Perspiration in bucketful but no inspiration, so, I have just cruised into town to procure a copy of our local rag. Driving past the local conférence centre, I noticed hudreds of leather clad souls milling around on the car park. Hardly approprate dress when the outside température is 38°c – far too hot for any form of fetichism. So what’s happening ? A Village People Fan Club convention in small town France ? That’s worth writing about.

Perusing over the damp pages of the local rag (not fetichism, just sweat) I discover that Bourges is hosting a national Harley Davidson Rally – one of the numerous motorcycle rallies that seem to happen around here in summer. The public are admitted, so I might nip along tomorrow for some grilled flesh, a few beers and the traditional Miss Wet T shirt compétition – Bikes, béer, burgers, burn outs, big tits and Rock and Roll. Sounds fun, and just slightly different to the 2CV Rally I went to last month – not a wet T shirt in sight, but plenty of booze.

So, all this brings me to the subject of you « weekend guide to what’s on in smalltown France » -and I am flicking through the pages of the paper … a couple of car boot sales, a blues concert in downtown Bourges on Saturday, the annual summer funfair packs up on Sunday, and I note with interest that there is an initiation course in stone engraving being held at the Halle St Bonnet on Saturday. … AH, if I head off up country, there is line dancing on Saturday night in Bengy and in Salbris there is a scooter rally (think I prefer Harleys to hairdryers).

Not much going on, so what’s in the news ?

Change of commander at the local air base in Avord. 2400 servicemen and women, 4 AWACS and the French Air Force Transport pilots school. France’s second biggest airbase, commanded by a colonel. I sed to work there. As for the ex-commander, he’ll probably serve in Paris at Airforce HQ for a copule of years and then get made a two star général

Crime – local police have arrested two suspects after a récent spate of post office roberies. Five village post office hold ups since mid-June.

The harvest is in full swing. The hay and Colza are already in. This week it’s wheat and barley – bad time for a drive in the country, chances are you’ll get stuck behind a combine harvester or a tractor. Note on an interview with one combine harvester driver. Harvesting takes place from 10 am to 11pm everyday – times when humidity is at its lowest – you can’t harvest when humidity levels in the air are abve 15%. Don’t worry about the heat, the harvester cab is fully air conditioned, and there is even a CD player.

Not quite as sexy as a combine harvester, on Sunday the local Market gardeners’ Association are having their annual bash – they’ll be collecting gardeing tools to send the developping countries.

As for the rest, the local paperis full of local news. An article about the end of year drink at the local teachr training collège, and page after page of end of year fêtes and concerts at local primary schools.

This happens every year in every primary school. Parents file along early one evening during the last week of the summer term. The kids give a choir concert – an hour in which they scratch, screech, scream, fidget and nosepick their way through a répertoire of Piaff, Brel and other classics. Parents stand and film the whole évent. They vie with each other for lens space with their plethora of digital devices, and when the concert is over, it’s time for the annual fête – stalls include hook-a-duck, fishing games and knocking down empty coke tines with a tennis ball. After the fête, the end of year BBQ organised by the PTA, to which all arents are invited, but only the really sneaky parents go (the sort who want Saturday morning school reinstated – see post below). I used to go every year to the Fête, I have photographed all of them, BUT, I lost my enthusiasm, the year I almost took my eye out with a toy the offspring had won – a helicopter thing, where you pull the cord and a wheel flies up into the air. The disc-cum-propellor thing banged my squarely in the right eye, and I ended up at A&E with a scarred eye, gallns of eye drops and a huge bandage. Next year I got repeated conjunctvitis – the specialist told me I had an open wound in the eye, so I had laser treatment to seal it. Three days in a bandage and a week off work.

Finally, I’ll finish with some stats on local tourism – yes, we get tourists in Bourges. They come to oggle at our Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World héritage sight.

In 2009, Bourges welcomed 95,000 visitors. 83% were French and 17% foreign. 80% of the visitors came to see the cathédral, which surprisingly is not ringed with souvenir shops, bars and tearooms.

Have a great weekend