To market, to market’ nursery rhyme (circa 1611) speaks to the traditional rural activity of going to a market or fair where agricultural produce is bought and sold.
My highlight for this week was participating in the market at Gsteig, the next village over, on 30 September. The Gsteigmäeret is a traditional market with folk music, children’s entertainment, yodelling and other attractions. Open Spaces’ booth was one of the ‘other attractions.’ We shared the pavement above the River Saane with a cheese booth… lots of free samples to keep us warm and functional! On show were our own artwork (my arty birds, Nelo’s abstract cows), artwork from Haiti, a scattering of Doliver Morain’s birds and lizards, and Roderick and Kyra’s cheese renderings.
We arrived at Gsteig about 730 am to set up, which did not take long. Then we went to photograph some cows and I realised that one of them was looking at me (in my red coat) a little too assertively. That’s when I realised it was a bull, the only bull in the field of cows. There was nowhere to hide, so I pulled out the camera, and clicked the video button… my ‘body cam’ of a run-in with a bull. Turns out he was more interested in keeping the cows interested in him and not me. Thank heaven.
Folk music: Apart from the old Ricola TV adverts of my childhood, this was my first time I heard yodelling. The Jodlerklub Gsteig performed twice and it was a soothing a cappella treat. There were no Alp horns though, but the Treichlerklub Gsteig more than made up for that by performing the Ylüte (ringing of cow bells), and they were fabulous. The group walked the length of the market ringing cow bells (to ward off bad spirits ahead of winter), and displayed some fancy footwork. In our lexicon, ‘drougeing’ would apply, because these bells are huge, heavy and loud… and apparently run to CHF/USD 1000 or more a piece.
Children’s entertainment: I observed at least one game which attracted many contenders: hit the nail on the head with the edge of a piece of pipe. Using a hammer with a head made from a short length of metal pipe, the object was to hit 3 nails into a log of wood, with the least number of strikes. I don’t know who eventually won, but the handwritten list of contenders was loooong.
The Gsteigmäeret is facilitated by the Dorforganisation Gsteig-Feutersoey, the village (dorf) organisation. Several stalls provided foodstuffs for sample and sale, from cheese to preserved horsemeat and deer. Other stalls displayed handmade jewellery, knitting, clothing. There was even a booth with the latest in chainsaws and weed-eaters. The Dorforganisation provided a real happy hour from 10-11 am with free local products: wine, juice, cheese, bread and snacks, to help yourself and meet the community. I thought this was fabulous. Later in the day, as the weather began to chill, the organisers made the rounds with a very large dog pulling a coffee and schnapps wagon, offering everyone a free warm drink. I was very schnapps-happy. By 5 pm we were more than ready to pack up, and within half an hour we were back at the schoolhouse in Feutersoey. What a day!
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