Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Join me for an 'Apéro' in the French countryside!

So glad you could drop by readers. With the count down to publication of my memoir, 'Bonjour Darling' well under way, why not join me for an 'Apéro' at the old presbytery. You can sample a taste of French country life in Saint-Allier, the fictional name I've given our village, to protect the identity of my dear friends and neighbours.

First of all, let me explain the meaning of the term,'Apéro'.  It is of course the shortened form of the word,'Apéritif ',meaning an alcoholic drink served before a meal. In the French countryside, however, 
the word also describes a way of entertaining guests, involving a choice of drinks and nibbles. It may or may not be followed by the host offering a meal; often guests return to their own homes to dine. It is, therefore, a great way of getting together at the end of a day, relaxing and sharing news with friends and family.

At our Apéro, while we wait for the others to arrive, I can offer you a choice of Pastis for the men, a liqueur flavoured with aniseed, which magically turns milky on the addition of water or, of course, a locally produced Cognac. Ladies, for you, I recommend a Pineau as drunk by all the women in the village, both young and old.  This fortified wine, made almost exclusively here in the Charente, is a rich golden colour and boasts quite an alcoholic kick!

If everyone has a drink now, please make yourselves at home and enjoy the ambiance of our lovely old presbytery!  Still just a little bit shabby, but, I hope you all agree, since the renovations are complete, also just a little bit chic. 

With guests beginning to arrive, it's simply left up to me to introduce a few of the characters you will meet in the book. 'Je vous présente' my neighbour, the handsome Mayor of our village, Monsieur Gilles Charbonnet and his lovely wife, Danielle. Henri Buisson, my neighbour on the other side, who in his mid-forties is proud to present his twenty-three year old trophy wife, Chantal and their daughter, Amélie. Pierre Junot can't fail to impress you with his American English, learnt during his service in the French navy - Ladies prepare to be impressed by his movie star good looks and immaculate quiff! And how could I forget the flamboyant Joyce, who, representing the ex-pat community, greets both French and English with a hearty, 'Bonjour, Darling!', which she reckons keeps everyone happy!

Well folks, I'll leave you to mingle, until the book is finally published, when I invite you to discover how two Irish people give up everything, for a second chance of happiness in the French countryside, only to discover that laughter is the best medicine under the sun!