It was to have been held outdoors, at the new port, where old friends and prospective customers many of whom had travelled some distance to be there, could sample the romance of life afloat, voyaging under perfect spring skies, past romantic French villages with even more romantic melodies wafting from below the decks provided by a real accordionist.
No-one predicted the sudden chilly, wet and grey change in the weather that forced a sudden change of venue. Instead of celebrating on the pontoons of the new harbour where food would be sodden and guests at risk of hypothermia, invitees were guided to the town’s modest reception rooms adjoining the mayor’s office. This was a warm and welcoming gesture by the village intent, on encouraging any business within its bounds. There was a risk in that though, as perhaps on the closer inspection provided by the walk to the venue, the “romance” perceived from the waterway could also be perceived as being dangerously close to being “unkempt” in much of the village, and then there was a risk that the darkened mural that loomed over us within the building itself, illustrating times far less happy than these could detract as well.
The ancient musician, no doubt sensing that an extraordinary effort would be required, or perhaps just to show off his undoubted talents and through this happy circumstance armed with access to a power point, decided to abandon his squeezebox in favour of a more modern electrical contraption. This turned out to be a portable keyboard, from the days when they were called “organs” and came in a particular shade of pastel green, this one with it’s tone button stuck on “trumpet” and it’s volume button stuck on “full”.
So there we were, sampling the regional delicacies of Lorraine, being regaled with the lesser known compositions of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, under grey skies but with all the warmth in the world from the people of the company and the village, and all the light (and romance) we needed from the early flowers of spring.
Sunshine is so overrated.