One of my dreams has always been to have friends over and sit with them at a long table in the shade of a big tree. This dream was nurtured by many French movies where people always congregate in someone's beautiful but artfully messy garden behind a big old French house with shutters on the windows and huge trees casting their shadows on wide lawns. Sunlight was filtered through the rustling leaves of the trees. People sitting at the long tables seem carefree, eating the most delicious food (it's France after all) and drinking wine. Of course there were loaves of freshly baked baguette (I remember one French movie in which Romy Schneider comes out of a boulangerie and she immediately bites into the baguette - oh heaven!) and baskets overflowing with fresh fruit. Above all there was this air of Mediterranean lightness.
I thought I would never be able to achieve this dream.
But then I thought, why not?
There is a big tree in my garden.
It's a privet, so it's quite messy. But it's loved by the birds and it gives great shade and therefore I just take it with all its messiness. Under the tree is the sad, totally dried up remains of the lawn that used to be there (that I never watered in the nine years we have been living in this house since I never wanted a lawn in the first place). It's the perfect place to set up a table or two, chairs and invite friends over for a meal al fresco.
Even though we're having an exceptional drought, I was still able to pick some flowers from my garden and put together a little bouquet as a centerpiece. This was the only decoration I used and it worked well.
I had invited the students of my German class. Every summer we get together for something typical German - either food or drink -, but of course, last year we had to skip. Everybody turned up this summer; it was the first time that we all saw each other again in person since March 2020 when we changed our class to online learning. It was wonderful to see everyone again - and yes, we had this feeling of lightness, joy and laughter.