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yogi bear up the cagire

Life President⭐
May 8, 2008
St Gaudens France
I see the blog section appears just to deal with football, so I've stuck mine here. Don't know whether it will interest anyone but it was good therapy, unwinding after an exhausting weekend.

Today is one of the few days I can sit in front of the computer with absolutely no guilt that I should be doing something more productive. My monthly fair in Toulouse reduces me, with age, to a semi-comatose state for a day or more, following the event.
However, let's start by going back to the 'jolly month of May'.........nothing jolly about it this year. Locals complained, "Un mois pourri!" as though it's something which has been stolen from them, which, when your May is normally, dry, warm and sunny, I suppose is not far from the truth.
A week of endlessly scanning weather forecasts in the hope of seeing a chink of light shine through the gloom of the forecast. Yet no, as the Toulouse weekend approached there were one or two false dawns before the gradual acceptance of a crappy weekend sunk in. It wasn't the rain that worried me.........rain I can deal with........no, it's wind which frightens the life out of me. Diificult to describe how stressful it is to stand under a pair of 3m X 4m umbrellas when they are being lifted (including their metal feet and heavy weights) off the ground by a gust of wind. This includes the the plastic sheets which encircle the stand, supposedly offering protection but in these circumstances, whipping in visciously, searching for china, glass or even furniture within reach.
It was with some reluctance and a misguided belief, the weather wouldn't be quite as bad as they had forecast, I finally decided I would go. With Marie-Ge 'enthusiastically' sitting beside me we set off from Saint Gaudens at 4.45 in the morning. We glided past Saint Martory with early visiting camping cars parked on the side of the Garonne. The owner of the café near the bridge, which had recieved a new lease of life as a general store for the temporary visitors parked opposite, was not yet open for business.
Out of the Comminges, it was the wind coming up from the Mediterranean, picking up strength over the Lauragais, which began to take control. My old tank of a van getting buffeted by the gusts as we approached the environs of Toulouse. Off the motorway - not paying toll charges with the van - we skirted Muret and came off the first roundabout, when fate decided to take a hand. Suddenly I could not get into fourth or fifth gear but moving back into third we were able to advance. The horror and dread of those few minutes as, new clutch? new gearbox??? (end of brocante) flashed through my mind. I made the decision for a demi-tour and return to Saint Gaudens. Slowly, when I started to regain my senses, I realised the same, in the end, small problem had happened when I was in Toulouse about twelve years previously. We crawled back home (70kms) slowly, hardly over 50kph with warning lights sheepishly fashing.
I was sitting outside the garage in rue François Mitterrand when Claude pulled up in his old mercedes. A gruff unwelcoming, "what do you want?" as though I was a Jehovah's witness or someone trying to sell him a dodgy insurance policy. This is the way of the man who is a local through and through and beneath the hard exterior, is my reliable kind and helpful mechanic. Following my explanation and with a wry smile he exclaimed, "you're lucky, I was thinking of not coming in today!" There we stood, two dinosaurs together. He, an artist for whom, because of modern cars and technology was being gradually consigned to the scrap heap, Me, still trying to pedal furniture with some quality, whilst growing numbers prefer a visit to their local IKEA. I always like going to his office, where there's a photo of him and his father in front of my first Mercedes MB100D, which was in for a service. Claude's father was really one of the old school. Politeness personified, always wore a hat and doffed it when Marie-Ge was with me. It was said he could tune an engine just by listening to it. Claude complained about his aches and pains and the fact he found it difficult to get under a vehicle any more, yet in five minutes the problem was fixed..........ten euros seemed cheap!
What to do? I could have left for Toulouse on Saturday morning, I'd phoned and they had kept my place. 70kph gusts forecast on Saturday .......stressful but I could just about handle that. Then Sunday.............95kph gusts in the afternoon..... no thank you, health and safety is more important than money. So the decision was made, I'd stay at home. Thus, I avoided the branches that fell, one damaging the roof of Danielle's van, just a few stands away from mine. Anyway let's look on the bright side, there was another exceptional, one-day fair organised in the centre of Toulouse in two weeks time. I'd have an opportunity to retrap the money I lost this weekend and surely the weather couldn't be as bad again?..................