|One of the pleasures (or trials, depending on how you look at it) of living in a foreign country is the sense that you never have quite worked it out. Something always surprises you, and when that surprise has some sort of pagan/Wicker Manesque overtones, I am a very happy man. In our old village, it was the weird scarecrow festival in the next hamlet. But in Treignac it's the Fete de St Jean. Everyone gathers in a square to have a drink and to listen to euro metal, while young children are given flaming torches, and encouraged to throw them at a pyre.
Health and safety? You ask. That comes in the form of the local firemen, who you guessed it, are having a beer.
Anyway, I had a great time and managed to to convince the kids that it was celebrating Jeanne D'arc rather than Jean la Baptiste, and that I was to be joining the band onstage for a rousing cover Leonard Cohen's 'Joan of Arc' when they lit the bonfire.
They. Believed. Every. Word.