The other day, Nancy and I received our first dispatch from Leran recording the goings-on back in France. Julian Gray and a group of fun-seekers from Leran went to the Hazelnut Festival in Lavelanet and he sent about 30 pictures. Consequently I had to pick out just a few to reproduce here. Julian, doing his best Edward R. Murrow impersonation, sends the following report on the festivities.
Dear Doug and Nancy,
You have probably already had lots of photos, from those of us left behind in Léran, of the Fete de la Noisette in Lavelanet last Sunday. Twenty-four of us went from Léran in three minibuses and we had a great day.
The photos show departure and arrival, the tall guy is Chandler, from Canada, who was last year's hazelnut-spitting world champion - he lost this year by 1.5 metres - his best was only 6 metres against the new champion with 7.5 (or thereabouts).
Other pics show market stalls selling interesting bread, knives, local cheeses and the biggest biscuit in the area in process of production, an old Renault truck (pre 1914 war), the market hall where the main celebrations were held, various officials in their costumes (the full Noisette hat and cloak is rather smart don't you think), the jazz band, half-eaten food - foie-gras, cassoulet, cheeses - and then the party games with a line of people sitting on the floor passing other people overhead, one at a time, from one end of the room to the other.
We miss you and Fergus. Old Smokey is being pressed into valuable service from time to time, with great care.
Love from everyone and "woof" to Fergus.
Hazelnut-spitting champion? I would never have imagined a hazelnut spitting contest much less a champion.............and from Canada. Oh, mon Dieu. France must be ashamed at this additional blow to her prestige. First, the Tour de France and now the hazelnut spitting competition. Sacre Bleu. Where will it stop? But you don't say where the new champ hails from. Perhaps, he is French, n'est pas? Oh yes, Julian. The Noisette hat and cloak are smart and radiate authority, but you know they don't hold a candle to me in my monk costume. We're sorry we missed it. Maybe next year. May I also point out that yours is the first and only report we've gotten about the Nutfest and we appreciate it. Good photos, old chap. I hope someone will be there for Quiz Night at the Le Rendezvous and report back with words and pictures.