Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Sunday part 1 The Rallye Bum-pah edition

Welcome to my 200th Rigsby blog.
Up at 715am to get ready for my day out. The car treasure hunt with other members of our canton. I packed my bag with a plate, cutlery and a beaker for the meal. I also took my GPS, English – French dictionary, plastic bags, scotch tape, a stapler, pair of scissors, camera, spare batteries,, Lets just say my rucksack was a bit on the heavy side.
I turned up at the rendezvous point at the allotted hour. i.e. 8.15am. Well, most of the organisers were there. It was quite some time before others started to appear. Then people started having coffee.

"Where's it going to end?"

Eventually there were 9 teams in 9 cars. I was lucky enough to be in the car of two of my belote evening friends. Even better, they had won the previous year. It was overcast, so I was glad I had worn my anorak.
Some people had not returned their slips of paper or payment, but as one lady said, “I knew I was coming, so there was no need to return the paper, or to pay in advance”. So much for trying to calculate for the catering!
Some of the instructions were read out, then the folders containing all the rules, and the clues and a map were placed on a wall.
Normally this would indicate a racing start. Sure enough one person from each car had to run to the wall and pick up a folder when the whistle was blown.

Then however, we were told to read our folders first, and then upon another whistle being blown, we could set off.
Let’s just say that the clues were tough. I would never have guessed that our first stop was going to be the fire station, where there were about 9 questions to be answered.
We arrived and there were quite a few firefighters about. We invaded the station, and soon one of the firemen was helping us with our enquiries. Then the offered to show the children a fire fighting outfit and helmet, then it was a look at one of their ambulances….. I cannot imagine such a friendly welcome in a UK firestation early on a Sunday, or anyother morning. I could be wrong.....

My driver seemed to know one of the firemen and I think that we were the last to leave for the next location by about 5 minutes. Little did I know that I would be seeing more of them later on....
We visited tiny hamlets hidden in the hills, stopped people to ask the name of their postman,

"torn between two worlds, the old and the new"

measured things, found locked churches whose clues therefore had to remain unanswered.There was a meadow full of wild flowers, but no one could find a dandelion (pissenlit in French). plenty of dandelion leaves, but no yellow heads!
Many of the questions were not typical of the things that I would have expected. You had to name the 3rd president of the Republic, put various ancient monarchs into chronological order, say who had said (various quotes), mathematical number sequence puzzles… The people in know, opened their car boots and reference books emerged.
We had to collect named flowers, we also had to produce a collage (hence the sticky tape etc). using things like flowers, twigs etc. Guess what my job was. Yes as the car bounced erratically up narrow lanes at high speed, I was sticking flowers onto cardboard. I felt quite car sick by the time I had finished it. After about an hour, the sun blazed down on us and it was very hot.
At one hamlet location there was a cascade (waterfall), but I did not have time to take a proper look. The recent burst of foliage hid the upper reaches from view.

"The blue remembered hills"

It also had a chateau which I did not see. We had two mimes to solve, before we handed in our first set of questions, and received our next instructions and questions. This is when it all went tits-up (probably an American expression).
We went to the wrong place, followed by two or three other cars who assumed we knew where to go. Everyone had been swopping answers all morning, so I was expecting everyone to have the same number of points by the end anyway. We were now late for our “be back between noon and 12.30pm for the aperitif” instruction. At record speed, with me still bouncing and sticking in the back of the car, we hurtled back to base, arriving at about 1pm.
After sangria and a few nibbles, the winners were announced. Our team came third, so I now have a free ticket to visit the castle and a yellow baseball cap with “La Poste” on it.
The meal was attended by about 50 people. We had cold salad (like the tinned salad) lots of bread, sausages, chips, apple tart, wine, wine, wine, brie, goats’ cheese. Then I had to try some sort of fire water, which was not eau de vie, but something to do with prunes.
During the meal, I sat next to my 86 year old friend R, who was fairly tucking away the food and the red wine. I ended up being invited along to….

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