Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Forum des Associations

Every year as previously reported, the town associations take over the centre of town car parks to man stalls in attempt to get new recruits. The associations range from “Esperanto” and photography, to trout fishing, cycling, board games, martial arts, majorettes, festival committee, electricians without frontiers, Croix Rouge, etc
This year we had a traditional game, courtesy of the Foyer Rural going on in the space in front of our stand. It was hot and C and I watched the two men unload their small blue car, speculating, as experts do, on what they were going to be doing.
“That’s a bag of potatoes” I said authoritatively.
“What are they going to do with them?” says C
“I expect that they are going to throw them at something” I said, “Look at those skittles (I didn’t know the French for skittles).
A heavy, square mat was placed on the tarmac, and 6 tall wooden skittles were placed thereon.
Out came the measuring tape, and bits of metal were placed at the appropriate distances from the pins / skittles.
The bearded one picked up one of the potatoes, which turned out to be a piece of wood shaped like one half of a rolling pin. He then threw this underhand, upwards and towards the skittles. His rolling pin knocked some of the skittles down.
He repeated this twice more. That was his turn over.
“Come on” I said, “let’s have a go”.
We learnt that this game was so popular with the populace in medieval times farmers were gambling away their land, and no work was being done, so it was banned.
Here is C chancing her arm.

There are different variations of the game, some regional. We were looking at “Quilles au maillet” with a 6 pin layout. The aim of the game is not to knock down all 6 pins, but to knock them all down but one. I was given a leaflet should exixt but it doesn’t see; to work, but this other site does. You can use the Google translate button if you want to know more.
You can buy a set of 6 skittles and 3 maillets (the half rolling pins) for 100 euros plus about 30 euros postage. The square of black steel reinforced rubber to stand the skittles on is another 30 or so euros and around 25 euros postage. I am sorely tempted to buy a set, as one of the two places that you can buy them is about 40 minutes drive away.
The afternoon got hotter and hotter and there were not may people coming anywhere near our stand and poster boards, not even me.
We wandered off to watch the trout fishing. It was getting late in the afternoon, so the men in charge released their remaining 50 or so trout into the tank. The aim was for children to get hooked (gettit?) on fishing and it was free to have a go. Once caught, the fish was lightly killed with a short stick and placed into a blue plastic bag for the lucky parent to take home, gut and cook.
It's the reel thing

not too sure about it now, eh?
The afternoon dragged on as I watched demos of American line dancing. Jazz dancing, martial arts etc.
the gentlemen just loved themselves

All too slowly it was time to dismantle the stands and carry the tables and chairs away to the storage area.Then it was time to cross the road for the free aperitif in the courtyard of the Mairie.
C and I got there early as you can see.


As others started to arrive, a duo started playing the guitar and singing to a backing track.
“Zummertime an the liviniz easy”...... The singer wiggled her hips continuously. I suggested to C that the singer might normally wear a hula skirt, perhaps they were cruise liner entertainers .....

People started to edge towards the tables where the meagre supply of booze and nibbles equivalent to 5 loaves and 2 fishes beckoned.

It was ages before someone’s nerve finally broke and snacking and drinking began with a sudden rush.
Yes there were speeches, the mayor and someone else couldn’t make it, someone was given a medal, two people spoke about cutbacks or somesuch.
Not Speechless

Triple Ricard and water (with ice) and nibbles duly consumed, because I pay my taxes, I wended my way homewards.
It wasn’t until I was back in the flat that I made my first mistake of the day......

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