“Break Step” when crossing the Trembling Lady is as abstract as it gets, but the sign on the Albert Bridge is unequivocal in its demand that step should be broken when crossing it in column of threes. So avoid doing that, if you possibly can, as the bridge fell down in 1831 before someone had the good sense to put up a sign warning of the likelihood of such an occurrence. Apparently a rhythmic oscillation is set up which creates a scenario in which the bridge eventually collapses. I find that a similar oscillation is set up by the other 11 months of the year and we are saved from collapse by the breaking of step created by the excesses of August.
This morning I went to buy some bread in the nearby village. Being a Sunday morning, I was expecting it to be quite peaceful. On a sunny Sunday, as it is today, I expected the terraces of the two cafés to have their share of customers. Paper reading, post church going regulars seasoned with a sprinkling of holiday making visitors. The normal procedure, in the small épicerie or the boulangerie, would be to wait for a minute in a queue of one person, or a tutting two on a busy day. Today, I could not buy bread. Perhaps there was none to be had, but I will never know if that was true as I was not able to stop to find out. I was pushed through the village on a peristaltic wave of visiting vehicles that made stopping for bread as likely as parking a lunar module in mid orbit. Having been evacuated out of the back end of the village, I was forced to take a circuitous route to return home ; shame faced, and carbohydrate free. August had broken step, if not wind.
We shall soon be in the bosom of les aoûtistes when we take a short holiday on the Île d’Oléron where we shall feel the full force of oscillating August.