Julian Gray sends more words and pictures from the old country. This time its the Apple Fest in Mirepoix. I can't think where all the apples are grown except to say that there are many orchards on the road between Chalabre and la Bastide-de-Bousignac. He's sent another report about a trip to the Mediterranean coast which I'll post in a day or two. Thanks again, Julian.
Dear Doug and Nancy
A few weeks ago Lavelanet went crazy for Hazelnuts, the 'Fete de la Noisette'. This weekend it's the turn of Mirepoix to go nuts about apples, the 'Fete des Pommes'.
Apples present more opportunities than nuts to decorate the town. For this, apparently the tenth Fete des Pommes, the local fruit producers and their many helpers have tried extra hard. Every street around the town centre is playing its part with numerous small displays involving 'pommes' hanging off the old timber-framed buildings and perched on top of the many permanent bollards that protect pedestrians from passing traffic. Most of the little shops have apples in their displays. The butcher had a neat 'tenth birthday cake' in his window (photo).
As you would expect the famous medieval Market Square is the focus of creativity. Large scale sculptures, made by attaching apples to chicken-wire frames with rubber bands, are arranged along the central piece of garden. And the market hall has a magnificent archway celebrating ten years. There is no special significance in a windmill or a biplane or racing car or a Viking ship - probably just the result of a committee deciding what sort of sculptures would be fun to make.
All this provides a foreground for another weekend of open-air music, dancing and feasting, the way the French, with their well-trained combination of appetite and stamina, prefer to do it, enhancing community spirit and forcing the world's economic woes well into the background.
Sorry no pictures of the action - we went on set-up day but had the benefit of being able to see everything.
We are enjoying Doug's reminiscences of 60 eventful years - is there a book in there bursting to get out?
Julian and Gwenda
Book bursting to get out? No. I just hope you enjoy reading it.