Saturday 15 January 2011

One evening in a village far far away.

When I first moved near this village an old girlfriend (French) came to visit (from Spain).

One evening she said: - “let’s go up to the bar.”

“Are you sure?” I replied.

“Yes, it’s what you do in villages.”

News to me.

We went. There was one person sitting in a corner, he was about 200 years old. We sat in the opposite corner and looked at the beige vinyl seat backs that seemed neither new nor that anybody had ever sat in them.

The deathly silence was crematorial.

The proprietor appeared, we ordered two beers, she served us and returned to her cauldron.

We left five minutes later.

Over the years I avoided the place and my friend stopped visiting and then one day the owners retired, put up a “For Sale” sign and sat in front of a small house opposite and glared at anyone who showed interest.

A few more years passed.

Dust settled.

The previous owners gave up glaring.

One day some folk from Paris turned up, bought the place, sunk a fortune refurbishing and opened in a triumph of nationality themed evening meals (with music) and plans for hot air balloon weekends.

However the 212 year old man turned up one afternoon at five looking for a Pastis, found the place closed and put the village curse on them.

They struggled on long enough to hate the villagers as much as they hated them, then they stuck up a “For Sale” sign and went back to Paris.

The former owners started to snigger. And glare.

A bit more time went past.

Some folk from England turned up. Bought the place, installed a giant TV screen, opened the kitchen to bangers and mash and threw open the doors for the Rugby World Cup.

The village got very drunk.

The rugby stopped, the numbers of people who thought bangers and mash were tasty dwindled and with only Saturday afternoon football and three diehard fans, the cost of all that mashed potato and potato masher’s salary outweighed the feeble bar receipts and they stuck up a “For Sale” sign and disappeared.

The wind and rain and fog settled over the place and most people forgot that there had ever been a bar.

Except, Christoff.

You know the old expression? Elephants never forget? In it’s full version it’s elephants and Christoff never forget.

So he got a few friends together, went to the Mayor, got permission to use an old abandoned house and opened the Friday Night Only Cooperative Bar.

Le Bar Associatif.

You pay a membership and can drink untill the last man goes home.

It’s been open at least two years now – I’ve been twice.

Once by mistake, and again last night.

Some people say that I’m anti-social but hey, it was Guy’s birthday and Guy is the dad of my son’s girlfriend and her mum and lover were planning to be there too, and their daughter, and my son and my wife thought it would be undiplomatic not to be there so I thought – what the hell.

It was.


You can eat at the Bar Associatif, if you want - and Guy, to celebrate his birthday was cooking for everyone.

We sat down at the table.

A bowl of stuff was put in front of me.

I looked at it.

I looked around to see if this was a joke from the former owners.

I prodded it and made a face.

Very undiplomatic.

My son’s girlfriend’s mother beamed and explained that her grandmother had taught her how to make this dish and that she had taught her former husband (Guy).

I hope her daughter hasn’t learnt it.

I hope her mum doesn't read this.

Someone else had decided to invite three musicians to play live.

I use the word musician loosely.

I use the word live loosely too.

They started playing by the fire in the bar bit, but after the rebellious drinkers threw them out they regrouped In the dining room.

Where they started hitting out of tune bells with pieces of concrete.

I went outside to sit and glare with the former owners.

You’ll catch me there most days.


Mary said...

Love it .. great slice of life story. Made me laugh out loud.


popps said...

If it made you laugh out loud i'm happy, yesterday i wasn't but i'm over it now.