There was much to do; a new bathroom to fit, wallpaper to strip, walls to plaster and paint. After being asked to paint a radiator my handiwork was judged and I was nominated chef for the duration...
We had the inevitable 'weather' but were also blessed with some fine days and spectacular sunsets that set up some great nights in; we were knackered but giddy with the joy of a new adventure; also giddy at the rediscovery of our friendship.
On Xmas eve there was to be a festival in the village; basically a fire by St Augustin's church and a roasting of the local blood sausage, 'figatelle' served with chestnut polenta, all washed down with the local wine served in plastic cups from boxes.
Before we ventured out we opened a bottle or two in the house; the start to a magical evening. Smugly snug; there was one memorable moment when Gregg started dancing with a chair; a moment of grace (from a clumsy man) that stopped us all in our tracks; Gregg is no dancer, but he was lost in that moment, unselfconscious and utterly happy. It was one of those 'spots of time' that you don't often recognise until after the event, notable because we all clocked it as it happened; the song stopped, the chair span its last pirouette and the spell was broken; Gregg's expression was priceless as he looked up in surprise, awoken from that blissful reverie...
We were given the next morning off so we went to the coast for a Xmas breakfast and to swim off the hangover in the icy Med.
We discovered a beach (now always 'Xmas Beach') and played boule and cricket (boys v girls) and rolled back the years.
That Night the Wine was the Colour of Blood