Our guilty pleasure during today’s Salon de la Gastronomie had nothing to do with the food and goodies on offer. It was all about seeing drivers getting stuck in our little street, and then watching them try to solve their dilemma. Here’s what happens:
A car full of tourists is driving through Daglan. The driver sees a seething mass of pedestrians up ahead, wandering along the cobbled streets, looking at food stalls. It’s our village’s special, annual market extravaganza. The driver wants to avoid threading through the shoppers. What to do?
Suddenly, just past the Mayor’s office (the Mairie), the driver comes across a narrow street on his right, and turns down it, thinking that he will cleverly avoid the mess of traffic by driving around the village centre. All is well until he drives just past our house, turns left, and sees this up the slight rise in the road:
Yes, the road is totally blocked by the very market that he is trying to avoid. That’s because our street is a crescent, which descends from Daglan’s main street and then loops around, back up into the village’s main square.
In my mind, I’ve often written the dialogue that takes place in the car. We’ll assume the driver is Husband, and the front-seat passenger is Wife. Husband: “Oh look, Grace, a street that can get us out of this mess!” Wife: “Are you sure, Harold? Looks pretty narrow to me.” Husband: “Just relax, Grace. I’m in charge.” Two minutes later: Wife: “Harold, we’re stuck! You’re a moron!” And so on.
Today’s prize for being stuck was won by a car full of family and friends (as my wife Jan and I watched from our kitchen window), driving a full-size car that was pulling a large trailer loaded with bikes and lots of other stuff. The car was several metres up the street, towards the blockage, when people began piling out. Turning around (with the trailer) in the narrow street (lined with solid stone houses) would be pretty impossible. What do do?
Well, everyone got out, and managed (with a lot of effort) to un-hitch the trailer, and pull it into a corner, after which the driver managed to turn around the car. Then Jan and I watched as six people stood around, trying to lift the heavy (loaded) trailer and hitch it back to the car. Eventually, it managed to drive away.
So much for our guilty pleasure. As for the Salon de la Gastronomie, I’d say it was a success, as usual. Here’s a look at the crowd around noon today:
There was a nice selection of goodies on offer, like this stall offering olives and various spreads:
And of course there were several stalls offering one of the specialities of the Greater Daglan Area, namely sausages:
And then, in the centre of the square, was this ring of timbers filled with soil and plants, where the owner of a truffle-sniffing dog would show the crowd how he uses the pooch to find truffles:
Having seen the spectacle in previous years (and described it in painstaking detail in Radio Free Daglan), we didn’t stick around for the show. Instead, we went back to our house for lunch.
Meanwhile, the traffic problems in our little street continued. At one point, Jan called up to me (at my computer), “We could sell tickets to this!” And maybe next year, we will.