St Nicolas - and more

A lot of boats/ships displayed this poster last week or so – us not excepted. After all, the festivities took place in The Port de Roanne. It started for the kids at 3:00PM and Saint Nicolas was supposed to arrive shortly after 5:00PM. Even though it was bitterly cold, we made it (= being outside our comfortable, cosy home) for around two hours. Then we were forced by almost numb limbs to go home again.

The poster announced a performance by ‘Les Dominos’, ‘au kiosque’ – a genuine bandstand, part of the entertainment-area of the port. They were there all right, braving the cold and entertaining the kids…

…as is proven by this picture.

As far as we could conclude ‘Les Dominos’ are formed by only two persons, a female and a male. They proved to be capable of multitasking at an admirable speed. The kids were invited several times to come forward to participate.

A magician has to be part of the show, of course. And it was a hilarious one, too, as he limited his actions to suggestive and mysterious movements with a ribbon. About the opened box in the background: it was there the entire show. Nothing happened with it, not anything came out, nor got in and the thing became more intriguing every minute.

There was the inevitable balloon-manipulator as well. The kids love to receive the magical end-product as a gift. Sometimes modest explosions are heard. Looking at his mask one can imagine that some people ‘suffer’ from fear of clowns.

One of the displays was moving up and down of a giraffe to the beat of the music. We hoped he’d do a somersault or two but it was not to be.

The female half of the duo did a perfect play back, almost not distinguishable from the original – using a horn at the end included.

We have no idea what the white character represents but it is a nice ‘bridge’ to the following short video.

Leaving the bandstand - walk to Saint Nicolas' arrival

When the show for the children had ended it was time to shift our attention towards the arrival of Saint Nicolas. A bagpipes-band left from the bandstand, led by the white character from last picture, towards the (temporarily) boat-free part of the quay where Saint Nicolas would arrive by boat within minutes. On the way we took the opportunity to have a look at all the ships with festive illumination.

A part of the activities was a contest among the nicest illuminated ships. This is one of them, named ‘Vrouwe Dirkje’. Owners: Dutch.

A second one, ‘Hiva Oa’ by name. (What on earth would that mean?) Owners: Belgian.

Historic, Dutch built, ‘Alouette’ (most recent name). Owners: American.

Here’s the winner of the ‘best illuminated ship’-contest, being ‘Eendracht’ (Concord, Harmony). Owners: Australian (the female half of the couple is Dutch born).

‘Eendracht’ again, now seen from behind.

The winner gets all the honours, ‘Eendracht’ in full glory, as seen from the opposite bank.

A glorious, though cold, moment for ‘Eendracht’s owner, Scott, seen at the left with the first prize, a marvelous vase. We think it’s a challenge trophy, so there’s a chance the possessor is only able to enjoy its presence for one year… Second from left the chairman of the harbour-boat-owners-association is visible and next to him Roanne’s major. Both men at the right hand side are waterways-officials/enthusiasts as far as we know.

Saint Nicolas' arrival by boat

See: Saint Nicolas, accompanied by ‘Père Fouettard’ (as ‘Zwarte Piet’ is called in France), arrives by boat – not exactly from Spain, as in The Netherlands, but after just a short cruise inside the Port of Roanne.

All went smoothlessly, Saint Nicolas’ cruiser has arrived and the party inside the adjacent building can begin. We went home though, towards our beloved solid fuel stove…

To end with this week we cannot resist to offer a picture of how ‘Sinterklaas’ and his bunch of ‘Zwarte Pieten’ look like in The Netherlands. Bye for now.