Today has been really good fun. Singing morning and afternoon with four other choirs in a Choral Festival – performing to each other and with each other. And of course after a hard morning’s singing, there’s only one way to spend the hours between 12.00 and 2.00, especially when you have 200 people all gathered together intent on having fun. A big community meal, which the town, appreciative of our singing, treated us all to.
We were in Mazères, which is on the third day of its Foire au Gras, a celebration of the pleasures of those meats that are so appreciated down here – pork, goose and duck. So forget the vegetarian option. We ate garbure, a deeply meaty vegetable broth, followed by a richly pungent stew with every duck’s leg in the Ariège apparently popped into the pot, and the most delicious plain boiled potatoes I have ever eaten. Perhaps because they weren’t really plain boiled, but cooked in a light flavoursome stock. Kir and red wine a volonté. And a great deal of singing and laughter as everyone gave their attention to the accordion player who seems to be at every event we’ve been to. Men and women scuttled up and down the rows of diners, carrying scalding heavy pots, more bread, more wine. It was no surprise to anyone that we began our afternoon session at 3.00, rather than the scheduled 2.30.
Somehow, however, we all heaved ourselves up from the tables and ambled back to the church, the scene of the concerts. And there we stayed, singing or listening till 6.00 p.m. Some hardy souls stayed on for yet more partying, sharing the ‘pot d’amitié’, but our little group called it a day, and came home, watching the last of the sunset over the Pyrenees as we drove back towards Laroque.