I have just returned from a baptism. A windturbine’s baptism, no less!

I’ve blogged about our local éoliennes several times. We have nine relatively near us in and around Bussière St Georges and St Marien. We can see a couple of them from the garden in the distance.

Anyway, we’re all quite proud of our éoliennes round here. It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship, but they’re here now and the Creusois are a down-to-earth, stoic lot. They get on with things. They accept nine 200 metre-tall structures dominating the landscape for miles around. The schoolchildren, especially in our local communes, have been quite involved with the whole project. They visited one when it was being assembled and recently an art competition on the theme of ‘mon éolienne et moi’ was organised. The prizewinners, one from each of the local primary and nursery schools, would have an éolienne named after them. So poor Ruadhri didn’t have a chance. There was no way they’d choose to use a name most people over here can’t pronounce! (It’s pronounced Rory by the way. And although French people can say Aurore, a girl’s name (Dawn) with no difficulty, most of them fall apart with his name. It ends up Wahwee, rising to a very high pitch at the end!)

Rors waiting uncomfortably for the results

Today was the official prize giving at éolienne no. 8 followed by the physical baptême of that one and baptism on a map of all the other windturbines. Parents and families were invited, so Chris, Caits and I jumped on our bikes and had enjoyed a good, long blast to the venue. There was a big poster up saying it was Global Wind Day but I’ve checked and that was actually 15th June but I guess it doesn’t matter if we run a bit late.

Nothing much happened for a while, as we’d expected, even though we were slightly late, but suddenly things organised themselves and it began. First the bigwigs shuffled up to the front and a few of them gave mercifully short speeches.

"So that's an éolienne?"

One rambled on a bit but the beauty of being a non-native French speaker is that you can switch off easily and happily and daydream. At last they got to the prizegiving. The poor kids had been made to sit on hard, sharp stones and were getting fidgety but at last their wait was over. The gagnants and gagnantes were announced and proudly held their pictures up. All except one were extremely good. The last one was frankly deeply disturbing, but hey, not my kid so not my problem. The Maire of Bussière who was doing the announcing explained that one of the pictures entered in the competition had been of a windturbine on fire with the sapeurs-pompiers (firefighters) bravely battling the flames! That should have been a winner, I reckon!

Little Marine gave her name to éolienne 8. She walked up the steps with her teacher and the vice-préfet of Creuse (I think) and stuck a name plaque bearing her own name on the side.

And that’s how you baptise a windturbine!

Meet Marine