I will not claim that it is a singularly foreign custom, but it certainly is one that would be considered "old-fashioned" back in the U.S.A. Last Sunday we spent the day at our friends' home, helping to repair their small vineyard. Chris and Julie are in the midst of a massive renovation project: converting a centuries-old barn into a home with two comfy gites attached. They have done much of the work themselves, but they knew they would need some mains supplémentaires to put up new posts and wire in the vineyard.
With fingers crossed that it wouldn't rain, they organized "operation vignes"
We were prepared for pluie with our rubber Wellies and foul-weather gear, but the sun goddesses were smiling down and it turned out to be the best weather we had all week.
After gathering for café and a bit of English breakfast cake, the eight of us went to work on the nine rows of grape vines. We removed "C" hooks and all the old wire. The men were just starting to pound in new posts when we broke for lunch.
The afternoon's work was left in the men's hands. Trés bien! Time to watch a bit of the Olympics and then help Julie with diner, starring boeuf Bourguignonne and a dessert exquis (whose name escapes me) concocted of merenigue, marrons (chestnuts) et chocolat. Au revoir mon alimentation: No counting calories today!
A work party may not seem to be a particularly perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday, but the incredible thing is, it was! Friendships were deepened, delicious food and drink were shared, and I think, in a year or two or three, there may be an inaugural bottle of Château de Chris et Julie to enjoy together with quelques amis très spéciaux!