I have mentioned before that I live in a very small village. There is one restaurant, no shop, no public transport - you get the idea. When we moved in the population was around 500 (so I'm told by the Mairie) of which we were among the 12 foreigners. Now, 29 years later, I would guess the population is around 1,000 but the village is spread over the mountain side so it really isn't "crowded" at all. About 20 years ago a Franco-Nigerian family moved in - mom is French and white and dad is Nigerian and black and our kids quickly became great friends with their three kids - more so with the two boys of course, but also with the daughter. Martine and Stan have three very handsome and supremely likable/polite kids - probably because they are strict! Whichever way you look at it, it has paid off as they are a pleasure to be around. Since the kids are mixed race their parents pushed them into sports as a way to combat any potential racism and all three kids are superb athletes, with D being a professional rugby player and already having played for France several times.
Anyway, all that was to say that we have known each other for a long time. Stan, being what I call "a professional shopkeeper" by nature, saw an opening in the village for a little shop/bar and so the Mairie allowed him to use a small tract of land (with a stunning view) to set up his little bar. It is basically just three or four portacabins glued together where he sells a small amount of groceries and runs a small bar/sandwich/french fry shop. Believe me, it was really a godsend! You probably didn't want to look too closely into the corners/cobwebs but nobody cared. Farmers would drive up on their tractors and park up and my ex OH used to love to come over and spend the evening up at Stan's, usually discussing politics or rugby over a glass of wine. In fact when Steve came over the other Christmas he loved it too, as did my family when they came over for the wedding. That place just has so much character. Sadly (for us) Stan is now ready to retire and once he has closed up shop the Mairie want to get rid of the "building" and build something more "esthetic" (i.e. less grubby) just round the corner. I can't say I blame them because it is a bit of an eyesore but gosh we're going to miss "chez Stan". Strange thing is, he was just as strict with the youngsters who stopped by as he was with his own kids and those young people showed him nothing but respect. He is off to Nigeria for a few months so I won't see him for a while but they will certainly be different times when he comes back. Thanks for everything Stan!
|The outside of "Chez Stan" was painted by one of the kids' friends!|
|My mate Stan!|