Monday, June 4, 2012

The Diamond Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 60 years as Monarch this year, and this weekend was the Diamond Jubilee marking six decades of her reign. She is the second Queen in the country’s history to celebrate this milestone, the first being Queen Victoria in 1897. As I’m not British, nor living in Britain, I will leave blogging about it to others like Laura or Ariana. However, I do love the idea of the entire country celebrating together as a nation (we recently participated in the Queen’s Day celebrations in Amsterdam which had a similar feel) and so under the guidelines of “a good excuse for a party” we will eat cake!

Our Jubilee weekend as a whole was relatively low-key, cake and all. The Kalamazoo grandmother is still visiting (I haven’t quite caught up with our traveling yet and so she’ll make more appearances in later blogs) and volunteered to put both boys to bed Saturday night, leaving us free to see a movie. Moonrise Kingdom was the perfect choice for our first date in a theatre in over two years; it was shown version originale (so, in English), it’s a comedy, Bruce Willis, Ed Norton and Bill Murray all star and most importantly, the sleep deprived parents could stay awake for the relatively short 90 minute movie.

Afterwards we grabbed a bite to eat at Pata Negra, a tapas place here in town. Average in price, food and atmosphere, yesterday it turned out to be just the thing. As it was past 9pm most restaurants had stopped serving (I know! They don’t start serving until 7:30pm, you would think they would at least serve us dessert!) and so the decision was made for us. However, if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere for a casual dinner in Clermont, this is the place; there was live music playing both times we’ve eaten there. Our first visit was shortly after moving to Clermont, memorable as the band playing tango had several professional-looking couples on the dance floor.

This year’s picnic at Lake Aydat was postponed due to rain and thunderstorms Sunday, so instead we spent the morning watching from our living room as the hundreds of runners competed in the annual races. Last year there were over 3,700 participants, so I expect the number this year was closer to 4,000. At least five separate races for children (by age bracket) were followed by a 5km and two 10km runs (one elite and one open). Afterwards a quick visit to the marché aux puces where I found a solid, large flowerpot for a couple euro. We sat out the promised rain in a nearby café.

The excitement level in Clermont is at a peak, between the races, rugby and tennis. The Top 14 semi-final rugby match between Clermont and Toulon was on Sunday, which got the entire town sporting yellow & blue and trying out their air horns. Last year Clermont beat Toulon at the same stage with big drama – controversial calls and all, but it was still sad to see the hometown lose. And the 2012 French Open is underway. The 111th tournament is taking place at the Stade Roland Garros until June 10th. (The French Open is also called the Roland Garros, after the French aviator)

And of course we took plenty of walks. The roses are blooming in Jardin Lecoq, the playground in Parc Amadeus is undergoing repairs and so requires constant visits, and Place de Jaude seems to be hosting a different bandstand with a different man on bullhorn every day. This is my favorite time of year in Clermont-Ferrand! (Well, until summer when the outdoor cafes seem to spill into the streets and the marches overflow with the summer bounty!)

Congratulations to Her Majesty on 60 years of service, and whether you spent the weekend in a flotilla honoring the Queen, watching a tennis and rugby game, running in the Courir à Clermont races or at home enjoying time with family, I hope everyone had a Happy Jubilee weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Liene-
    1. I love that you are celebrating the Diamond Jubilee with us!!
    2. I love Wes Anderson, and I didn't even know he had a new movie out-- I want to see this badly! The style/ color of this one reminded me of a show that I loved that was cancelled-- Pushing Daisies. Did you ever watch that?
    3. Thanks for the shout out to my Jubilee post!


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