The Commune de Preuilly
(local council) administers and funds an Ecole de Musique
, which operates two days a week out of the Hôtel de Ville
(Town Hall). They have 35 students and five teachers, giving classes in piano, trombone, clarinet, guitar and percussion. Our neighbour Pierre-Yves is the piano teacher, with 10 pupils. (Pierre-Yves has two other jobs that I know of – one of the ways people cope with earning a living in a rural area.)
Last night the Ecole
had a fund raising dinner. Pierre-Yves says that the Commune
is struggling to fully fund the school nowadays, and the dinner needed to raise enough money to save the school. We were planning to go anyway, and Sylvie, Pierre-Yves' wife, made sure I got tickets before they all sold out, and in the process introduced me to Jean-Marc and Valèry, who were the main organisers. They only live a few doors away, but I had never met either before.
The dinner was to have been held at the Plan d'Eau
(Recreation Ground) but on the day it was raining, so the venue changed to the Salle de Fêtes
(Community Hall). The catering was done by volunteers – a group of people that I suppose in English would be the Friends of the School of Music. The menu started with a planteur
(a deceptively inocuous fruit punch, laced with white rum). The entrée was salade de betteraves
(beetroot salad) and salade Niçoise
, followed by cuisse de canard confit
(slow cooked duck legs), pommes de terre sautées
(fried potatoes) and haricots verts
(green beans), and then a cheese course of salade verte
(green salad) and fromage de chêvre
(goat cheese – proper Ste Maure de Touraine too). Dessert was tarte aux pommes
(apple tart), followed by café
(coffee). All of this cost €22 and there was a choice of wines which diners bought separately. Most people opted for the rosé
Touraine gamay 7€, until the cheese course, then switched to vin rouge
and champagne for dessert.
We sat with Sylvie and Pierre-Yves and were introduced to their friends Brigitte and Antoine. Brigitte was described as 'hot', which has a quite different meaning in French – I'm not sure exactly what the English equivalent is, but Brigitte is very extrovert and tactile, full of jokes and kisses for all. Antoine is a tree surgeon and woodman from Grand Pressigny, so once our fireplace is installed, I imagine we will be contacting him for firewood. On our other side was Olivier and his daughter Jeanne. Olivier is a graphiste
(graphic artist) and known to his friends as O or l'Olo.
Top left: l'Olo; top right: Pierre-Yves and Simon; bottom right: Sylvie C and another volunteer, clearing plates; bottom left: Brigitte, Sylvie L and me. Brigitte and I are discussing champagne, Sylvie is drawing son bébé (ie Pierre-Yves) on the paper tablecloth.
The jazz band. Everyone agreed that Christian,
the keyboard player was particularly good.
Sylvie L getting another bottle of wine. The wine was
decanted from boxes to bottles for the table.
'Oh non, mon profil !'
L'Olo's drawing of Pierre-Yves and Simon on the tablecloth.
'Comme les frères, non ?'