Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flo's Wedding

Last Thursday we travelled to the south of France to a small village not far from St. Maxime. We flew into Nice from Liverpool and were met by Richard's (the Groom's) sister; Christine. She was also collecting an old colleague; Toni and another friend of Flo (the Bride); Irina. As the flight was a late one and the village was a good hour's drive from the airport we didn't arrive at Plan de la Tour until after 11.30pm. By the time we'd dropped the others at their very tasty guest house it was gone midnight. We were camping and I was anxious to put up the tent by this point. However, we couldn't find the site in the dark! So we ended up in Richard's parent's garden in a huge Moroccan tent that was like something out of a Lawrence Olivier film!

The Mistral decided to blow in around 2am and as the tent had no door we got little sleep before Flo and Richard kindly helped us to find the campsite the next morning. Some of Richard's Canadian relatives were staying in a nearby villa. We bumped into two of them; Cathy and her daughter Amanda on our way the campsite office. They took pity on us and kindly took us to St. Maxime's market in the morning, and then to a supermarket to stock up on essentials! We'd met most of the other Canadians in the market so we were all acquainted by the evening when we joined them all at the pizzeria attached to our campsite. The wine and conversation flowed late into the night. Cathy's brother Steve and his girlfriend Kim have convinced us to visit if not emigrate to Canada! They have been warned we will accept their hospitality!!!

The day of the wedding we woke with minor hangovers and parched beyond belief, the tent quickly became a sauna in the Mediterranean sun so we dozed in the shade during the morning. The civil ceremony took place in a cramped sweatbox of a room in the town hall of Plan de la Tour. It was all in French, my rusty ability only just kept up with the quick pace of the mayor's patter. Flo and Richard both looked amazing, in white and cream outfits. You can see from the photos how happy they both were. There were more than a few damp eyes in the room as Flo declared not only did she agree to take Richard as her husband but that she 'absolutely' did!!

With the photos outside over, 'Les Anglo-phones' headed for the nearest cafe to toast the newly-weds. A few of us piled in Andy's soft-top to go for a little picnic in between ceremony and reception. Luckily we did as dinner didn't start until well after 9pm. There were canapes and aperitifs when we arrived at Richard's parent's place again though. When we eventually sat down for dinner there was the usual confusion with wine as to whether there was one per course and if so which went with which. Being all Brits on our table we resorted to drinking what we liked! I enjoyed the red, Anna went for the Rose with Andy and Liz, before we all finished the white and the Champagne later on!

We'd forgotten how the French love to stretch their meals out, unlike us unsophisticated Brits. Even by French standards the wedding meal took longer than any of us expected. We were still enjoying our deserts as the clock struck one in the morning! The food was exquisite and was enjoyed by all at our table. There were various distractions during the cheese course, a presentation by Richard's friends Nicolas and Yves, the main purpose to show old embarrassing pics of Richard, set to sound effects, quite professionally!

There was also a quick game of Mr and Mrs, most of the questions were answered correctly by the newly-weds. Before we knew it was time to leave though and we sadly took our leave of the Bride and Groom and all the new friends we'd made. Steve and Kim gave us a lift back to the campsite which was great as we would never have found it in the dark!

Andy and Liz picked us up bright and early the next morning with the top down for the run back to Nice. We slapped on the sunsreen surrounded by our luggage and were back in the captial of the Cote D'Azure before lunch. We got in some quick sightseeing before visiting a small creperie for dinner. Surprisingly a lot of places were open, which shows times are changing in France. When i lived there it was almost impossible to do anything on a Sunday!

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