And the heavens opened last night washing away the clammy heat, the dusty air and the pooch shit that speckles the streets of Carcassonne. We were slowly recovering from a gruelling and insufficiently planned move and were enjoying a few days sauntering with the crowds through la Cité and the Bastide St-Louis. Broiling in the clammy heat while the bruises moved inexorably through their fascinating play of colours we have ‘touristed’. The ‘move’ had relentlessly progressed from a vague future event to an imminent action and suddenly lurched out of control as an activity that we had absolutely no power over. It felt like white-water rafting when you have just lost the poles and oars at the head of the next cascade. There were times when we thought we would capsize and all would be lost. Strings of random cursing have a way of helping emotionally for a short time but don’t actually do much good in the long-run. The air was blue.
It seemed, and indeed did, go on for days. Packing, packing, probably more packing, shifting, lifting, driving, more driving, unloading and finally we were able to lock the doors on all our goods and chattels while we let the French legal system have its slow way with us. Our wild run had been shepherded by understanding and very laid back purchasers and very experienced and wholly in control (“seen a lot worse than this… seen it all before”) removal guys. Thanks to them we made it to clear water where for a few hours we were able to drift freely before the next set of rapids.
So we drove once more, south again, on to Carcassonne where we could enjoy the pleasures of this beautiful city (and slowly melt). We caught the end of the summer festival watching the most amusing concert I have seen for a long time. Punk is not dead it lives on in performances by Didier Wampas and the Bikini Machine. Didier looked like a cross between Malcolm McLaren and Iggy Pop. His performance was entirely Iggy. Almost naked by the end of the show and using a mic with a trailing cable that had his roadies working harder than any band member as they untangled him from the audience where the cable trailed out and through us. They made running repairs to the equipment he smashed and anchored the speakers he threw onto the stage before he stacked them to stand on. In the end, with the stage packed with audience, he charged through the rest of the crowd, climbed the lighting/audio tower and finished his set from there before finally running back to the stage, crowd-surfing for a while and giving an encore that had everyone (almost – I still cannot work out the chorus) singing along.
Meanwhile the weather got hotter and hotter, the air more clammy and day by day it was more difficult to move. Then the rains came. The heavens opened and the rains came. While the lightning crashed from mountain to mountain the water poured out of the sodden clouds. It bounced and roared onto the roofs and streets cascading through the canyon like streets of the Bastide. Somewhere around 2pm it had stopped and the people came out of their buildings and into the streets. Days of suppressed energy exploded into life that kept us awake until the Police Municipale came through somewhere near dawn and we were finally able to drift into sleep.