Sunday, July 31, 2011

Diplomatic skills and the world garlic champion .

The start of the weekend garlic festival in the little market town . Wilf joins me, bright and early, on the croissant run . Although it's barely seven the square outside the cafe is already bustling . In the market hall a huge vat of garlic is boiling away in readiness for lunch , the stalls are doing a brisk trade selling garlic strands to Dutch tourists and a pipe band is somewhat incongruously practising for the noontime ' Garlic Queen ' parade . The highlight of the day, this year as every year , will be an attempt to break the world record for garlic peeling .The record stands at 26.5 kilos in 30 minutes .

On the way back we're followed down the drive by a white van with a large cartoon chipmunk brandishing a power saw painted on its side . It's the tree surgeon that I phoned after the April storms. He looks at the oak branch dangling menacingly above the barn and says out loud ' that's not good. You want to get that fixed '. I bite my tongue while thinking of a wide variety of responses that a less diplomatic individual might come out with . He clambers up the tree with all the agility of a monkey , examines the offending branch , and then shimmies effortlessly down again . ' I wouldn't park the cars there if another storm comes along ' . With that he's off down the drive promising to come back in November to remove the offending branch . Progress, of sorts .

Another white van arrives shortly thereafter . It's Audes friend from the womens cooperative with her cement mixer , crew cut and dungarees . She glowers , stubs out her cigarette and gruffly informs me that she's come to regrout the terrace walls. . Today , she's wearing a tee shirt that says ' You've just got lucky ' printed in large capital letters across the front . For the second time that morning I employ my diplomatic skills and remain silent .

Wilf sensibly ignores all this activity and settles down for his post-breakfast , pre-lunch, doze. Ever the optimist , experience tells him that it's better to ' count the garden by the flowers , never by the leaves that fall ' .


  1. I thought you were going to say there was a garlic eating contest. And I was going to say I would have to stay home that day! :)

  2. We remember the Garlic Fest from last year.

    Hope there's not huge storm before November.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  3. I think your tree surgeon has a relative in Aberdeen....

    I am wondering what are the duties of the Garlic Queen? Perhaps she too will wear a 'You've just got lucky' t-shirt?

    Cheers, Gail.

  4. Wise and diplomatic Wilf and Ongoose - sounds like Southern Italy. The other day I was informed that I belonged to culinary barbaric culture... not that I was cooking - but generally speaking it is a very difficult time with Mr. B. further ruining the country and our garbage problem... so that is what is left. I also have to keep silent very often - have a great garlic fest -love from Southern Italy Susanne, Daisy and Foxiie
    P.S. I hope there is garlic sausage for my little white friend...

  5. OMG, and you can keep your calm ? Even if i am a frenchie too, i just can not understand how french people work...
    Except the garlic festival, i wish you a wonderful Sunday, Angus.
    AmitiƩs to you and the Font, and lots and lots of bisous for my beloved Wilfee.

  6. alas... my silly blood pressure type A work ethic would do me in if i lived there.
    you seem so calm. a very zen ongoose!
    i love wilfee's picture. the top one looks as if he even posed for it. i love his beautiful now blue cast eyes. still so expressive.
    please give him a special tummy rub. and tell him it's from me. he'll know.
    tammy j

  7. I like the idea of a garlic peeling contest much better than the classic American hot dog eating contest.

    Fortunately, our satellite installers were decidedly "unFrench". However, we just suffered through a basement remodel that started in February and, due to unpredictable intermittent work schedules, only just finished. So, we understand... November, really?

  8. You are much, much more diplomatic than me! I admire you! I think a festival entirely dedicated to garlic must be awfully tasty!

  9. A garlic extravaganza... can smell it all the way over here!

    I don't know if I could cope with the hair pulling "schedule" of the workers..

  10. So let me get this straight. A tree branch which was broken in April is to be left until November? It's one of those zen meditation questions, right? Like 'what is the sound of one hand clapping?' But I can't resist: Why??

    It appears ture, however that there are many flowers in your life in France Profounde! Love to Vilfee!

  11. Wow-you have quite the cast of characters in your little corner of the world. Good thing you have Wilf to "protect" you from the craziness.

  12. Will you be returning to the festival for some delicious garlic creations? We are sure that there will be some rather interesting dishes. None for Wilf though, toxic for dogs.

  13. Hi There, My friend Gizmo from Rottrover told me about your site and so I came by for a visit. I love it.

    It is great to follow you and Wilf on your adventures. And love the interesting characters you are meeting along the way.

    MMMMM The comment on the tree "thats not good, you ought to get the fixed" and "better not park any cars under there" is still making My Vickie laugh.

    So, if you don't mind, we are your newest followers.

    Wilf, I love your spirit and your great desire to outlive this, I am sorry you lost your brother so soon.

    Your new friend (I hope)


  14. Has it been a year all ready? Enjoy the festival!

    Blessings and Love,
    Janelle and Maggie Mae

  15. Oh, a garlic festival! I bet that smelled heavenly!!!

    I'm laughing about that comment that guy made about the branch needing to be fixed and then saying he wouldn't be back until NOVEMBER to take care of it from when you called him in April.

    I met a lady who plays bagpipes this weekend. She performed at an event I volunteer at every year. She did a great job.

  16. I can't decide if I'd love French village life, or if I'd go mad with everyone needing 6 mos to complete one task. I'll have to ponder on that a bit.

    Glad to see Wilf isn't bothered in the least by it :)