Felletin's wool festival is an annual event. Actually it's not so much a festival, more a three day gathering of woolly garment knitters and loomers (is there such a thing as a loomer?) peddling their wares down in the local basketball and tennis halls. Not sure if this wool festival is unique to Felletin or whether it's a national thing, but I do know that Felletin and nearby Aubusson are historically famous for producing tapestries, which, of course, are sort of knitted items. Maybe that's why Felletin has a woolly festival. Not sure though.
Georgie dragged me down there last Wednesday afternoon. Or was it Thursday? Drove past a town statue that was decorated with balls of wool, and some roadside bollards that were decked out with woolly covers. Then on past the old church which had rainbow coloured strips of material covering its perimeter fence. Parked up and legged it down to the sports halls. Ambled inside to find people setting up their stalls. We'd arrived early. The show didn't start until tomorrow. Went back to the old church and noticed there was a woolly show inside. Paid a few euros and entered. Never been in there before so was quite surprised to discover the interior wasn't a church but an impressive exhibition hall. I presume it had been converted some time ago due, perhaps, to a falling congregation (there's another church in town that's popular with the masses). Had a quick look round then scarpered for a sunny coffee at the café, leaving Georgie to continue studying the exhibits on show. She eventually joined me at an outside table and we giggled at the various women around who were avidly knitting. Knitting fever hits Felletin.
Went down to the sports halls again the following morning. The place was buzzing. At the canopied entrance to the tennis hall, four alpacas were looking a bit bored in their straw-lined pen. Fascinating animals, famous for their soft fur which makes really warm wool. I once read that llamas (similar to alpacas - dunno the difference though) are prone to spitting at anyone they don't like the look of, so I kept a respectful distance. As they didn't appear to be letting rip with the jolly old phlegm, I slowly edged a bit closer and eventually plucked up courage to stroke one (brave lad). I suddenly twigged how the term 'spitting distance' probably originated.
Inside the hall there were loads of people ogling the woolly goodies on show. Slowly shuffling from one stand to another, I couldn't really take it all in. There were knitted sweaters, cardies, hats, gloves, socks, shawls, jackets, scarves..., all sorts. Baby stuff, kids' stuff and grown ups' stuff. Spoilt for choice. Woolly overload. Then went into the other hall across the way. More woolly stuff. More milling crowds. Did a quick lap and spotted the canteen. Teas and coffees were being served. Plus fruit juices and biccies and cakes. Grabbed a coffee and went outside for a quick smoke away from the bedlam.
While quietly leaning on a fence post at the edge of the football pitch beneath the bright red berries of a rowan tree, I was suddenly aware of someone at my side. Our local mayor, the farmer. He stopped for a quick chat. Said it was a good show, but he thought the stuff was a bit expensive. I told him I hadn't noticed the prices, but said I'd check when I went back in to look for Georgie. Eventually spotted her checking out a bluey greeny jackety thingy. Told me it was about £300. Apparently she'd been nattering to a few stallholders and was now pretty genned-up on woolly stuff. She's like that. I, on the other hand, am reluctant to natter with woolly people for fear of ending up with a hideously patterned sweater and a depleted bank balance.
With the church bells clanging twelve, everyone stopped for lunch. Some people went back to their cars and drove home while others queued up for grub at the sports hall canteen. Everything stops for lunch in France. Had a final stroke of an alpaca and headed for home.
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