Monday, August 3, 2015

The high point of the year.


Seven out of fifteen potters show up. The preponderance of no-shows may have something to do with the lady with the beehive hairdo's secretarial skills. Being blessed with unplanned for triplets makes for a somewhat scatter brained approach to village administration. '' I'm sure I posted out all the confirmation letters " she says in a tone of voice that hints at less than total certainty.


At ten we do a tour en famille. Bob and Sophie are remarkably well behaved. At eleven Angus is sent out, alone, to show willing. He is instructed not to spend too much. In light of the poor turnout this instruction is then amended to ' you'd better buy something small from every stall '




Angus returns home with a collection of artisinal mugs and small bowls. These will join prior years offerings in the basement. 'The Font' thinks Angus may have bought the smiley faced mugs last year.


The pottery kiln is lit. It blazes away. Smoke seeps out of cracks in the brickwork. The master potter seals up the cracks with putty. He  refreshes himself from a bottle of Johnny Walkers kept for such occasions. By 12.30 he's settled into a state of talkative contentment.

The master potter and a variety of local farmers enjoy lunch under the plane trees on the village green. Madame Bay and the ladies of the Beautiful ByeWays Committee have cooked sausage and frites. The Old Farmer, by now rather red in the face, dispenses wine from a variety of cardboard boxes. Smoke rises from the barbecue and the kiln. The mayor greets me with unexpected profondity " M'Ongoose - La vie passe comme la fumee ". Angus decides it best to nod. The heat, the boxed Malbec ( €14.39 for 5 litres from the Cash and Carry ) and Madame Bays saucisson have combined to create a moment of deep conviviality.

The conviviality doesn't last. The master potter  realizes that the kiln has gone beyond the firing stage and that some of the bricks are melting. The subsequent auction of 'fired' pottery is a muted affair. We buy what is described as a 16th century style cookery pot for €10. The only bid for what has by now become a blackened piece of clay. It takes some time to extinguish the kiln which continues to belt out smoke and ash like an Icelandic volcano.

Excitement over, life in the village can settle back into its summer torpor.


18 comments:

  1. Hoping the kiln did not disrupt air traffic flying into Toulouse.

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    1. Only if you were approaching at an altitude of less than 10,000 feet.

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  2. One has to admire their determination, but by now you would think that the village committees, and the mayor, would have given up on the idea of the pottery fair. Such a pity, but it doesn't seem to have been a resounding success, and the kiln doesn't look that ancient, if the bricks are anything to go by. Perhaps a new secretary is called for? Unexpected triplets would certainly take anyone's mind off posting invitations !
    Good to hear that Bob and Sophie behaved impeccably on their tour en famille - a morsel of saucisson as a reward?.

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    1. The Pottery Fair is run on the basis of the organizers will have a jolly good lunch and foreigners will come along and buy the pots. This business case becomes less water tight with each passing year. Opening up the lunch to outsiders might be a start.

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  3. I love the tales from the kiln. I am amazed when it works every year!

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    1. 'Works' can of course mean many things.

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  4. Johnny Walker and the kiln, now that could have really been trouble. Melt down seems almost benign. Everyone safe for another year. Sigh of relief here.

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    1. Life threatening injuries postponed for another year. That Anglo-Saxon bugbear of Health and Safety unheard of here.

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  5. Settling into a state of talkative contentment - what a lovely way of describing someone who may be somewhat pickled.
    Very nice green mugs.
    x

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  6. Your basement collection of pottery from this event is going to be second to none!

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    1. A wonderful array of mugs too heavy to lift .

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  7. Oh dear another kiln firing fiasco at the Potter's Fair...so sorry.
    I remember the face mugs from last year too....I like them.
    Thanks for introducing me to another new word "torpor."

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  8. At least the kiln didn't explode this year. There's that.

    The pale green mugs look quite usable. Could those go in the upstairs guest kitchen? Then you could tell visitors their origin story.

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    1. Everything is usable in a robust kind of way.

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  9. I have enjoyed my first visit and tour of pottery making in your Village. From all accounts, I think this has been the least dangerous year! Safety is always good, however, it does seem to remove a lot of the drama and high anxiety. Translated, thrill! Now to the stockpile of purchased pottery in the basement... Due to the weight of the mugs, you could start a new trend of sipping coffee through a straw, thus never picking up the too heavy mug. Or, when Bob and Sophie are a little older, you could plant annuals in them, grouping all together to form a display on your terrace. Or not!!!

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    1. Planting annuals is a good idea !

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  10. I particularly like the cracked glaze bowls. Well done.

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