Escapees and maladies; what is with these chickens?

Wow. This hasn’t happened to me in a while. I have to leave or I’m going to break something.

*****10 minutes later*****

I apologize. I had half of this post written and now it’s gone. Usually it always automatically saves it as a draft, but when I went to put it in the full screen mode to better see what I had written it all just disappeared and that’s the latest draft it saved. I get so, so, so, so frustrated when this happens. The words just come and I can’t remember them if they run away! Grrrr…..

To explain the title. It was relevant, well, a while ago now. Greg and Adeline were out tonight and when I was making supper for Bastien and me I saw the chickens were loose! I thought the gate to their enclosure had come open and they escaped. Apparently not. No, Adeline had let them out so they could eat the grubs and such and forgot to tell me. I put them all away – chicken catching isn’t very hard or they just weren’t trying that hard to get away! I guess they would have gone in on their own. Now I know.

Bastien was supposed to start school tomorrow and I was going to be with Sylvain because the babysitter is on holidays for a while. Looks like it’s going to be both boys for the time being because Bastien has the chicken pocks! I’m so glad I had those when I was little, shingles would be NO fun right now. This morning Bastien only had one scab just under his lower lip. When he got home today they were all over! Sylvain has a few I think, but it’s a little hard to tell because he already has skin problems. The pocks are different from his rashes though, so I’m pretty confident he has at least 4 or 5. Chicken pocks and his first tooth, all in one week. Poor boy. It’s funny how Bastien got his the day before the first day of school and I got mine the last day of school (grade 1…I was 5 I think). I’m not sure if I was still contagious or not, but my Mom sent me to school anyway with the idea that it’s better for all the kids to get it while they’re young and get it over and done with. Well, the teachers called her to come pick me up. Before we left – I didn’t want to go, we were doing fun stuff – I gave every single kid in my class a big hug, tears streaming down my face. What was the point in sending me home again? Oh yeah, well, too late to worry now!

Today I didn’t watch a movie. Today I didn’t even go online until later this afternoon. After the morning ritual I went to take a shower. Before I went up there I mentioned to Adeline that I was thinking of going to the House of Giants in Ath. So she showed me a video on the Ducasse de Ath, a Giant processional and festivities. Unfortunately I missed it as it was last weekend, but being there would have been absolutely crazy! The tradition dates back 500 years and started out as a religious procession. In the Middle Ages when your average Joe – or whatever the common name was then – couldn’t read or write so apart from paintings and other visual aids the clergy would put on these grand processionals to teach the masses. Somehow (I’m not really clear on this part) giants became a part of these religious processionals. It started out with your main biblical gigantic type characters (Goliath, Samson) and more were added as time went on. Also as time wore on, the giants became more known for merrymaking than religion. That’s what they – the giants – say anyway…

In the house it’s mostly audio/visual presentations with the information being told like a story with many players (giants). There was a short film which highlighted a town in France (Cassel) known for the Giants, as well as Ath, mention of Austria, and somewhere else. I know later in the tour you ‘meet’ giants from Portugal. The giants themselves tell you that they just like having a good time. Eventually someone decided to create a wife for Goliath – which softened him up a bit – and in Ath they have Goliath’s wedding every year. This is just one facet of the festivities. The giants dance – which you’ll see in the video – it’s quite amazing how the bearer can take the weight! 130+kilos! That’s upwards of 290lbs. And you have to twirl and dance inside there? The job of being a bearer is a coveted one and traditionally has been passed down from father to son, generation after generation. In one of the videos I saw at the House they mentioned that as people are having fewer children they have gone outside of that tradition a little. You still have to be from Ath and you still have to know ‘someone on the inside’. The bearers take this very seriously. It’s an honour and something they love being a part of! I guess there’s this special dance they do 3 or 4 times? They have the opportunity to perform it once more during the festival if David defeats Goliath. To do this ‘David’ has to land his sling-shot in the hole where the bearer’s face is (where he looks out). I guess if he misses they can’t do the dance again.

There was something I found really neat. I guess they have a tradition (just in Ath, in Belgium, in Europe?) of the ‘burning of the pants’ or something of the sort. As far as I can tell it’s like the bachelor party in North America, where only your closest friends are invited. Well, in Ath, everyone is close friends with Goliath so the entire town is there for the burning of his – very large – pants. Let’s see. What else can I tell you about the Giant’s House? It’s a very cheerful place, although the explanations and story telling goes by quite fast and I know I missed a lot. The Ducasse in Ath is part of UNESCO (world heritage organization) and has gained more popularity because of that. More popularity with the rest of the world that is. Like I said before, this has been going on for 500 years and everyone who lives in Ath loves it and has been going to see the giants since they were little. It’s in their blood. It would be a sight to behold that’s for sure!

I’m going to leave you know with another video. This one goes back to my day in Dinant. I realize I don’t actually mention the Couque du Dinant (pronounced like ‘cook’, but more like…when you say someone’s crazy, but I don’t know how to spell it like that and does anybody actually use that word anymore? Bah, just watch the video, it’s funny!), but this video explains about them. I might just have to go back there one day and buy one…

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