Alexander phoned New year's Eve morning, wanting to arrange a practise that day. We have a gig coming up on the 10th and he thought it would be a good time to get everyone together. I asked if Ines was coming and if he'd heard from her since the engagement party. He said he'd spoken to her about the gig and she'd sounded fed up but hadn't mentioned anything about Gavin or the party. Just as I finished the call Benjamin and Madeleine came knocking on the door and ran into the cottage where they started leaping up and down on the sofa. They were closely followed by Pepin and Solange, who had come to invite me to their fireworks party later that evening, She said to come over about nine and mentioned that Paul, Isabelle and Mathilde were coming, although Isabelle might leave early as she hadn't been feeling too well.
It was a bitterly cold morning and when I arrived at Alexander's, he'd just put an electric heater in the summerhouse in an attempt to warm the place up. Michel turned up and laughed, telling us the cold was nothing and that he was used to far worse. I asked him if it was true that the garages in some parts of Canada are heated. He said his parent's was, and they also had heated car seats and triple glazing throughout their house. (I wouldn't be surprised if they have it in their cars too!)
I asked where Kieron was. Alexander said he was working all afternoon and night at the restaurant, but didn't mind as he was on double pay. His mother and sisters had finally been in touch. They were returning to France and asked Kieron to come back to the campsite. He refused, asking if he could stay with Alexander and Simone. He felt that his mother didn't really care about him. Alexander told us he was no problem and had agreed he could stay as long as he liked.
Ines arrived late. I was shocked by her appearance. She was pale and looked as if she'd crying. After we ran through a couple of songs Michel and Alexander decided to brave the cold for a smoke. Ines asked if she could speak to me. She said she was sorry about having a go at Celine at the engagement party. I asked her if anything had happened since and she told me that two days ago she and Gavin had gone to the big supermarket just outside Lorient. Gavin stayed in the car as he said he wanted to listen to something on the radio. She had gone in but returned to the car park after discovering she'd left her shopping list behind. Walking towards the car, she was surprised to find it empty and, looking around, caught sight of Gavin in another car nearby. He was sitting in the front with a woman and they were kissing. She went over and banged on the window. Gavin immediately broke away and leapt out of the car, making excuses while the woman drove off without saying a word. He told Ines that he had only seen the woman a few times and that she meant nothing to him. He had only agreed to meet her in the supermarket car park as he planned to tell her it was all over between them but that she wouldn't accept this. I didn't know what to say, so just listened. Ines said she's forgiven him but I wonder whether she actually believes him, I think she wants to. I suppose she must really love him.
Just as Alexander and Michel returned from their smoke, Simone brought over a tray of coffee and biscuits for us all. She and Alexander are having a quiet New Years Eve, just the two of them as Kieron is working. We decided to pack up soon after the coffees as the summerhouse was still freezing as it was difficult to play. I also didn't think Ines was in the mood for singing.
When I got back home I phoned Celine, asking if she wanted to come over for the fireworks party. When she arrived I told her about Ines. She felt sorry for her and was certain Gavin would hurt her again. She can't understand what Ines sees in him. (I don't think any of us can!)
When we went next door Pieter was sorting through a box of fireworks. He seemed almost as excited as the children, leading them into the garden with strict instructions to stand well clear. He lit the fireworks and Mathilde and Benjamin chased each other around the garden whilst the rest of us shivered from the doorway. It wasn't long before we retreated indoors and watched through the kitchen window whilst Solange stayed out in the garden with Pieter and the children. I must admit the colours were spectacular, I could see Mathilde and Benjamin were amazed by them. Celine made a fuss of poor Pepin who was trembling in his basket, barking each time a firework went off. Solange had made hot dogs which we had with a glass of champagne; an odd combination but tasted good. At midnight Pieter and Solange brought the children indoors and we all toasted the New Year, with special Good Luck to Isabelle and Paul who's baby is due in the Spring.
I wonder what this New Year will bring for the rest of us?