Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Last night I took the 7pm train back from Gare de l’Est to Reims. It was my first journey “home” and it felt pretty good. Once the train passed Epernay I looked out across the vines that stretched as far as the eye could see. Frog’s village and their vines surround the three neighbouring small villages but are ‘plot like’ in comparison. From the train you could really see how big this industry is to the region.

I managed to catch up on a little blog reading yesterday and read several posts about Sunday’s Fete du Travail. If you read any of these explanations you’ll see that the lilly of the valley (muguet) is one of the central traditions of the day. What nobody else mentioned (and makes me wonder if this is some weird inbred village tradition) is what happens in the little Frog village...

Having finished up a family dinner late Sunday evening we left Brother Frog’s house in the village and could hear “youthful” noise from further up the small street. Brother Frog said he was going to go over to their hangar where various paraphernalia is kept and make sure it was okay. What I didn’t realise is he went over and stayed there till 2am to ensure that nothing was taken out. The next morning as we drove past the small Mairie the significance of the conversation became clear.

Scattered across the front of the Mairie were farming implements, carts, traffic signs and posts. Apparently, it’s a tradition on May 1st for things to be moved and “redistributed” around the village.

Which really is like any morning following a drunken student’s night out in the UK. There were certainly several of my housemates who saw collecting traffic cones and signs in our living room as a standard nocturnal activity and their own contribution to interior design.

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