The bunting is going up all over the village. From every lamp post now hangs a pennant in village colours, blue and yellow; every balcony now caparisoned like a medieval charger. All in preparation for the Medieval Fair which starts next week. Soon the jugglers, stilt walkers, musicians and fire eaters will turn up, this town another stop on the summer festival circuit in the South West.
Columns of medieval knights on horseback will process up and down the streets before thrilling us with their jousting tournaments and hordes of contented children will swarm over the market place, full of wooden mediaeval toys with not a battery in site. Music will float on the air from every public space, the sound of the drums reverberating off these ancient walls. Tourists will flock to watch, listen and feel the rhythm as the heart of the bastide beats strongly again.
However it's not the arrival of the cavalcade that I anticipate with a mixture of excitement and hesitation, it's the Other Family, due later this week. School gate friends, great company, like minded, wine swiggers, Toon Army. Their children are delightful. Often, I borrow the daughter for girlie things like baking pink fairy cakes and playing Barbies. She's a real little sweetie, though she's named after a battle maiden and more than able on her own to cope with older brothers. The son, a delightful, thoughtful boy who loves both his farmyard pets and all things mechanical, is soulmate to my elder boy.
We should all get on, there is room enough here for us all to spread out and a new cellarful of wine to lubricate any awkwardness but they've never been here before. Our family has our own history here now and love it for many reasons but will the Other Family fall in love with the village as we have done? Will they find it quaint and pretty or just run down? Quiet and peaceful, full of character or dull and boring? There is no beach, we don't even have a garden or what my sister calls a sit ootery here, it's a town house. A novelty for country friends perhaps, the sounds of the street instead of the hedgerow. Step out of our door into a road with a florist, a bakery, a photographers, a beauty parlour, the new " lovely things" shop and not forgetting the best pizza restaurant in the world just two doors away! Not too tough a stagger home then...hic!
Oh I do hope they like it...I'll let you know...