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Posts Tagged ‘stade toulousain’

When we heard an encouraging cheer from the hamlet up the hill–we hopped in the car and headed for Place Soult in Castres.

Toulouse were leading at half time but Castres  equalized within minutes of our arrival and we thought we’d brought good luck!

Wishful thinking!

Castres Olympic 15….Toulouse 24.

The end of the dream–as the truth sinks in.

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It’s semi-final day–Castres Olympique play Le Stade Toulousain in Toulouse today.

Rugby of course–this is SW France where the game is a religion–and the end of season play-offs for the Coupe de France.

Dominique’s cheese stall is flying the flag for Castres Olympique early this morning and blue pendants are hanging from all the lampposts in town. There’s a special edition of the local paper (a cherished keepsake–if they win!).

Our cheese man is a master conversationalist (bavadeur). He thinks nothing of letting a long queue build up as he pursues a subject that takes his fancy–wrapping a piece of cheese with a lovely flick and fold routine the while.

When there’s no more fun to be wrung out–he reluctantly weighs the beautifully wrapped cheese and takes payment, at last raising the hopes of the next in line.

“Vous allez y aller, ce soir?” [You going tonight?] I ask  him.

Non, mois je vais rester ici, on peut regarder le match à Place Soult.” [No I’m staying here to watch it in Place Soult.]

There’ll be a giant screen in place for those supporters not going to Toulouse tonight–about a 50 mile drive–and if the atmosphere’s anything like it was when we watched France win the soccer World Cup in 1998, it’ll be a riot–and this is only the semi-final.

Another stallholder dressed in a black shirt and black apron greets Dominique with the ritual “Bonjour!–ca va?”

Dominique looks at his friend’s funereal costume and replies:

Ah! tu es en deuil pour Le Stade!–tu es en deuil pour Le Stade Toulousain!” [You’re in mourning for Stade Toulousain!]

I doubt the man in black is a Toulouse supporter, more a convenient (and willing) stooge for Dominique’s on-going performance!

On my route home I stop at the roundabout close to the Castres Sapeurs-Pompiers [Fire Station] to let four fire vehicles pass–no sirens or red lights flashing–so clearly no emergency; just blue and white balloons streaming from every opening, some falling and bouncing gaily by the roadside as the shining red convoy proceeds on its circuit round the town.

(At least they are up and running if they get a call!)

Meanwhile the message is clear:-

Allez les Bleus–jusqu’au bout!

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