We knew we’d be meeting old friends, fellow fans of Fanjeaux, here and with a national celebration approaching, the temptation to arrange a 60th jubilee party for La Reine proved irresistible. Very graciously, we thought, Ma’am accepted our invitation to attend. She probably realized that the weather in the south of France on the first Sunday in June would be likely to be better than that in London. Very wise, Ma’am, if I may make so bold.
[Naturally, for security reasons, faces have been obscured on the following pictures.]
Tentative arrangements made, Francine set about a few advanced preparations before we set sail in the form of some red, white and blue bunting. Here is an example of it. Although these particular bunting flags may look a little like chopped up pairs of Francine’s knickers, I can assure readers that none of Francine’s knickers, at least, none that I’ve seen, are actually large enough to make flags. No expense spared for such an auspicious occasion, these are of specially purchased material. Francine also spotted an appropriately patriotic plasticized table cloth to guard against any royal red wine spillages. Good thinking!
A few hours before our guest of honour arrived, I fired up the trusty travelling Weber grill and put on a shoulder of lamb, expertly boned and rolled with a little local wild rosemary by Francine. I’d really wanted to cook a Crown Roast – seemed particularly appropriate – but the lid of the travelling Weber isn’t quite tall enough to accommodate one of those so a boned and rolled shoulder it was. With the meat taken care of, the reception committee had time to string up some flags in the banqueting hall to make Ma’am feel at home.
Once the food was well under way, our guest of honour finally arrived and here we see yours truly, Franco, welcoming her warmly with a friendly hug. Meanwhile, Francine couldn’t resist trying on the temporarily discarded royal headgear, though she looked a little uncomfortable doing so. Maybe her hair didn’t fit underneath well enough? Though the Crown Roast proved impossible, we had managed to acquire some crème de cassis and Spanish cava to make Kir Royale to toast our esteemed guest’s arrival. (No worries, Ma’am didn’t spot the cheaper Champagne substitute.)
With the Welsh dragon decorating the banqueting table in honour of Ma’am’s number one son, the crown did the rounds again during the celebratory meal itself and Ma’am commented on the fact that she had found our choice of bag-in-box Corbières rouge to be a refreshing change from the cases of Chateaux Laffite, to which one’s royal palate was constantly subjected but to which it had become a little jaded. How appreciative of her.