When day dawned cool and bright the reality of having to attack the mess both outside and in dawned with it. Drawing on our years of experience we decided the only way to deal with it was to get in the car and drive as far from it as we could go in a day.
Thankfully, when we heard that Karen and George’s barge had broken down in the middle of the Champagne region and by the best of coincidence a short walk from the town of Ay where there happened to be a monster two day festival underway, our destination seemed pre-ordained. Thus it was that we found ourselves a very safe few hundred kilometres away from the prospect of spending this fairest of days surrounded by vile chemicals and scrubbing brushes.
Instead very splendid day indeed ensued. I could go on and on about the scenic tour by electric Tuk Tuk across the vineyard ridges, past vines owned by pretty much all of the well known champagne houses, and how I wonder if somewhere in Cambodia some enterprising person is running tours in Citroen 2CV’s. Of course I could talk at length about tasty lunches and champagne houses with open doors and Henri IV in whose honour the fete was being held, marionettes and art, and historic reenactments, the bands, the fireworks, the late night crepes and the walk back beside the canal. I could talk about all of those things, but in truth my heart and mind were occupied throughout the day, and no I don’t mean on the amount of work waiting to be done back in Lagarde.
Few outside a very close circle indeed will be aware of a not quite all-consuming interest I have in street organs. I actually have video clips and plans and half-made bits of several started projects tucked in dark corners in my workshop and store and one day, one day, when the time is right, will actually finish building at least one of the things. Therefore, to discover a convention of sorts was underway amid this very festival was a pleasure almost too much to bear. It seemed there was an organ playing on every corner in the village, with the entire gamut of construction and musical arranging skill or lack thereof on display, but no matter what the quality of instrument voice or arrangement, the impact on the crowd was always the same judging by the monster smiles all round.
Tomorrow perhaps, there will be more!