Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Caution : Flying Artichokes ! ! !

I did a double-take when I saw this sign by the roadside near Morlaix, Brittany. . . announcing the second annual World Championship of Artichoke Throwing, which is happening today. May just have to head over there and see what it's all about. We've been chuckling about this sign ever since first seeing it. Historic accounts reported that at the battle of Agincourt the sky was literally darkened by the flights of arrows released by the English archers, which wreaked such havoc on the French side, slaughtering them in droves. I've had visions of the Brittany skies darkened by flying artichokes ! Run ! Run ! Take shelter, the artichoke throwers are approaching ! ! ! (It is possible that this is not one of the more important cultural events taking place in France this summer.)
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If you'd like to see a good shot of what artichokes look like when they've been allowed to flower, take a quick peek at Nathalie's Avignon in Photos, just a couple of posts down on Saturday 8 August. . .
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31 comments:

Steve said...

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more...! Or close the wall up with our English artichokes!

Yep. Works for me.

louciao said...

A WORLD championship no less! Not just local husbands & wives pitching against each other or at the neighbours. Impressive!

My most recent experience with artichokes happened a couple of years ago when we were staying at a charmingly shabby pensione in Italy. We were rudely, abruptly, and noisily awakened from our wine-soaked slumber at the crack of dawn by some loud and incessantly repetitive tinny chanting from the street below. My normally peaceful mate mumbled, "If I had a shotgun..." After about 5 minutes I clambered out of bed to find out what all the ruckus was about. It was a truck, with a loudspeaker, and a full load of artichokes, parked directly below our window, bellowing, "Carciofo, carciofo!" and the equivalent of "Get your farm fresh artichokes here! A dozen a euro!" I felt like rushing down and buying some so I could go back upstairs and pelt the vendors from my window.

Somebody should have clued them in about the chucking competition in Brittany.

Marguerite said...

Hilarious! I love artichokes, so I wouldn't mind attending this event. And you're quite welcome, Owen. If anyone deserves this award, it's you! Glad you enjoyed the bayou boogie. That keyboard player is fab!

cieldequimper said...

Henvic... on traîne dans la Bretagne profonde ! Il y a aussi un championnat du monde du cracher du bigorneau. A Sibiril sur la côte léonarde me semble-t-il. Je me suis juré de ne pas mourir sans y être allée !

Owen said...

Salut Ciel ! Effectivement, on traine, c'est cela les vacances en Brétagne... je viens de rentrer du championnat, c'était génial, j'afficherai qqs photos dès que possible. Très drole, il y a un lanceur et celui qui doit les receptionner dans un panier sur le dos... à une distance de dix metres environ... bonne ambiance ! Marrant, j'étais à Sibiril hier, mais je n'ai pas entendu parler d'une compet de cracher du bigorneau.... peut-être pas aussi amusant que les artichauts dans l'air. Ils avaient même fait des t-shirts avec des artichauts volants dessus, et des petites phrases comme "A Henvic on se les envoient dans l'air"...ha ha ha ha ha ha...

Owen said...

Bonjour Marguerite, I think you would have loved this one, and when it's over you can take them home and cook them for dinner !

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Hey Louciao, that is a wonderful, well, colorful, story from Italy, how lucky you were ! Sometimes its good to wake up early and smell the artichokes !!! :-D

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Hi Steve, I think what they need here is a breech loading artichoke bazooka to fire them off with better precision than the throwers were capable of... Just got back from the event, it was a riot, I've never seen so many flying artichokes in the air !

English Rider said...

They can't roll cheeses due to lack of hills, right? What else are they going to play with, fish?
Slap the Sardine? Crown the Cod? Milk the Mackeral? Would they have to hire rodeo clowns?

Amelia said...

How funny! (Although I am not a fan of artichokes!) :) Hope you're week is going well over all.

TechnoBabe said...

Artichokes are prickly and those people are gonna have scratches and cuts and bruises. Sounds like fun.

robert said...

Good morning Owen,
I heard about championships for throwing tea bags, rain boots or trees as well, this will be the forth one, that I'd love to visit someday.
Hope your holidays are as much fun as it was this entry to read.

AmyR said...

I amazed by two things:

1) that artichoke throwing is a sport
2) that it is enough of a sport to have championship contests!

I can't wait to hear about this one. :D

~PakKaramu~ said...

Pak Karamu reading your blog

SP said...

Can I pick your brains Owen?! I know you are more of a Deadhead but do you know of any good jazz bars in Paris? Nothing too commercial, just good places to go and here music still, with a bit of atmosphere. I've got to write a piece for my day job and could do with an insider tip... Thanks!

Adam said...

Does seem like rather a waste. Mind you, an artichoke could probably do some damage if it hit someone!

SP: I'm not that much of a jazz fan, but if you're looking for something a little different, try the Centre Culturel Tcheque in the 6th. The venue is great and there is czech beer and sausages!
Details here and lots of other venues.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

That's fantastic. I dislike artichokes, so I would love to participate in this one.

Loulou said...

My oh my! what a "festival"...Unbelievable but true I guess!
A quick hello during holidays in the midle of nowhere, "amitiés" to the whole family
Take care
Loulou

Owen said...

Hi Adam, indeed, I saw one of the contestants take a glancing blow by artichoke to the top of his head, he was rubbing it afterward as though it must have smarted... but was still smiling... Actually not much waste, they offer the artichokes to the public after the event, barely bruised, ready to boil... The artichoke is quite a sturdy vegetable...

That Czech place sounds like fun...

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Hey SP, Although it's true, I like the Grateful Dead; it's not to the exclusion of all else, I like all sorts of stuff. One jazz artist I've enjoyed alot in Paris is Ludovic de Preissac, if you could track him down, that would be a good start. One place he has played in the past, though I'm not sure where he's playing these days, is :

http://www.lebaisersale.com/home.php?page=pgm&nb=3

I think the "Baiser Salé" has alot of jazz of various descriptions...

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Pak Karamu, enjoy...

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Hey Amy, I was amazed too... well, World Championship is pretty much of a stretch, but it was lot's of fun, will post about it shortly...

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Robert, just goes to show how creative folks can be dreaming up ways to have fun... Am most certainly enjoying the vacation, it is soooooo good to get away from work for a while...

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Hi Techno, you bet they are prickly, and I'm sure there are some artichoke bruises today... but all in good fun, and valiantly earned, their battle scars... :-D

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Amelia, artichokes are delicious with hot butter on them... especially the heart... the week is going well... very well !

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Hey English R., well, there are a few hills and valleys in Brittany, but I've never seen any rolling cheeses here... still plenty of fish to be found though, le bar is particularly good in these parts... I'll keep an eye out for rodeo clowns !

Owen said...

Hey Loulou !!! Hope all is well in nowhere land ! Great to hear from you, je passerai tes salutations à tout le monde... En fait c'était incroyable le lancer des artichauts, je mettrai qqs images très bientôt des artichauts volants !

Grands bisoux à tous ! A bientôt...

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Hi Travel Dive, indeed, then you could have had a barrel full of fun here... there were plenty of artichokes to hurl... :-D

@eloh said...

I can't remember where it is, maybe South Carolina? they have a cow chip throwing contest every year.

the watercats said...

I want a go!..... give me some artichokes!...

clo said...

howdy Owen...
comment vas tu...:)
merci pour ton passage ...le barbecue fume encore si tu veux une petite sardine pour l'apéro...
alors ce championnat de lancer d'artichauts...j'ai hâte de les voir voler...ils sont fous Owen ces gaulois...:)
amitié du sud....un peu fumée....
bonne soirée...:)

Owen said...

@eloh, well, I hope the cow chips are thoroughly dried out before being tossed, otherwise could get messy ! :-D

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Hey Cats, you two would have made a great team I'm sure ! And with a beer or two in the belly it gets even better !

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Salut Clo, les Gaulois sont tout à fait barges, c'est clair, quand on commence à lancer des artichauts dans tous les sens... dès que possible je vais mettre qqs images des arti-volants ! Sinon, il doit rester qqs sardines encore à mettre sur le barbécue... mmm, c'est bon à croquer avec un petit vin blanc le soir... bon, oui, cela se passe bien ces vacances... demain une traversée de Morlaix à Roscoff en caravelle prévu, environ trois heures de bateau...

Allez, à très bientôt Clo, j'espère que le mois d'août est bourré de bonnes choses dans le sud aussi... amitiés !

The Sagittarian said...

I noticed a large silvery greeny plant growing in our front garden some years back. I had no idea what it was and there was only one of them, so we decided to watch and wait. Finally it looked like "something" but again, no idea what exactly. A visiting garden-head told us it was an artichoke! In the rose garden. We suspect a seed must have been dropped by a passing bird or maybe caught on the wind but it gives us fantastically HUGE artichokes. Not sure I could lob one as far as your place, so will have a drink and think about the logistics...

Owen said...

Dear Saj... Wild artichokes spawned from windborn bird poo... now what more could one ask for from life ??? The best fate for them is in a pot of boiling water... then peel off the leaves one at a time, and savor. But if you do feel like tossing a few, you'll just have to be near Morlaix, Brittany for the 3rd annual championship in August 2010... Having a drink of course is an important part of the thinking process... ;-D

The Sagittarian said...

Sounds like fun, but I will have to be careful that I don't damage my drinking arm!!

kj said...

owen, this is funny: did you know emily rabbit has begun throwing frozen artichoke hearts in place of frozen peas when her tantrums don't work?

i hope you'll come to the blogland lane blog when you have a chance and let everyone officially see your castle.

it's catching on, this community, and i see you've brought several friends with you.

xo
kj

kj said...

ps you are an awesome photographer. i;ll be back when i can linger.

Sar@h said...

Tiens, vous êtes Léonard ces jours-ci ?

Lydia said...

Hmmm. Artichokes would be somewhat safer than the pumpkins they catapult here in the fall. But those pointy tips could really do some hurtin' if they landed on you.
Artichokes are one of my favorite foods, and next year I think I'll try growing them!

Catherine said...

whatever will they throw next!! reminded me of an unforgettable dining experience in Thailand - Chang Mai I think - the restaurant of the flying vegetables!!

Owen said...

Dearest Saj, I'm sure when it comes to drinking you are no doubt completely ambidexterous, no ???
:-D

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Hi KJ, I think I just obtained the privilege of posting to the Blogland Lane blog, I'll be over there as fast as my little legs can carry me, but it's quite a ways back from the beach to run... but I definitely will get there... tonight my typing fingers are slowed down by the three hours of kayaking done this afternoon...

Oh boy, watch out for those frozen artichoke hearts, they could hurt... makes me think of the story about how the French railroad people wanted to test the windshields on the high speed TGV trains, to see if they could withstand a bird impact while traveling very fast. They decided to use a chicken to simulate the largest wild bird they might encounter, like ducks or whatever. So they got the train up to speed, and tossed a chicken in front of it, and the engineer was appalled to report that the chicken had gone right through the windshield, and smashed through the half inch thick metal partition just to the right and behind the train driver's head, and embedded itself in the far wall of the crews coat closet behind the driving compartment. The chief engineer responsible for the testing process wrote in the official report : " When testing the impact resistance of TGV train windshields, be sure to thaw out the chicken first ! "

PS, thanks very much for your kind words about the photos... :-)

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Salut Sar@h, Effectivemet, nous sommes redevenus des Poleonards ces jours-ci... je compte faire une virée dans Morlaix bientôt, je passerai un petit coup de fil ? Les artichauts volants à Henvic étaient fabuleux !!!

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Hi Lydia... oh boy, not sure I want to be around the landing area for catapulted pumpkins !!! Could get quite messy ! Although if the remnants could be scraped up to make pumpkin pie, it might be worth it ?!? Love a good pumpkin pie, and haven't had one in ages, doesn't seem to be a French thing... sigh...

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Hey Catherine... Flying vegetables sounds wonderful... I'm sure there are some that must have excellent aerodynamic qualities to allow them to sail through the air with the unbearable lightness of being... :-D