Street furniture, as a term, is an oxymoron: as a manifestation, an abhorrence. It can, however, be amusing as in the plethora of pavement situated wind driven spinning signs which are as unpleasing to the eye as are the small piles of vomit that so often decorate their heavy bases. These spore are clear signs that, if nothing else, they have been put to good use as leaning posts by drunks, anxious to avoid the overload of lager and chips falling directly onto their shoes. One would have imagined that in a high wind, which is not unusual in Northern Europe, their aerodynamic design would spin the weakened wassailer like a compost spreader thus eliminating those unsightly piles at the base. This is sadly not the case but that failing could be solved by more wind or less lager: a matter of wind over matter.
Although the main purveyor of European street furniture appears to be a French concern, it does not take long to notice that the villages of France are not home to their wares nor to realise that the absence of pavements in those villages would entail the carefully designed furniture becoming literally true to its name by being sited in the street itself which would be a challenge, if not a hazard, to the dozen or so cars that pass through each day. However, where there’s a way there’s a spinning sign and for the most part they are, ironically, drawing our attention to the ubiquitous availability in France of PAIN. With such an appetite for PAIN it was no wonder Gilles de Rais and the Marquis de Sade flourished yet how much safer from prosecution would they have been had they carried out their nefarious activities in a boulangerie: no fear of a latter day Brussels bureaucrat fining them for inaccurate description of their wares as long as the PAIN sign was madly spinning in the forecourt. The French love PAIN and they like it on a daily basis; twice a day is ideal and, in order to satisfy that lust for PAIN, ” Dieu créa la baguette”. A brilliant piece of baking ingenuity, the baguette stays fresh for half a day meaning that the baker sells his bread twice a day. No market gets commoner than this.
The pain that I have been enjoying today is pain cereale; a thick slice of which I toasted under the grill. Once toasted, the pain is left to cool a bit, letting the surface becomes crisp in order that it will act as a grater when it is rubbed with a clove of fresh garlic and then with a chunk of fresh tomato over which is then drizzled some olive oil. This pain not for the faint hearted, but then again, what pain is?