Even more depressing than a jumble sale...The art & craft market. I've met the same craftsmen/artists (let's be kind) on their yearly summer tour, the same knick-knack stands, in every village fair. Yards and yards of Lavender fields in oil, pastel, and mostly acrylic paint. Tons of fake, home-made Venitian leather masks...Fortunately, I have never had to write a paper on these hideous rendez-vous. Just listing the place and day in the Agenda section was enought. What? I am an arrogant, Parisian snob? For once, I don't mind. ... [Lire la suite]
* Jumble sales, yard sales, antique fairs, are all the craze in rural France right now. Rural folks are in the midst of an antique collecting fever tantrum. In village fairs, on supermarkets parking lots, at the annual watermelon fair, you get an antique jumble sale. Everywhere, the same old dirty Playmobil boxes, used video games, awfull "nearly news" brass chimney accessories. Oh, the sadness of sunday antique fairs in the country...There are very useful, though. Jumble sales fill up quickly my weekly... [Lire la suite]
This goat came to town as an honorary member of a village brass band. The goat was thirsty. No problem. The bartender gave it a plate of water, as good bartender normaly do for the local patrons.
Another wonderful moment in my new country-reporter 's life. Saturday afternoon, last day of the Jazz festival, the master-classes' students gave a free concert on the school square. The wonderful plane-trees offered a shaded outdoor auditorium. The students are slovacs, americans, italians. The local have disappeared. The annual jazz festival doubles the local population for one week and brings very good business in town. Nevertheless, local don't like jazz. They complain endlessly, because they can't park their cars... [Lire la suite]
A friend of mine passed on this fetichism, a long time ago. Collecting "school ahead" road signs. My part of France is a collector's paradise. Every decade is illustrated. From the thirties (Road authorities do not invest much in backwaters villages) to contemporary brand-new ones. I never could convince my paper to open a photo contest on vintage road signs. City girls have the strangest ideas... ... [Lire la suite]
Whaou...In a village fair, I have seen this object at the bar, for the first time. What is it? "Well...It is a meter of Pastis" says the young barman, as if every one should know. In other words: a serving tray for fifteen glasses of pastis, at wholesale price, in one go. Does the National Campaign against alcohol on the road knows about this? I wonder.
This strange party cavorting on a small mountain road is a stag party. I got the tip well in advance, through a rafting instructor. It could be an item for my weekly page. Every week, I call campings managers, Kayaks-renting ventures, bed and breakfasts, local tourist boards, to hunt small stories and midget-events such as this one, and to fill out my pages. I takl to my contacts with my mobile phone, in my bathing suit, while suntaning on the river beach.It is an extraordinary office life. A stag party would... [Lire la suite]
According to me, the dog fair is a genuine old country event. A hundred years-old, possibly. Farmers probably picked this convenient village, at a crossroad, and met there to swap or sell puppies, in time for the hunting season in September. Every thing else has enormously changed. Nowadays, you find pure-bred puppies of exotic races, such as porcelain-white Argentinian Bulldogs (they will wither in the local sun), mute japanese dogs, for 600€ a piece! Of course, people look, but do not buy. A dog-breeder of "Bruno du... [Lire la suite]
"No! We do not want to be irradiated!" says the orange banner. "Together against torture!" says a post in the shop-window. What is happening? Are the anti-nuke at it again? No, they are just opposing the new mobile telecom antena. Just like in town... They have been given shelter in a local grass root community center (protesting torture, among other things). I did not pursue this piece of news, although it could have been useful, consumer orientated, and interesting. You see, some of the local... [Lire la suite]
I 've learnt how to zoom on news that will really stirr interest in my readers. For instance, this piece of farming machinery, above. It's a prototype. Four samples, no more, are to be found in France. One of them just round the corner from my place. The farmers around here often work for "seeds makers" (farming seeds). They grow acre of leeks, onions, carrots, parsley, just for their seeds. Now, seeds are difficult to harvest. When mature, the seeds of each plant must be collected without delay. If not, they... [Lire la suite]