Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Having been visiting this tiny hamlet for nearly 40 years we have a close relationship with all our French friends and neighbours. During the winter months members of the hamlet 'events commitee', (a committee in the very simplest terms) organise a number of 'Tea Dances' in Chatillon and the profits from these dances fund some community events in the summer. 

On the 2nd August we held our annual 'mechuoi', a lunch and dinner with boules and card games in between. We are always involved in the preparations and running of the event during the day, its wonderful to be part of the community something that unfortunately we do not always find in the fast paced life in the UK. Mechuoi has its origins in North Africa and roasting a sheep over a log barbecue is central to the events dining experience. So at the crack of dawn the fire is lit and the sheep from a local farmer is put on to roast. 

Both Maureen and I were there at 8.00am sharp to help prepare the event, this despite being out the night before until 1.00am, All the helpers had a pause for breakfast at 9.00pm, the offal from the sheep is fried along with garlic and herbs and sandwiches of French bread made ----along with the statutory glass of local wine. We then set up the trestle tables, lay the plates etc and hang up the bunting. On top of all of this we also had new guests arriving at the cottage so had to escape the preparations to give the cottage its normal thorough clean and prepare....a busy day indeed.

All the locals from baby to grandmas in wheelchairs start to arrive around 12.15pm with much hand shaking and kissing all round. This year the aperos were made by the local children supervised by some adults produced a startling collection of tasty morsels which was all washed down with some very nice lemon / sugar / Sauvignon apperitif especially made by our neighbour Alain.

Everyone sat down for the starters and then the sheep was removed from the spit and carved for serving.

This, of course, is France so the afternoon meal continues with cheese, multiple choices of desert made by another local family all washed down with copious amounts of local wine. Around 6.00pm we stop eating etc and the Boules / cards games start....

Yes you have to have staying power to survive the day. This being a Saturday we also had new guests arriving so once settled in they were invited down to join the evening meal. You can spot them here looking rather pensive although Joshua who is 14 is putting on a great smile. 

Our new cottage guests having arrived late afternoon were invited to join the evening meal, Josh is putting on his best smile.

The eating, drinking and festivity continues and by 1.30am we were finished - a wonderful day with wonderful neighbours and friends, it is indeed a privilege to be involved. Next day we were up bright and early to wash dishes and clear away tables etc.



  1. It was indeed an excellent afternoon. We didn't have the staying power for the evening session.

    You must be exhausted!! ;o)

    P.S. Your friends and neighbours were very friendly, welcoming and generous.

    1. yes indeed, we actually commenced the evening meal after 10pm, a new late record I am sure. You are right with your comment Gaynor, it is indeed a privilege to live amongst such generous and warm people.