Amazing how quickly Christmas creeps up. I've already received a few cards from my better organised chums. I've only just bought mine and have done nothing about digging out addresses yet. As usual, I'll probably get them off on Christmas Eve so they'll arrive around mid January. That's if they arrive at all - my address book is about twenty years old.
Another reminder that Christmas is coming is the recent appearance of Christmas lights and decorations. First noticed them last week (or was it the week before?) when driving Georgie to Limoges airport. Passing through Felletin, our local town, the lads were putting up the street decorations. And a couple of towns further on were already festooned with festive decor, as was Limoges with its pretty street lights and massive tree outside the town hall.
Not to be outdone, our local mayor and a few other lads and lassies have been busily decorating our wee hamlet. The village hall (Mairie) now proudly boasts an impressive 'Joyeuses Fetes' illuminated sign above the front door and across the road from the Mairie they've erected a splendid Christmas tree with colourful lights. They've even decorated a few little trees with flashing light ribbons. Looks brilliant at night.
Took some photos there on Friday evening after a dogwalk up the Lightning Tree area. Passed by again on Saturday evening. Place was packed with cars. Turned out that they were throwing their annual Christmas dinner for all the local 'retraites' (elderly and retired people). There's a token price of admission but the main costs are subsidised by the government. Gives the local old people an opportunity to celebrate Christmas with friends and neighbours. It's a brilliant idea and typically French. Such events build a great community spirit.
A much appreciated invite to attend was dropped in my letter box a couple of weeks ago. Didn't go of course. I hardly know any of the 'oldies', don't speak French (well, not enough to join in conversations), most of 'em have known each other since school and I'm happy with my low key, once a year involvement when I show my paintings in the Mairie cowshed on the annual summer open day. Hopefully my paintings say more than I ever could about my appreciation of life out here in the sparsely populated hills and backwoods. I'll never truly belong but I'm happy to be a welcome outsider.
As well as decorating the Mairie, the lads have also been busy on the church. Noticed Didier and a couple of chums up there last week apparently messing with the bells. Hadn't a clue what they were up to. All became clear as night fell when strings of lights glowed like stars. Hardly on a par with Oxford Street but nevertheless mightily impressive.
4 weeks ago