Thursday 23rd August
Absolute chaos, French style. We were selling hand-made soap, ‘savon artisanale’, and had booked a stall. The evening market is run by the woman from the tourist board, and it is her chance to exercise a bit of power. There are two types of trader; the regulars, food producers, M. moules et frites, rotisserie chicken, and pizza van, and then a few other ones who have somehow managed to obtain regular pitches. From about 4.30 the regulars set up their stalls. Any enquiries are met with the words 5.30. At the appointed hour the poor few bedraggled lesser stallholders traipse around with the market manager and try to catch her eye as she doles out 2 or 3 metre spaces. You end up on a corner where people are streaming into the market and nobody really wants to stop. The next problem is electricity; there are a few electrical points but you are inevitably in a chain of extension leads and double sockets trailing like spaghetti behind the stalls. You dress your stall beautifully, all coloured soaps on different plates and nobody notices. A few admiring glances and the word ‘savon’ or a cut-glass English accent, ‘Oh look, hand made soap, how quaint.’ as they scurry past in their haste pour les moules. Lots of sniffers of soap but very few buyers. Pre-teen girls spend ages choosing their soap and then admit they have no money. Occasionally someone will buy 3, and in the end after 6 and a half hours we must have made about 60 euros profit, much of which we spent on liquid refreshment, but quite an experience.