Roanne-Circus 'Amar'

Circus ‘Amar’, founded by Ahmed Ben Amar el Gaid (1860-1913), (see Wikipedia - only in French) has entertained the inhabitants of Roanne (‘Les Roannais’) and surrounding towns and villages during three days, the 31st of October and the 1st and 2nd of November. As this picture shows it was a colourful event. A lot of people were attracted by it, proven by the long queue in front of the box office. The blue sky is not created by photo shopping, this was really the gorgeous weather on Saturday the 1st of the current month.

This picture, as the following one, is shown just for the colourfulness of it. Elephants, tigers, dare devils, acrobats, it’s all there.

When looking around one realizes what a massive job is done over and over again by the circus’ staff. The number of items to build up and take down is sheer innumerable.

Some staff nowadays live in the ultra-modern caravans that can be widened, preferably when not moving. As experienced on-a-boat-living-people we know all too well what a difference even a mere extra half metre can make!

The circus makes money in whatever way they can using all means available to them. As there are animals there’s a ‘Zoo Amar’, to be visited for € 2,00 per person. We would of course have gone to the circus itself with our grandsons. Under the circumstances we settled for the ‘Zoo’.

The first animal that came in sight was a lifelike copy of Napoleon’s horse, ‘Marengo’. We did not ask for the name of this one.

There are always the little ponies, of course. They are so cute, aren’t they? In the (far) past we visited equestrian events, preferably dressage and four-in-hand competitions. A four-in-hand of ponies ‘stole the show’ on many an occasion.

Of course a donkey cannot be lacking. What one can do with them in a circus is beyond us – although a once famous Dutch-, European-, world- and Olympic female figure skating champion, Sjoukje Dijkstra (, had a circus act in the past with donkeys. However, the ‘stroke-factor’ (we mean the donkey) is absolutely high.

Lama’s? Alpaca’s? We think lama’s. As many people we suffer from a ‘Pavlovian reaction’: leave them alone or they’ll spit at you. We left them alone all right – just to be on the safe side.

Camels – or possibly a camel and a dromedary. Or maybe the small white one is a camel calf. Who knows for sure? Not us!

This must be a dromedary, no doubt. Why is it that a package of Camel cigarettes depicts a dromedary instead of a camel?? We know, it’s not that important.

Two elephants were part of Amar’s menagerie, too, a female and a male – we think. They were kept underneath a large piece of canvas and stopped from taking a walk in Roanne or a swim in its port only by barriers as used during, for example, a cycle race. How meek these animals were!

The male elephant, approached by one of his caretakers. Note the cigarette in the man’s hand. We considered that dangerous, given the fact that the elephants were standing in de middle of a hay-bed. Perhaps the light barriers were used to give the animals a chance in case of emergency…

The female elephant has a right to her own close-up as well.

The circus’ tiger, notably a white one, is kept behind slightly stronger bars than the elephants. A reassuring thought, really. It’s clearly a great responsibility, in more than one sense, to keep a large and dangerous animal of pray.

The king of the jungle was present as well. He seemed really benevolent and even sleepy. Just to be on the safe side we kept a few meters between us, made a nice picture of him and completed our visit, contemplating the animals fate. Animals performing in a circus is an increasingly difficult issue. Is its part of the circus-show maybe comparable to bull-fighting? There’s unmistakably a decreasing acceptance of it, this visit having been perhaps one of the latest opportunities.

Last week we offered our followers a view from our mooring space towards the south during the morning light. Here’s one taken in the later afternoon. The picture is so nice that we could'nt not resist to show it to you once more.

Miscellaneous news to end with. The supply of electricity was fairly lousy, because the pole we take (now: took) it from was spontaneously falling over and had to be supported by large hollow bricks. The pole proved to be beyond repair so the decision to erect a replacing new one was made. This picture shows the old pole as well as the foundation of the new one.

Here’s the ‘shiny’ new one, standing tall. There’s not even a trace visible of the old one. So far so good, but… there are now four connections instead of two and the available strength of power remains the same – 32Amps altogether. As things are now our neighbours and ourselves each enjoy 16Amps – and that’s what we need and pay for. A possible problem might occur if a third –or even a fourth, God forbid- user connects his/her electricity-cable to this pole. It will be 32Amps divided by three or four then, causing the present users to abandon the use of a washing machine or a microwave, or a vacuum cleaner…

One of the last summer days, 21C on Saturday the 1st of November. Amazing! Still enjoying a drink outside.

And here’s visible what eventually had to happen, this year not earlier than the 5th of November. That’s a kind of ‘record’ – possibly not one to be too glad about, as it might be a sign of global warming.

The last one for this week. Friday the 7th of November 2014 we rented a car for the weekend from conveniently nearby Herz. When approaching the car on Saturday morning we found all four wheel caps missing. Pfffffff. This morning, Sunday, the wheels are still there. Lucky us! À bientôt.