There is nowhere to park in Boussac at the moment. An archaeological dig is going on by the church, there seems to be something happening at the exhibition halls, and the Scary Fair has filled the market place and central streets of the town. These are the main car parking areas. The Scary Fair is the yearly funfair which is part of the Boussac’s Quasimodo celebrations. We gave it that name because last year we all came away injured. Rors had had a go on the giant inflatable slide. The thing was practically perpendicular and kids regularly shot right off the end of it. But that didn’t faze our Ruadhri. What got him were the friction burns he got all along his arms. I’d bought him tickets for six go’s at it, but after two he retired injured.
So we went to the dodgems to cheer him up. In mine and Chris’s day back at fairs in the UK, the bumper cars trundled around and bashed against each other robustly on the sides. You did a head-on collision, and you were chucked off. Or so I hear. Anyway, anything goes on French dodgems. And what’s more, they’re jet propelled compared with the ones I knew and loved where you had to floor the pedal to go anything faster than a slow creep. Caits, Chris and I all got bashed knees from being thrown against the steering wheel during high-speed crashes. We limped stiffly away, had an ice-cream and then headed for home to nurse our wounds. For several days. We’ll be giving it a wide berth this year. And don’t think we’re being wussy. We’re cyclists, farmers and we’ve renovated two houses. We fall off our bikes now and again, we wrestle llamas and manhandle goats, we hit our thumbs with hammers every five minutes and drop large lumps of wood or masonry on our toes. We’re used to getting bashed and bruised. But the Scary Fair was over the top.
On the subject of cycling, it’s taken a couple of weeks but Chris and I are properly cycling fit at last. We’ve been riding for about an hour and a half every day. Today we did an extra long tour after dropping Rors off at school and didn’t notice it. We went on to have a busy day. Chris sawed branches off overhanging trees round the lakes and I dragged them up the bank into piles, and then I vacuumed the gite from top to bottom all afternoon and battled with tangled duvets and covers, while Chris chopped wood up. And then we cycled off to get Rors. Not bad for two people with 100 years between them! The great thing about our life here is that we are so physically active. OK, so we fall asleep in front of the telly at nine o’clock some nights, but on the whole we’re fighting fit!
Daily snippets for 16 April
Today’s saint: St Joseph-Benoît, who spent his life walking since originally no monastery would take him as he was either too fragile or too young. He is thought to have covered some 30,000 km during his short life.
Born on this day: Anatole France b 1844, writer, who received the Nobel prize for literature, also Louise Elisabeth Vigée le Brun, a painter born 1755.
Died on this day: Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon in 1788. I’m fond of the Comte. It was he, who in 1777 or thereabouts, wrote about llamas, saying what a good thing they would be for France. He was particularly tempted by their meat, which today’s llama farmers aren’t, but he had the perspicacity to see what brilliant animals they are!
Today’s French word: Fête foraine – funfair