Monday, 13 July 2015

Le treize et le quatorze

In my mind just now, I'm sitting at the table in La Huttière.  The red table cloth I've known for over 25 years on the table in front of me, the dresser I've known for just as long behind me, with the glasses and other dishes in it that I've used to share drinks and meals with friends and family for nearly three decades inside it.  Dad's sitting opposite me with his Sudoku, Mum's sitting on the sofa made by Philippe, with a good book to keep her company.  The boys are in bed in the bedrooms through the glass door behind me.  Ealasaid is playing on the swings outside,  trying to convince us that she doesn't need to be in bed yet.  Colin's either asleep on the sofa beside Mum, pretending to read, or he's asleep in the boys' room, pretending not to be.  The crickets are still calling outside and now and again we can hear fire crackers and/ or fireworks being set off, as a prelude to the official ones which will be set off tonight in some villages or tomorrow night in others.  I can smell all the aromas of the place I know so well.  I can see all the sights.  And my heart is breaking that I'm not there in person, with my family around me…and my French 'family' close by too.  I know everything happens for a reason, and I know it's God's will that we're not there at this time this year…but I would so love to be able to go to lay flowers on Roger's grave at the cimitière in Fougeres sur Bièvre tomorrow, as we always do.  I know he'll understand, but still…it hurts not to be there for our old friend, and not to be able to visit Gilberte to reminisce about old times.  No Jean-Paul popping round with home grown tomatoes or Francis coming round with the children to say hello, or Daniel appearing for aperitifs.  But still, what wonderful memories…and hopefully many more to come.  À la famille Samin, et les MacLéans… Bonne fête à tous pour demain! xx

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Lismore Show, 2015

It's barely 9 o' clock at night and I'm sitting here needing matchsticks to prop my eyes open.  I know I won't be the only one… half of the island will probably be in exactly the same boat.  Today saw the first Lismore Show since around the time of the Second World War.  A huge amount of work and effort had gone in beforehand to make the day the great success it was.  The show was the brainchild of Neil Carmichael, but I think it's safe to say his whole family was involved, including his Gran, Cathie Carmichael, who would be presenting the prizes later in the day. 

Many a household on the island has been a hive of activity for the past few days, culminating in a frenzy of baking activity yesterday and even first thing this morning.  Children's classes were popular, with lots of baking and handicraft entries, from 2 year olds and upwards.  Adult baking classes were also hotly contested, along with handicrafts, flowers, photography and art. 


Our own day started with transporting our exhibits to the hall… no mean feat, given that we had 27 entries between us and a rather bumpy road to drive along.  All went well though, with everything arriving safely. 

When we returned to the hall in the afternoon, we were delighted to discover that Ealasaid, Alasdair, Ruairidh and myself had all managed to win some prizes, with Ealasaid being particularly successful.  A further surprise came later in the day, when Ealasaid was announced as the overall winner of two trophies, one for junior handicrafts and one for junior baking.  What made this even better was that both trophies had been donated by our family – one in memory of my grandmother, Flora MacLean (MacGillivray) of Achuaran and the other by the Achinduin branch of the family.  Lovely to see the senior baking prize going to Kiki MacColl, of Achinduin…we really do like to keep things in the family!! 

Now it's time to wind down, eat lots and lots and lots…and even more lots…of baking, clear away a million paint brushes and other craft stuff…and sleep!  It was all well worth the effort though, especially for the children, who are delighted beyond belief with their prizes – rosettes are just the best things ever, according to Alasdair and Ruairidh!  Roll on the next Lismore show…hope it's not 70 odd years till then.