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The Charming Mountain Goat – Traffic

May 21st, 2012 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

The epicentre of all our village traffic activity is a small stretch of tarmac called the Grande Rue.  The street’s dimensions are about 800 metres in length (from entering the village to leaving it) and about five metres across at its widest point.

It would appear, that those inhabitants who never left the village, and for whom this thoroughfare of commerce meant the world beyond their dusty stonewalls named the street centuries ago.

In the morning, as we sit in our little traffic jam of school buses that battle for the space to pass, we can lean out of our windows and chat to the neighbours who might enjoy an early morning coffee by the roadside. This momentous disruption lasts for about ten minutes.

Once traffic came to a standstill because a truck got stuck transporting a swimming pool sideways past the top floor windows. Otherwise it is the more arrogant of the village’s cats that force us to break and slow down to a standstill at various times of the day.

But mostly the tumbleweed of dried leaves, paper and the odd piece of rubbish rushes across the empty way that leads to civilisation.

So it was with some surprise to find a great part of aforementioned Grande Rue torn up for speed bumps to be installed and a narrow divider strip hammered into the tarmac. When the plastic bollards went up in the middle of the road at erratic intervals, we all held our breath.

Only three hours later, it was confirmed that the battle “plastic bollard vs. 10 ton school bus” was clearly decided in favour of the latter.

Piglet 1, an eyewitness on the bus that carried away the victory crown reported the details as follows: “We drove into the village and since the bus is so wide, it drove straight over the bollard. Suddenly there came another bus towards us, so we had to back up to create more space for it. That’s when we drove over the bollard again.”

You have to imagine this very brief statement interspersed with great peals of uncontrollable laughter only teenagers at the end of long arduous school week can muster. Although the bollards took only five seconds to be destroyed, the story took quite some time to tell.

The bollard, its main component being plastic, did not recover from the experience and lay slain and humiliated in the middle of the road on Monday morning.

And now the main culprit responsible for all of our traffic dramas is the construction of a roundabout just outside the post office. Yes, we are going to be the proud inhabitants of a tiny village with an actual roundabout.

A faithful group of about 12 men is charged with this historical task; three seem to do the work, two stand by and watch, one drives the truck, two hover in the background and the last two stand by the roadside and gawp. Two more move around in a busy manner.

All this remarkable activity is the brainchild of the mayor who has embarked on a building and construction campaign of furious and epic proportions.

More on that next time.

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