Sunday, April 25, 2010

Festival of the Young Public (Saint Nolff)

And so back to "les délices" of everyday life in the Morbihan. This week, we will be enjoying the round little Saint-Félicien, and (continuing clockwise) a Pyrenées Trois Laits (as in cow, sheep and goat's milk, together at last - very, very good), a good chunk of Pont l'Evêque which Mac is very partial to, and our ever-favorite Beaufort de l'Alpage, which Mamie is discovering.

Mamie is here! Mamie is here! Through ash and incertitude, she made it! We'll be spending lots of time in terraces to recover, and taking "ballades." The rigors of the market and hair appointments await as well. :-) Being at the market after the Finistère had the feeling of a return, and, perhaps it was the spring day, but there was a warmth all around: longer conversations with the merchants, inquiries about the kids, and (wow!) a couple of extra merguez for the kids from the butcher (yes, the Cute Butcher, but my friend Donna assures me that all French butchers are cute and nice - lucky us!). I think I've never felt as at home as I did when I reserved a roasted chicken for next week-end from the excellent Roaster Man. Already looking forward to it!

The Big Event of the day awaited. On another market day, I had started talking with the mom of a friend of Iris's from school, and through further conversations and phone number exchanges (big step!), we'd agreed to meet up today to go the Festival Jeune Public in Saint-Nolff. We kept referring to it as The Festival of the Young Public Of Which You Are a Member which proved utterly maddening to the kids (and therefore entertaining to us). And it was awesome. Roxanne is a member of the Association Train de Nuit (there are only 15) which seeks to bring artistic and cultural experiences to kids. Hoorah! The idea is that they don't have to wait until the field trip to the theater or the opera to get out and experience culture. So how's about a drumming corps from Burkina Faso for starters? Wow! Lots more kids were to come after this picture was taken, and there were many, many Moments of Cultural Learning ahead.

Such as the Motricity Booth. Eleanor was overjoyed, for once it was for kids up to 3 years old - she was not going to have wait on the sidelines as usual! So in she hopped, and started bopping around, only to be immediately guided as to the "correct" way to do the activities - there was a precise order, and a precise way to do each station. But that wasn't the cultural learning (we know there's a way to do things, oui oui) - no, it was watching Eleanor's face transform as she took her instruction: softer, dare I say cuter, lips pursed, eyes wide open. I recognized it as the expression of little French children: attentive, quiet - one I admire so very much. I couldn't believe it was on Eleanor's face. I asked her about her "French face," on a hunch that she was aware of this transformation in her, and there it was! I haven't caught it on camera yet, but wow, do I love it. I asked her about the pursed lips and she said (no kidding) "It's how I hatch my French." Is that great or what?

The Face Painting was unparalled - have you ever seen anything like it? Kids were allowed to choose from a pre-selected list of options, but each face-painter had clearly perfected the list. Iris chose "La Chinoise" and her adorable little friend "Le Papillon." I absolutely adore the slightly worried or at least inquisitive expression that the eyebrows give Iris's face.

What an adventurous bunch, eh? Oliver chose "Serpent" - when his eyes were closed, they looked like the open eyes of a snake - cool!

Mamie was chosen by the Mime-Balloon Lady (the kids adored her) and received a most fetching white balloon bracelet.

She graced Oliver and Eleanor with these fantastic hats which turned out to make great head-swords. There were shows (an incredibly artistic one using shadow puppets and Indonesian dance describing the four seasons; a totally cool clown acrobatics show) and lots and lots of itinerant entertainment: an octopus on stilts (no joke), a bubble-blowing pirate, an accordion player, a sweets seller, a crystal ball juggler. It was wondrous - vive la France et tous les mômes!

And so it was the most natural thing to come home, cook the gigot d'agneau we'd bought that morning at the market, and watch our beloved movie, Le Petit Nicolas. Cheers!

No comments:

Post a Comment