9 Aug 2011

Water jousting on the Canal

Each year, there is jousting held on the Canal du Midi at Sallèles-d'Aude, 15 minutes from here. 

I tried to go 3 years ago, but got the times wrong and missed it all. The last two years, it’s been on the same Sunday as Bize’s own Olive Festival. This year it was a week after, and I made it at last.

The boats are brought up from Sète, where water jousting has been a tradition since 1666. They have their big festivals in July and August, but take time out to come up to the Canal for a day of jousting. 

Given the quality of the water in the Canal (!), I know where I’d prefer taking a dive….

The place was crowded – canal-side markets, food stalls, a huge vide-grenier winding through the streets, and thousands of people. But I managed to get a good position on the other side of the safety rail.  

At least I wasn’t the only one with legs hanging over into the canal – and it certainly did afford a great front-row view.

7 Aug 2011


Fire-crackers are a common thing here at festivals – well, any celebration really. Unlike Australia – where they’ve been illegal for more than 40 years. They can be bought just about anywhere. Here in Bize, you can get them at the local lolly shop – where else....

And there were a fair few of them around at the recent Bastille Day celebrations. Most of them were being let off by the young kids of the village. But not all of them.

There were a couple of women of a certain age (well, perhaps only one was of a certain age) who sat on a balcony, enjoying a wine in the late afternoon, and who sent the kids off to the lolly shop to buy a packet of Tom Thumbs.

I haven’t had so much fun in a long time!

We were quite restrained - resisting the temptation to drop them onto unsuspecting people below - instead we dropped them into the olive tree. 

Some of those little guys had surprisingly short fuses - here's Nic getting a couple away in good time though.

The Olive Festival:

Another one been and gone - I was a little late getting down to the aioli-making competition, and arrived just after it had finished .......

Bize Old Boys' Club a.k.a. Aioli judging panel
Many of the usual food and handicraft stalls ...

... and a few new ones, including this man selling knives, axes, scythes and many sharpening stones.
Pony rides - outside the Maire's office

At the end of the day, fireworks on the river.

And all this under a beautiful full moon.

Moving sideways

Future posts on Bize-Bytes can now be found on Facebook. Link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bize-Bytes/895137113876897