One Summer In France – Episode 37

“Are you sure you don’t mind helping me clean on your last morning?” Libby asked Helen.

With their house purchase finally sorted, the Chapmans had left and Libby needed to clean and prepare the gîte ready for Evie’s return. “I still feel as though I’m imposing on you.”

“Don’t be silly,” Helen said. “I’ve got the reward of an hour or two at the village fête this afternoon to look forward to before I leave.”

Between the two of them the gîte was quickly sparkling and the perfume from the vase of roses and lavender Libby placed in the sitting-room began to waft through the small cottage.

“Are you going to transfer Evie’s belongings over from the auberge?” Helen asked.

Libby shook her head.

“No. I did think about it but decided against it. She might take it as an invasion of her privacy. I’ll offer to give her a hand if she wants me to when she gets back.”

A horn tooted outside.

“La poste,” Libby said.

Amongst the usual collection of promotion material there was a letter addressed to Evie.

“Strange. It’s got a local postmark. I didn’t think Evie knew anyone locally,” Libby said, propping it up against the vase of flowers after glancing at it curiously. “Right, lunch and then it’s fête time.”

Walking into the village, Helen said, “Are you planning anything special for your birthday?”

“I don’t think so,” Libby said. “To be honest I’m not looking forward to the big four-oh. I’d far rather ignore it.”

“I think Chloe will insist you have a party – and so do I! Come on, Libby, you must celebrate. It’s an important milestone in life!”

“Well, with you and Chloe here I’m sure we’ll manage to crack open a bottle of champagne, if not have an actual party,” Libby said.

The fête held in the village picnic area down by the canal was in full swing when they arrived, with music blaring out from the loud-speakers placed either side of a temporary stage where a group of musicians were performing. A large circle of people, hands linked, were dancing a traditional Breton dance in front of it, whilst onlookers clapped their encouragement.

Libby and Helen made their way over to Agnes and Bruno, who were standing by the crêpe stall enjoying a coffee while they watched the dancing.

“Is Isabelle not with you?” Libby asked, disappointed. She’d been looking forward to catching up and hearing all her news.

“But, yes,” Agnes said, pointing to the dancers. “There she is. It’s as if she’s never been away.”

“How is she?” Libby asked. “Everything all right?”

Agnes nodded happily.

“Yes.” Quickly she explained to Libby about Alain’s promotion and Isabelle’s decision to move back. “We’re going down next week to help her pack. But we’re also going to have a short holiday in Nice.”

As the song the musicians were playing came to an end, Isabelle left the circle and came across to join them, accompanied by Lucas.

“Libby, how nice to see you here. Come on, let me teach you Breton dancing.” Before Libby realised it Lucas had taken her by the hand and was leading her towards the circle of dancers as the music started up again.

“Lucas . . .”

“You’ll soon pick it up,” Lucas assured her. “It’s very easy. Just watch and follow my steps. It’s very repetitive.”

Libby smiled and gave in.




Margaret Scott

Margaret is a sub-editor within the Production Team on the "Friend". Her main job is to work on the stories and make sure the magazine leaves us in its best possible guise. When not doing that, however, she either has her head buried in the old “Friend” volumes or is out and about giving talks or going on Warner trips (fab!). She hates cheese.