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Hanging out in Brittany.
In July the village of Congham again hosted the International Snail Racing Championships. Making it the 25th year in succession. I used to live in Congham, a small village situated in Norfolk, England. I quite miss it really. All the fun and frolics of those now long distant but happy memories. All there is for me here by way of consolation in my adopted country is the boring old ‘Annual Bra Snapping Contest’.
Here men and boys as old as eighty-five enter into various games and races all aimed at removing women’s brassieres in the fastest possible time.
The contest is taken very seriously with contestants spending weeks in training and warm up sessions. Warming up their hands in particular. The event can be quite dangerous too with all sorts of risks ranging from injuries sustained by sudden, unexpected impact from unleashed body parts or being struck by flying ironmongery, such as clasps and hooks. So the local Pompiers attend the contest too. Here in France Pompiers can be seen at all sorts of risk laden events such as Gymkhanas and Motocross, in much the same way as the St John’s Ambulance Brigade appear at similar events in the UK. So as to deal with the inevitable dislocated shoulders and broken ankles. Last year for example Gautier got his thumb caught up in a YKK ‘Mk IV Triple-Hook, Front Mounted Snapper’. The Pompiers took almost all afternoon to release him. Three times!
There are various games. Relay events for example where two lines, each of seven young women, are carefully arranged at exactly ten metres apart. Contestants are in two teams, again of seven each but this time comprising all men. All contestants are provided with safety goggles and made to stand behind a line to await the starting gun. The first member of each team runs to the first target and in a flash and with a snap like a rifle shot removes the first one. This is the signal for the next contestant to run from the line to the next target and so on and so on until the game is awarded to the first team to complete.
My particular favourite though is the Left Handed Handicap event. Here each contestant is blindfolded and also has their right arm tied behind their backs. Contestants are then led to the rostrum where ‘Double D’s that have been bussed in specially from surrounding farms and villages are seated for each. The winner of course being the first to remove a bra in this highly skilled and nail biting (preferably!) contest.
The winner this year and so taking Gold (plus a black eye) was The Reverend Louis L Astiques with a time of just 38.7 seconds. Old man Paul 'Pčre' de Sein came second to take Silver with a very credible time of 53.5 seconds. I entered and came third. With a time of four hours, twelve and a half minutes. I was lucky though to gain Bronze. A protest was declared against my effort on the grounds I had used my teeth. I must admit that I was so excited at being chosen to represent my village following three weeks of gruelling training and selection trials I hadn’t read the rules properly ahead of the competition. The committee only over-ruled the protest when Josephine, my target, said she’d be more than happy to volunteer for a rematch but it’d have to be held on the following weekend as she had to rush off to provide the evening’s Sunday School lesson.
Oh how I miss the Snail Racing Championships at Congham!
I’ve finished fumbling now.
For the day anyway.
(Escargot in garlic butter tonight.Delicious!)