I'm on a small vacation at the moment and so didn't get to make my usual trip to market.
I find France an amazing country to live in. The history, the culture, the pace of life are all so very different to that I have known for most of my life, which was spent living in the United Kingdom.
Every Saturday I go to the little village market at Villereal where I buy my fresh produce for the week I buy a lot of my produce off the same man called Laurent and chat with him about Rugby...I came to France from Wales...and rugby is the national sport of both countries.
Of course, Laurent and I, are often rivals on the sports field and that friendly rivalry often overflows to the market stall.
This conversation normally takes place in the market square alongside the covered market hall which was built in the 12th Century, during the hundred years war.
This market hall, in the centre of a Bastide Town has survived, mostly intact, from that day to this... Through many wars, the first and second world wars, the hundred years war itself and of course, the French Revolution. I has seen times of tranquility and times of huge change. It was created as part of what was probably the first urbanisation of Europe and has quietly sat there as, over the years traders and customers have come and gone.
Even now, those very Bastide towns themselves, created all those years ago, are coming under threat from different forces as the inevitable winds of change blow through rural France...the very farmers on whom this place has relied for hundreds of years, being uprooted in favour of agribusiness.
Sometimes I stand there and remember all this and am held in awe as I think back through 900 years and try to imagine the activity that has gone on in this market hall....this same place where I am now standing and then I wonder what stories it will have to tell, long after I have gone...In fact, what stories it will have to tell 900 years from now..