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Nothing screams Christmas like a metal Minion. Handcrafted, and yours for just 750 Euros.

Brrrrr. Whose idea was this? Christmas markets sound lovely in theory, don’t they? Then you get there and there are loads and loads of people, browsing stalls that are – unhappily – selling loads and loads of tat.

Then there are the stalls that are selling artisanal items, handcrafted and carefully painted, they’ve clearly had a lot of effort put into them. You’d hope so anyway, after you look at the price tag. 250 Euros for a Flamingo made out of copper and bamboo? Are you having a laugh?

I also love the fact that – no matter what the theme of the market, or for whatever reason it’s being held – you will always, always find a hook-a-duck stall doing a roaring trade. These things are essentially pound shops with hook-a-ducks stuck on the front of them. And they will always have at least one toy that your child will want, that they can’t have for some reason.

So the plastic sword and shield are ok?’. Oui, they will nod at you.

And the plastic Slinky is ok?’. Oui, they will nod at you.

But not the radio controlled drone with 2.4 megapixel camera?’. Non, they will say to you.

Honestly, hook-a-duck stalls and those carousel* rides are just another form of tax for parents.

I sound like a Christmas-market Grinch don’t I? I do like them, really, but not when they are so busy and sooooooo cold.

You’d think I’d know better, time of year and all. Maybe I should start a campaign to hold Christmas markets in June, and then limit the amount of attendees to something reasonable. Like ten people. That’s me, the missus, the kids and 6 stall holders.

And nobody is allowed to sell goods in excess of 30 Euros.

And no smelly cheeses.

And no stalls selling tat.

And no tiny dogs that I keep nearly stepping on.

Bah humbug.

Anyway, enough moaning. We went to one near us in Baugy recently, a quaint little village tucked away in central France. It had the usual stuff. Here are some photographs for you to have a look at.

Oh, and in case I haven’t impressed it upon you enough – IT WAS BLOODY COLD.

And that’s coming from a Yorkshire man.

Enjoy!

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42% of this shot is pavement – I had it measured by Yourphotographyskillssuck.fr

 

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Bit more like it, nice Christmas tree – note women who has 5% of face visible, did I mention it was cold?

 

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Yes, that is indeed a 1100 litre Rubbermaid Brute wheelie bin. Magnificent isn’t she?

 

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Here we have a depiction of the lesser-known Santa, Freak Santa, so called because he has no arms, and he’s been in the game that long that his sack has fused to his body. Poor Freak Santa.

 

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Another fabulous shot of mostly-pavement.

 

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Note the juxtaposition of the foreground star and background tree, such a union of Christmas imagery that one’s soul could weep. Actually no, it was the cold making my eyes water.

 

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I had tried to trick my kids into entering this, allowing me to then leave them safely trapped within it. But they are wise to my ways, and now carry wire-cutters and stihl saws with them at all times, so that they can break out of whatever I try and lock them inside of.

 

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Oh joy. Oh Christmas. Oh wow. I can’t feel my fingers anymore. And I’ve just asked somebody for a ‘Verre ob hob chobolabe’ because my lips have gone numb.

 

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38% pavement.

 

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Every single person in this shot is thinking the same thing: ‘It’s bloody cold, I don’t want a 5 foot metal butterfly for my garden, can we go home now?’.

 

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Take one shed. Add Christmas lights. Hey Presto! One Christmas-themed shed! This one sold Monster energy drinks in case you are wondering.

 

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All I want for Christmas is a pair of scissors and five minutes alone with Giant-Inflatable-Santa.

 

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Now this was more like it! She had heat, she had sausages…but no brown sauce 😦

 

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Look who’s eyeballing me – it looks like Mark Lamarr! Could be too, I’ve not seen him in years.

 

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These Santas seem to have gotten quite commercial. This was the third we’d seen at various markets, and they all had professional photographers with them. We didn’t hang around to see what they were charging.

 

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52% pavement

 

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That poor man with no hair and no hat. Can you get a frostbite of the head?

 

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This has to be the worst picture of the lot. Why have I even put this in here?

 

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‘Mummy mummy, buy us some rubbish that we will later lose interest in and/or break. Buy it for us, or we will make your life hell for the next 30-90 minutes’.

 

I hope you enjoyed my photographical-feast**, full of positivism and love for all the things that make a Christmas market in France what it is.

Next time I will wear gloves.

And stay at home.

Have a lovely Christmas everyone xxx

 

*You know the ones I’m talking about, loads of cars and helicopters and crocodiles with badly painted Disney characters on them going round in a circle. They always dangles some weird-looking thing down so your kid can grab it and have another go for ‘free’. I say for free like that – in inverted commas – because they generally target parents with more than one kid on the ride. This is because they know that the other kid(s) will immediately kick off and so they will be forced to pay for another go round for the other child as well. Win-win for the carousel-owner.

**Yes, I know photographical isn’t a word. It’s redlined – twice – as I’m typing this. I don’t care.