April ended rather wet but since then May has been, well May-like. Mostly sunny and sometimes very warm. Of course we find we have rather caught a cold - no, not that sort. It seems the French have gone for regional school holidays and May, a lot of it, is the local spring holiday. On top of which May is full of public holidays. If you read the Daily Flail you will be of the view that the UK has more public holidays than anywhere on earth. Utter tosh. We sit very low in the global table of such things, behind the fabled US and France.
May 1 is quite properly celebrated here with Labour Day events and on the very proper day. Thus it was Friday this year. May 8 is WW2 Victory Day, May 14 is Ascension Day (hmmm!), May 24 and 25 are Whit (Now secularised in the UK as Spring Bank Holiday), and finally May 31 is Mothering Sunday. So wrong month guys.
But the month started well since this year I did not have to wish my brother a happy birthday a day late in May (its April 30). May 1 was Labour Day and we went to the Vide Grenier (empty the attic) and a local car boot (brocante?) in Remy. Struck me that recycling all this artisan stuff was in fact quite a good way of celebrating the working man's efforts.
It included a more traditional horse fair - mostly Shetland's and donkeys but I did photograph a few white Carmargue ponies, clearly utterly bored. Theyb were indifferent to the amazing cavorting of a nine year old would-be horse dealer who, in blue and yellow striped T-shirt and waving a riding crop, strode up and down apparently exclaiming the quality of his wares. Nobody paid him the slightest attention, especially his wares. I forbore from photographing him in this PC age.
But we did rather foul up on Saturday when we decided to go to Salon de Provence, to our east. Its a large and historic town and I am sure is fascinating but around 1000 sheep got there ahead of us and entry was not desirable. This is the transhumance the seasonal movement of sheep from winter to summer (and vice versa) pastures. It appears that the Alpilles, our local near mountain range once sported 100,000 sheep, all moved at roughly the same time!
Instead we chdecked out a couple of local villages for future reference and then headed home for our first barbecue (well open air griddling) of the trip - big prawns, butterfly sardines and Barnsley chops (no, I have no idea what they call them here). Washed down with Picpoul de Penet and a rather good Bordeaux.
Sunday saw us head up into the hills to give the dog a better walk. These Alpilles really are like little Alps - rugged, rocky and deeply cut by ravines. But they only reach 300 metres and stretch a mere 15 k by 5! They feel almost cosy but the slopes are precipitous and vast areas have been quarried. We found a fine walk that gave us amzing views of Les Baus de Provence - a vast fortified outcrop with village, chateau and stuff. Packed on a bank hoiliday Sunday. We have been before and will, as then, go again - late in the afternoon, mid-week!
Monday was a dull but humid day so little activity. However we noted that transfers here seem to be on a Monday. In the morning many leave; around midday many arrive. It is odd. Monday is a closed day for French commerce but it is Sunday that bans HGVs (except by licence arrangement) which is why we use Sunday for our transfers. Monday is just another hectic day to us. Odd.
And i must get Roger's Dutch wife Bunny to teach me some useful Dutch - we are surrounded by friendly Dutch people but they inevitably choose to chat to each other in little groups and at the washing up space. Their English is usually good to excellent but we have no Dutch and to us (if not them) it matters.
Click picture to see larger image
April pictures are HERE