Tuesday, 3 June 2008


The herding of the sheep

I think this is going to be a really long post, because Sunday was a really good day.
I have posted lots of photos in a Picasa web album if you want to see more pictures.
Sainte Marie du Mont is one of the villages included in the agglomeration of schools that our girls go to. It is higher up the mountain, at 900 metres, and it was the venue for the festival called Montagn'Arts on Sunday. The rain stayed away while we were there thank goodness, but the clouds kept rolling by and engulfing us so there were periods when it was extremely foggy.
The festival marks the herding of sheep and cattle up onto the mountain pastures for the summer, so everyone was invited to follow the sheep up the mountain. The mob that was taken was not very big, and there might have been more people than sheep in the procession. No cattle went up, as the farmer said there was not enough grass yet, due to the weather we have had lately. Indeed most cattle are nowadays taken by truck.

The shearing demonstration

Roger's own shearing demonstration

We were very keen to watch the shearing demonstration, to compare it to shearing at home. The first sheep shorn looked nothing like our sheep at home, and the wool was more like hair. But there were also some merino sheep, which made us feel more at home. After the official demonstration the shearer continued to shear, and Roger managed to have a chat to him. Roger offered to give him some shearing tips, and told me, when there were two sheep left, that he was going to shear them. Roger had intended that it would just be him and the shearer, but we made sure that there was an audience to cheer him on!

As the event was for fundraising, there was a lunch which we had pre-ordered, and keeping with the theme it was a "shepherd's lunch". We had a salad (of mainly tomatoes and lettuce), ham, pâté, saucisson, three varieties of cheese, fruit salad, and wine. Every meal in France is accompanied by wine.

Our family having our shepherd's lunch

The Three cheeses...

After lunch there were heaps of fun and games for the kids. "La Grande Kermesse" included lots of simple fun activities for the kids, like fishing for a lucky dip, sack races, egg and spoon races, tug-of war, toy tractor driving, and of course pony rides. We bought a lot of sixteen tickets for ten euros, and each game or activity cost one ticket. After each activity the kids got another ticket, which they could exchange for a range of gifts or treats set out on a big table.

Odette and Bonnie enjoying the fun and games for kids

Please have a look at the rest of the photos by clicking here.

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