My son, Mo, was due on the 4th of July, Independence Day. However, he was 10 days late and born on Bastille Day, so fireworks either way. We had always promised him a birthday in France and our recent acquisition of Les Terraces made this possible in a way that I had only dreamed of.
We had heard that the commune put on a really good fireworks display, one that pulled spectators from miles around to line the quayside and watch and would be clearly visible from the house. As Mo and his friends enjoyed a lazy day on the lower terrace we were busy preparing the top one for a birthday supper. As we buzzed in and out we saw that on the opposite side of the river, just west of la Plage des Bardolets, there were 3 men and a white van. The men seemed to be unloading a lot of forms and setting them strategically along the river bank – right opposite the house. It was clear that we really were going to have the best seats in the town.
We broke for lunch a little late, as Graham drove out to pick up my step-father from Bergerac airport (he was flying in to help us undo yet more of the appalling work done by Desperate Don the “renovation expert” and his sidekicks Wayne the “plumber” & Jez the “electrician”). This meant that we could enjoy watching the set up continue through the afternoon.
It was almost 11 before it was dark enough for the fireworks display to begin, but the sound of people congregating with picnics, chairs and bottles of wine grew steadily through the evening. Finally, the first explosion of the evening drew our attention to the river bank. The fireworks flew thick and fast for almost half an hour. An amazing show for such a small commune. We shared the fun with Graham’s sister in Lancashire and my mother in Bournemouth through the magic of Skype video-calling, which was fun.
Many of the restaurants in town had live music and somewhere the boys discovered a fun fair when they set out after the fireworks were finished. There were other activities going on throughout the town – many restauranteurs congregated in one of the squares and offered a range of dishes for €8 a plate and the Mairie had set out chairs and tables to facilitate the feast, much as they do on the nights of the Marchés desProducteurs. There was a dance too. All things in which we will participate next year.
The older members of the group stayed home and drank coffee and sipped on Armagnac for a while before calling it a very good day. I’m so glad that we were able to enjoy it.