I quite forgot to confirm yesterday that I had survived my trip into town on Monday afternoon. Luck was with me in that I had only a few minutes to wait for the bus both going and coming. I have to say that the crowds were not as bad as I had feared and the jolly seasonal musak was, happily, rather muted. As well as having a fairly lengthy street of shops in Western Road - I suppose if we take in North Street and Church Road as well which run on at either end and are also shopping streets, it probably stretches, in all, for two and a half miles or so - there is also the two-storey Churchill Square shopping centre with another multitude of opportunities to spend, spend, spend. Really not my scene at all.
Anyway, I did buy the gift card wanted by daughter and I spotted a remote controlled battery-driven car which will even climb glass walls. I was unable to resist buying one for the elder grandson. And I got the diaries for the Old Bat and me - and not where I expected. Smith's diaries were too pricy for my liking, but an open stall in the walkway selling mainly calendars had them at a price I deemed satisfactory for my miserly instincts.
But the whole trip took me two hours, two hours of my life that I could have used a lot more pleasurably. No wonder I do that trip no more than twice a year!
I was slightly surprised to find that the open space in front of the Churchill Square shops was filled with little wooden stalls of the kind I have only seen in pictures of Christmas markets in such places as Germany. They were selling - or had for sale as they seemed to be doing very little business - things like hand-made Peruvian jewellery, knitted finger puppets, wooden things (including spoons!), woolly hats and scarves and Belgian waffles. I don't recall Brighton having had a Christmas market for a good many years - but as I try not to go into town maybe I have just not been aware of what has been happening.
Talking of Christmas markets, I read in the paper that a town in the Midlands had decided to hold a Moroccan market this year. Unfortunately, the Moroccan traders were refused visas in case they outstayed their welcome. The camels got through immigration, but they got stuck on the M1 motorway and arrived too late for the opening parade. But since their handlers weren't there either... Some of the locals were a little perplexed by the plan as they failed to see any connection between Muslim traders from Morocco and the birth of Christ.
But that's enough drivel. Let's return to Châteaubriant and the Place de la Motte. The square lies just outside the old town walls and here we see the New Gate. I'm not entirely sure that blue is the colour of Christmas, but I do think this makes an attractive sight. The lighted shop is in fact a restaurant specialising in crêpes, galettes and mussels and we had just eaten there. In the summer they have tables on the paving.