OK. I hate to admit it, but I'm now officially an oldie; at least in my village I am.
There must have been over 90 of us. 40% of the village's population; all of 'a certain age'.
At mid-day M le Maire welcomed us with apéritifs, and gave a small speech about who had supplied what, where, and when. Respectful applause trickled amongst the invitees. The wives, sons, and daughters of our elected representatives then brought huge steaming bowls of chicken vermicelli soup to the tables, accompanied by piles of wonderful country bread. Then came the paté (top picture) served with a simple raw salad; the Roe deer for the paté having been supplied by one of the three village hunting societies. Then the chicken served with carrots (lower picture), potatoes and stuffing. Then cheese and more salad. Pears in chocolate sauce. Bottles of Champagne. Coffee.... All washed down with as much wine as you could manage (Cro resisted. Never with lunch!).
They started to become rowdy after the first three hours, and I was worried that they were going to start singing 'Montrez-moi la route de rentrer chez moi' (if such a song exists in France).
After 3 hours and 45 mins my friend Terry and I managed to make our excuses. But the ruddy-faced big-bellied stalwarts were still there, no doubt cracking open bottles of Eau de Vie, as the queues of women began to form outside the basic 'facilities'.
All this to celebrate being of retirement age (even though in the UK I'm not), and all totally free.
These people know how to enjoy themselves; and, amazingly, people still occasionally ask why I live here.