soz­zled in the process.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, ‘a glass of friend­ship’ is a won­der­ful thing, most con­vivial in fact in the sum­mer months, and I can hon­estly say that new friend­ships have been made while un­der the in­flu­ence of the grape, but there’s no respite. One of my sons won a prize in a spell­ing com­pe­ti­tion; he came eighth in the whole depart­ment and, puffed with pride, we ar­rived for the prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony, an hour’s drive away. The French take these things very se­ri­ously and on the stage were as­sorted dig­ni­taries all lined up to give speeches.

The speeches, four of them, rightly cen­tred on the theme of ed­u­ca­tion and its im­por­tance and so on, but then the prizes were dished out with what bor­dered on un­seemly haste. The last speech had made men­tion of the said verre de l’ami­tié and ev­ery­body’s mind was now set on that. The dig­ni­taries had clearly all worked up a thirst, and the prospect of a lo­cal rosé to re-wet the whis­tle was just too en­tic­ing. Think of a sim­i­lar cer­e­mony in the UK with some­one rush­ing in to say that the ‘pubs shut in ten min­utes’: it had that ef­fect.

We popped by the lo­cal football club to say good­bye to one of the coaches, who has de­cided to hang up his boots. He made a lovely speech but be­hind him you could clearly hear the un­cork­ing of wine bot­tles and so again peo­ple’s at­ten­tion wa­vered. The next day, we signed in at a new football club and I

We want to fit in – if that means tak­ing the rosé bullet, then so be it

Ian Moore is a co­me­dian, writer, chut­ney-maker and mod who lives with his fam­ily in the Loire Val­ley. His latest book is C’est Mod­nifique!, (£8.99, Sum­mers­dale Pub­lish­ers). www.ian­moore.info was of­fered a glass of rosé in cel­e­bra­tion.

It seems that from about the end of June un­til early Oc­to­ber, you can­not move in ru­ral France with­out some­one sud­denly pro­duc­ing a jer­rycan drum and thrust­ing a plas­tic gob­let of rosé at you. To para­phrase Ed­die Iz­zard: “You’re leav­ing the football club? Rosé! You’re join­ing the football club? Rosé! You’re in a queue at the boulan­gerie? Rosé!”

Per­son­ally, I love the stuff. My favourite is from the Var area in the south and it’s called Les Tourettes; child­ish I know, but if you quaff enough of the stuff, it does ex­actly what it says on the la­bel. I’m not a rosé ex­pert you un­der­stand; just, be­cause of its ubiq­uity in the sum­mer months, some­thing of an ad­dict.

And you don’t feel you can say no ei­ther. We want to fit in with lo­cal cus­toms as much as we pos­si­bly can, be part of the com­mu­nity; well if that means tak­ing the rosé bullet al­most ev­ery time I go out, then so be it. We all have to make sac­ri­fices but re­ally, there is a limit. We shouldn’t need a des­ig­nated driver for a spell­ing com­pe­ti­tion cer­e­mony!

So, like I say, roll on the non-rosé win­ter months, and the chance for my liver to rest; sum­mer is fi­nally over and I’m cel­e­brat­ing the fact. Ac­tu­ally, I may just raise a glass to its pass­ing…

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