|Pont d'Issensac, nr Brissac, Hérault|
It's an impressive 12th century bridge, but it's not the history that so enthralled my youngest. Can you see the rock face on the other side? It's a favourite place for jumping into the river, and that was what my youngest wanted to do again. We had a picnic further down, where the river is shallower and there is a little barrage which concentrates the flow of the river into a narrow passage and some exciting current.
We then walked to the bridge and the rocks where a number of ado boys and younger boys were egging each other on to jump. They were showing a fine display of male courage and competition. My youngest was highly pleased with himself. My eldest had a great time too jumping off the highest bit of the rocks (about 5m). No one jumped off the bridge (which is forbidden) until a group of maghrebin lads appeared who immediately started doing just that. Luckily they did not add to the tally of 4 deaths and 6 serious injuries since 2004.
Back home, I agreed to take my youngest and his little friend to the fair. My eldest was going to meet up with his buddies but he needed money so I made him stay for supper and drive in with us so I could get some cash (hehe). I let them have ten euros each and realised pretty quickly that it would not last long!
Never mind, I insisted we walk up and down to see all the stands and rides before making a choice or they would have spent their money within five minutes. In the end they chose the trampoline with harness, and a shooting stand with crossbows (!).
What surprised me most was that despite living in that village for five years, I saw no one I knew. I used to recognise and talk to loads at the fair, but last night, I saw one person and he came from where I live now. It just shows how the village has grown in the last five years since I moved. New houses have sprung up on several estates, bringing in lots of new families whose kiddies were having fun at the fair last night.
Despite only having ten euros each, the boys were keen to stay and mooch about. We didn't see any of the bull runs, but the bull runners were very much in evidence in their team groups at the extended bar roistering, drinking, and looking modestly satisfied in their bull kit. They were probably partially deaf too, or going that way what with music blaring and people shouting to make themselves heard.
We left my eldest to come home with his friends, and headed off into the calm, my youngest delighted at his perfect day of sport, displays of courage, fun, and skill. And he even came home with a pistol after hitting all his targets.