Friends in London have advised against going public with this information, but since moving to France, I have taken up line dancing or le danse country as it is known in France. Ever since a troop of line dancers performed in the village square one night last summer - dragging various members of the audience up to dance, myself and my French friend Isabelle included - I have been desperate to do it. I love the small but fast steps, the nonchalant way that the men tuck their hands into their belt loops and the hilariously camp music.
So when I heard of a line dancing class in a nearby town, I couldn’t wait to go. The first week was difficult: my friend Susie and I just floundered around in the middle, always facing the wrong direction as we tried to keep up with the various shuffles and turns. The others were encouraging. 'I was hopeless like you, to begin with,' said one. ‘But just keep at it and you will pick it up eventually.’
We were also told about a less formal Wednesday class in a bar in the nearby village of Champniers. I know I should be at my desk between 10.00am and 12.00am on a Wednesday morning, not grapevining and shuffling around the back room of a restaurant. But as a result of the Wednesday morning sessions, Susie and I can now perform the Texas Stomp, the Cowgirl Charleston and - my favourite - the Cowboy Reggae, perfectly. Susie, an animal lover, particularly loves a song about a matador, ‘whose body lies in pieces on the floor’ which always has me doubled up with laughter.
This week our teacher recently declared that we are no longer ‘beginner’s’ but ‘intermediate’. Yahoo! We have also been invited to give a demonstration at a music festival in June, and are trying to think of a name for our 32-strong troupe. This evening, quelle horreur, I even found myself trawling ebay for a pair of cowboy boots.