Monsieur 100 000 Watts took his last bow yesterday. He had already sung his last encore at lunchtime on Sunday. But he was such a big lug, his handlers had to send in a truck to hoist him up and take him away. Getting the truck here took 24 hours.
Madame le maire came out to give him a standing ovation. Some say Gilbert might never have been called in for his marathon 4-day performance if she didn't live here. Those who think that are cynics, of course. Nonetheless, we are glad the mayor lives across the road.
Seriously, you can see how nice our weather is. What you can't really see is how cold it is. There's a dry, bitter northeast wind that makes it unpleasant to be outside.
We are counting ourselves among the more fortunate, however. Down south, from Lyon to Avignon, Nîmes, and even Arles, and all the way down to Narbonne, Perpignan, and Carcassonne, a big snow storm has piled up more than a foot of the white stuff over the past 48 hours.
Down there, roads are closed, trains have been stopped cold, and palm trees along Mediterranean beaches look forlorn half-buried in snow. Northeastern Spain is under the same white blanket. The last time it snowed so much in the South of France was in the mid-1970s.
Meanwhile, the French government reports that fewer people were killed in road accidents in February than in any month in living memory. Officials attribute the low figures to all the bad weather the country had last month. People were more careful on the roads and streets, or stayed home.
In fact, they say most of the decline in vehicle fatalities was among riders of what they call les deux roues — "two wheelers" — motorcyles and scooters. Those people just stayed off the snowy, icy roads, if they were smart. Lighter traffic, fewer accidents. Seems logical.