By five in the afternoon the heat of the plain and the cool air from the Pyrenees were colliding, sending huge columns of white cloud tumbling and jostling high into the sky. The antique dealers eyed the developing anvil heads, folded their umbrellas, filled their vans, and before you knew it were off. By seven it had become overcast and humid - not just humid but that thick cloying, lethargy inducing humidity that you find in Savannah and Charleston in high summer - even the frogs in the village pond fell silent in the heat. Then at ten to eight just as the church doors had been pinned open in preparation for the saints day procession the skies opened, the lightning flashed, and the thunder rolled. The remaining onlookers scattered, the organising committee raced to carry the tables and chairs for the 'feast' inside, and within five minutes all signs of the festivities had disappeared. Everyone bravely said the storm would last ten minutes but by nine, as we stood in the church porch watching the water coursing and eddying down the hill, it was clear that the bonfire, the fecund dancing and the procession would have to wait.
Monday, June 28, 2010
It started off hot and it got hotter. This didn't seem to deter the crowds who were soon flocking into the village, scouring the bric a brac stalls in search of hidden treasures and marvelling at the festive scarecrows at the bus stop and outside the pharmacy. By ten the village was full and visitors cars were parked, higgeldy piggeldy, all the way along the lane and under whatever shade was at hand. The mayor gave a brief, largely inaudible formal opening speech, in which he thanked all the antique dealers for coming . Looking at the motley array of limbless dolls and three wheeled prams on offer one couldn't help but feel that the word 'antique' has a uniquely broad range of interpretations.
After a glass or two of reviving wine in the salle de fetes ( no storm was going to stand in the way of the villagers real business of the day) we made our excuses, said farewell to Madame Bay who was hard at work in the kitchen and dashed the twenty yards across the green to our gate. We tumbled into the hall laughing and soaked to the skin to be met by a look from Wilf that said ' where do you think you've been ? Don't you know it's wet out'. We fell asleep to the sound of accordian music wafting across from the village hall - the storm had not dampened all the villagers spirits.