26 Feb 2008

Bize Minervois Carnaval 2008

Phew this is a busy busy time of year. And I thought winter would be a quiet time. No such thing.
The celebrations started with an evening organised by the local football club in the Village Hall (I’ve found myself there quite a bit lately!). Dress requirements were simple: black and red. Tickets included a three course meal including aperitifs and wines, and a DJ for the evening. A group of us got together, and what a fun evening it was. Everyone was issued with a red or white bandana, and the DJ had everyone up singing and generally joining in. I have to say, this is the first time I’ve been to a dinner/dance, where the nearly everyone is up standing on their chairs waving their bandanas. And this is all between the entrée and the main course!
And then after mains but before dessert, he had conga lines happening. Well I haven’t done that for quite a few years but yep, he had the whole lot up, charging around the rows of tables and everyone having a great time. So I was far too occupied to get any photos of that exercise …
But I did get some footage of a whole lot of people sitting on the floor, appearing to be rowing! But what they were doing was passing a prone person backwards over their heads……. All wonderfully bizarre and lots of fun.

It went on quite late, but our little group exited before the disco started, not too long after the meal. There were hordes of young folk waiting outside the hall for the ‘real music’ to start. I think an awful lot of them were not from this village. I would like to think so anyway, because during the night, my lovely planter boxes from my front window disappeared - a little disheartening to say the least.
The Carnaval lasts for four days – the fun fair has set up on the boules ground down near the river, and then on the Sunday was the main event.
Last year I was a spectator at the big parade, this year Sandra and me were invited to join in the Troisieme Age’s float. What a hoot the day was ….. the theme they chose was ‘Austrian’ because last year the group went on a trip to the Tyrol area of Austria… The float was a giant beer stein, and there was beer on tap which was given away to the crowd in plastic glasses as the parade went around the village twice.
Illyette and a few others have been making the costumes for some time now, so early afternoon it was ‘dress up’ time for me and Sandra. Again, not something I’ve done for a while - and it was hard work smiling with that much slap on!
A few more photos of the parade -
Sarkozy and Carla Bruni:
A group from the Limoux Fecos Festival came through to march on the day:
Miki as Snow White!
And the lead float – for some reason this year is a semi-naked king sitting on his 'throne'!
Traditionally, at the end of the festival, the main float is symbolically burned down on the river bed:
And of course after the parade, that wasn’t the end of it. It was back to the Village Hall for aperitifs and a little more dancing.
And following this, back to the club rooms with the Troisieme Age for a meal …. At the end of the night, arrangements were being made for yet another meal and dance the following night at the bar in Cabazac – and I just had to decline. These older folk leave me for dead!
Oh, and on the Saturday morning, a quick trip up to La Caunette for THEIR annual Citrus Festival (Fête de la Bigarade). I can’t believe it’s a year since I was there last year – it’s when I bought my eucalyptus. Which incidentally has done OK through the winter. A few of the tips of the branches suffered with the frosts, but it’s come back with a vengeance. This year, I bought a small mimosa (wattle) to replace one of the roses that was on its last legs …. So hopefully this will grow fairly quickly and provide a bit of shade in the courtyard.
However, the theme was citrus, and there were some interesting sights:
As the label on the fruit says, it’s Main de Bouddha (Hand of Buddha) – first time I’ve ever seen anything like it.
Oh, and I came across this woman with a long-haired Chihuahua in a basket … asked if I could take a photo [no problems ….] and made the stupid mistake of going to pat it. The little bugger bit me! Well, perhaps that’s a little bit of an exaggeration – but he definitely nipped me ……! Given that I'm not a dog person, you'd think I'd have more sense ....

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