Friday, 31 October 2014

A fishy tale

Firstly, sorry for the months of silence. Things were a bit weird here, but now it seems, it's time to get going again.

St Hippolyte market is an institution of sorts on Fridays. People walk about a bit, maybe stopping for some good goat’s cheese (pelardon) or leguminous substances, then off to the cafĂ© for a bun and a coffee. We sort of take the place for granted, having gone there, on and off for years.

We don’t seem to really notice one market trader who must be quite unique. He is a sort of gourmet fishmonger. Instead of having a stall, which quite often really does provoke Asterix type comments, he has a pick-up truck with the back converted to a large aquarium. He comes from a spot about 25 kilometers away, which is renowned for its trout stream. The sides of the truck are transparent with a selection of trout swimming about in a state of blissful unawareness.

He tends to attract a crowd during the tourist season. You point out your fish to him which he catches in a small net. The fish is then put into a small box built into the bodywork. One press of a button and it is stunned, finally being finished off by having its brains bashed out by a priest.*

Call me old-fashioned, but I blame violent video games for the preponderance of pre-teen spectators to this violent procedure. There always seems to be a gaggle of kids, mainly tourists, who hang around the truck waiting to see the next trout get its come-uppance.

The scene in Monty Python’s ‘Meaning of life’ springs to mind; a tankful of rainbow and brown trout all swimming around under the naive impression that they’re out for a jolly morning jaunt around the countryside with their friend Gerald, only to find that in fact, they are the plat principal on that evening’s family bill of fare.

I have to admit that I’ve never seen the truck arrive or depart. He must have some sort of cover for the tank as otherwise there would be the risk of fish sloshing out of the back every time there was a steep bend.

* A small pestle-like club used for killing fish, although a man of the cloth would probably do the job equally well.

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