Oui Oui Petanque




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Painted along the road and footpath is a blue line...I kept vaguely thinking “That’s the blue line in Sydney which marked where the Olymipc marathon runners were to go in 2000...what’s it doing in Poitiers?” then realised there was sometimes a red line and a yellow line too. Then I realised there were red, blue and yellow lines on the tourist map I’d picked up. Brilliant! Follow the line on the ground and it takes you on a tour...kind of a GPS for dummies.

Incidentally, parts of the blue line in Sydney had to be taken off the road after the Olympics because drivers were getting distracted and following it as it drifted across into oncoming traffic...

The apartment is on a busy road, albeit one lane in one direction, so striking out this morning it was fun to see cafe chairs not yet unstacked for the day, rollers going up on the side of a beer truck, baguettes, horns tooting, traffic like treacle and frowns on faces while people try to circumnavigate cars perched on impossible corners to allow owners to dash into shops for this or that on their way to work.

I walked for most of the day.

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My soul wasn’t stirred by the towering Cathedrals and Churches whose stone carving is as intricate as their history - I wasn’t moved because I haven’t the tiniest fraction of understanding what I’m actually seeing . It’s too vast. It’s a frustration. I simply cannot grasp the concept of these walls having been here for centuries upon centuries and what they’ve meant for different people. That they feature in ancient tapestries and parchments.

I best heard the story that the hollowed steps told.

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Possibly I need to be taken by someone passionate about such places rather than by a blue line.



A wonderful park immediately felt calming, even though everything is carefully planted and cropped and pruned and groomed. Trees pruned to stand wafer thin shoulder-to-shoulder making a wall of foliage were somehow satisfying, even though part of me was saying I should be finding them grotesque. I caught myself thinking that the bronze statues looked a bit pretentious, then laughed when I remembered that these are the actual statues that people with pretentious statues are trying to copy.

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A flamethrower deals with weeds on the gravel pathways.

Men playing petanque (the onomatopoeic French name for boules).

The little animal zoo has guinea pigs. I wonder what a French guinea pig sounds like? (Oui, oui, oui ?)

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Elsewhere waiters laden with trays of beer and rosé and warm goat’s cheese salad dash back and forth across the busy road between their restaurant and islands of tables in the sun, traffic and waiters ignoring and miraculously missing each other. (You can just imagine the ambulance bringing one in...
Le Docteur, “Status?”
Ambo (pompier),”Hit by car, temperature and blood pressure normal, reflexes sluggish, Duck a l’Orange slightly overdone, perky little red from Bourgogne definitely corked”)

A bus slowly squeaks and hiccups around a corner, narrowly edging past parked cars, kerbs and tables. Two fat bollards block the roadway in front of it and I stop to see what will happen. Another bus has nosed up behind the first. They’ll never get out.

I blink and the bus is lumbering past. I missed something...what happened to the bollards? They rise up out of the pavement where they’ve been patiently waiting for the bus to get through, then obediently sink out of sight again for the second bus. Something about it reminds me of elephants bowing down to their mahout.

A motorist tries to reason with two traffic police on bicycles but the ticket has already been written. His hazard lights were on as he left his car outside a bank in a no parking zone. I was struck by two things...how the police officer getting a tissue out to blow her nose was a very disarming and defusing bit of body language, and how the police wrote a ticket but didn’t ask the driver about the very heavy and awkward bag he had come rushing out of the bank with.

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Oh, and it wasn’t a washing machine after all. Silly me. And I have no idea how to use it...

I’ll have to google my bidet.