Markets, fairs and Bull Runs under the trees

Every Friday the market comes to Barjac. Colour & smell & shapes & sounds all come together to represent the nation in the eyes of the world, as they do in every French town & village. These images display the wealth of French life better than any words. I love the products, the sampling, the range of faces, the colour that is attached on every stall and the busy tempo as stall holders try to sell & the punters jockey for position around the stalls, handing over grubby notes & coins before placing their purchases in large shoulder bags & wicket baskets. Macho men & glamorous women & young tatooed mums & grizzled, aged grandma’s & large bellied, vested granddad’s balance baskets & baguetes & wraped salamis with wine bottles & leads of dogs of every shape & size.  The siren sounds at 12.30 to mark the end of trading and the world returns to normal, the stalls are packed away, the vans leave for farms & studios before setting up again the following day in another town as has happened every week over the centuries.

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The fun of the fair hits Barjac on our first weekend. They set up under the trees and gradually everything comes to life as dusk comes & darkness falls. The fairground families leave their Mercedes & motorhomes & Beamers & wander up and wind up the children’s dodgems, the candy floss, the shooting arcades, the octopus Whirler, the duck grab, the gentle plastic cars, the sexy chair rides. Excited children & bored mums & posing gigggling teenage girls showing off to nervous insecure boys & dads showing off with the mallets to be the strongest strong man all mingle together through the smell of chips & burgers & tomato sauce. Healthy living at its best!!! Enjoy life and bump & hoot & scream & munch together.

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The potters’ market is held on the last Thursday in July. Now the classy artisans display their wares and a new type of more cultured buyer congregate amongst the leafy arches to ooh & arh & comment & appreciate.

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The finale to our stay in Barjac is the bull run which is held over the first weekend in August. Large grids are positioned on either side of the main Street and the local cowboys & youths prepare to show off to the young girls & visitors. A few bulls are released from cattle trucks at the top of the town. Local cowboys herd them in to charge down the street & past waiting youths who time their run, grabbing onto tails to pull the beasts back or racing alongside the menacing horns. Everyone seems to enjoy it, except the bulls maybe. The Barjac Horns of Plenty accompany the proceedings keeping up a ratter tatter, ump pa pa, boom bang a bang the whole time.

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