06 Feb Les agriculteurs en Colère !!! The Farmers are Angry !!!
Photo: Journalist It is now week Two !!!! Yes, we should have taken the train, but guess what ? We just did not think about it ! It took us almost 3 ½ hours to get to Toulouse last week as the Farmers had blocked the auto-route at Montauban. The sky over the town was a thick black mass of billowing suffocating smoke, the fresh air poisoned, permeated with the putrid odour of choking burning rubber, as the Farmers’ set fire to barricades across roads & motorways with old tyres and hay-bales to stop any traffic passing motorists came to a standstill. The Gendarmes just simply stood and watched, appearing to be to us, the motorists trapped in the blockade just a moment in time for a good old get together for a laugh and a chat, probably I am sure, feeling very pleased that they were not in the very long line of blocked traffic. They did not think it necessary to tell traffic that were diverting down all roads trying to find a way around, that they too were blocked !! Nor did they place any signs to say the routes were blocked, they just watched. Haulage lorries pulled up on the side of roads, as there was just no where to go. Stuart drove down quite a few little roads, which led us to no-where, except more lit fires & destruction. Then, he caught sight of a local registered car, going down a road we would not have chosen to use. Having nothing to lose, we followed him and hoped for the best that he knew a secret route. Thankfully he did and after many, many kms of beautiful countryside that was not alight, we arrived the otherside of Montauban. We eventually arrived in Toulouse, to find it was no better, but there were no fires! City & town Police were everywhere, they had blocked many roads as they were expecting problems with Farmers that were heading for Toulouse to demonstrate there too. With our appointment time looming and not wishing to be late, we asked them how to get where we needed to be. If all else fails, ask a policeman or woman, right ? Wrong !!! Every single road to were we needed to go down were blocked. When we asked the surrounding police how to get to where we needed to be, they just shrugged their shoulders, either saying that it was not their fault, or they were not from that area. Just so helpful !! All they wanted to do was talk amongst themselves, looking at us in a very irritated manner as we had interrupted their conversation. As for the chaos with all the traffic, well hey, let the drivers sort it out for themselves, not our problem !! We thought of parking out of town, but with time not on our side it would not have made any difference. However, pleased to say we made it, arriving just 10 minutes late for our appointment, but we got there with a bit of flukey luck. And yes you have guessed it, we then had to get home. No time to go shopping that day !!!!! A drive that normally takes us just 1 hour 20 mins, took us just over 4 hours. But at least we made it home, it was a bitterly cold night, so to have been trapped in a car and not moving anywhere would have been horrible. Fortunately for us, the two occasions when we did sit motionless on the motorway wondering just how long we were going to be trapped there for, thankfully was alleviated after not too long, as those striking at that moment in time, at that place, decided it was time to go home. Such a relief !!! However, we knew the motorway was still blocked further along in several places, so we headed off in a direction which was miles out of our way, albeit incredibly long, through miles and miles of winding country lanes, we made it home !! This protest is still going on, it is now well into week 2 ! We are so pleased we live away from big towns and so thoughtful of all those poor people that have to commute everyday trying to get to and from work, or going to the hospitals etc. For the Farmers in question, it is not for me to criticise, they have their reasons !