15th ANNIVERSAIRE DU GRAND PRIX RETRO LE PUY NOTRE DAME.
As we have been so busy we never found chance to place this blog earlier and apologies for that as we know everyone loves to hear about this popular village event. And so:-
The pre-1935 vintage motor bikes and elegant classic racing cars including:- Aston Martins, Triumphs, MGs, the odd Rolls Royce (!), Darmont, Morgans, Bugattis, arrived and invaded the little rues!
We can tell you that on the day we enjoyed wonderful hot sunshine and high temperatures – this was during the French holiday shut down period when all of France had closed down for its vacation, luckily we were not in need of any workmen until September!
For our readers and guests who are not aware of this event, it is held on the last Sunday of the month of July every year in our local village of Puy Notre Dame where it is host to an annual Classic Vintage Car Race called ‘Le Grand Prix Retro’ which also includes vintage motorbikes. They all race around the rues of the village and this fete is an emblem of the Cité Ponote, and is certainly a unique and emotive event as the village is inundated with visitors from all over Europe who honour us with their presence. The local population increases five fold.
The event started off on the Saturday morning with all entrants tootling along the local roads of villages (including rue du Moulin when we gave them all a big wave and ‘bonjour’)! in their beautiful glitzy classics, stopping off for refreshments along the way until they finally congregated for a lunch at a local chateau. This year it was held at l’Orangerie du Chateau at Thouars.
Sunday is the race day but this year there was a surprise event for its Special 15th Anniversary and the “cerise sur le gateau d’anniversaire” was to host an entirely new spectacle for 2011. This was then to be for the first time a Saturday Evening Semi-Night Race which started at 9pm. This concept was accepted with intrigue and excitement as you can imagine, as only the real old more robust cars which could uphold the pressure of this serious race could participate. It was indeed a very big success! So then on Sunday morning the customary more relaxed and friendly race was held. Because a decision was made to change the route from alongside la rue du Moulin, sadly we no longer have the benefit of it being at our end of the village, but I suppose that’s life, things never stay the same do they!
And so we held what has now become our traditional BBQ Sunday lunchtime in Le Clos des Guyons courtyard.
The sun shone, our aperitifs commenced, wine flowed and the food courses continued! The BBQ sprang into action with Brian slogging in the boiling sun providing deliciously cooked sardines and meats, for about 40 guests, friends and neighbours. We shared wonderfully prepared salads and gateaux from our friends, all washed down with local wines of sparkling, rouge, rosé and our neighbour’s, Robert and Jeanette Guyon’s donated 1986 Vin Blanc! In the village Brian is famous for his sardines – not much in the roll call of fame I suppose but better than nothing!
I might just mention at this point that last year he collapsed in the searing sun together with the heat of the BBQ and a combination of pills he was taking for a minor infection. He swears that wine had nothing to do with it! (cough)!!
So this year it was decided that he’d change the system and move the BBQ to the lee of the wine chais where it would be shaded. The only problem was that he also decided to start cooking much earlier and use one of those hostess trolly thingys to keep the food warm. However, because he had started that much earlier, the side of the chais was still in full, direct sunshine, so it was just as hot as the year before. So that plan worked well then! At least he mananged to stay conscious this year although I’m not quite sure whether that’s a good thing or not!
The BBQ lasted for around 3 to 4 hours and, if this wasn’t enough, afterwards for any guests and friends who were left with any stamina and appetite, later in the evening Jean-Yves in ‘Le Bouchon Ponot’ village restaurant produced Moules et Frite in the street, (that’s to say that the tables and chairs were on the street – not the food). Needless to say Brian made it and I didn’t having completely collapsed into bed!
A votre santé