One thing I forgot to talk about after the Defi Foly was this photo. It’s a tractor and it has a cable attached. Leading up to the tractor’s collection bucket at the front is a little pathway. The tractor was placed in this position especially for the Defi Foly event, but it has nothing to do with the contestants in wetsuits. So what is it for? What would your guess be? Click on the photo for a close-up of the image if you need to. When you think you know what it is, check against the correct answer below the photo.
So, what did you think it was? A cable for a TV camera to slide along to catch all the action? A dodgy electricity cable set-up to keep the beers in the beer tent fridges cold? A flying fox? Yes, that’s right: it’s a flying fox. In previous years, the flying fox has looked somewhat more permanent, but that all changed this year when they decided to just haul up a tractor for the weekend and hope that the little bit of green foam would stop anybody from hitting the rather large metal contraption behind it, complete with snow chains despite the lack of snow. Apart from the green foam, the only other ‘safety’ feature is the red netting fence on either side to prevent people accidentally walking into the path of a person sliding down the line.
And this is why I love where I live in France: La Clusaz has somehow never escaped the era of my childhood, where fun came first and overdone safety was further down the list. I have another example of this from the Defi Foly. On the other side of our marquee was a display of birds of prey. They each had a little perch to which they were tethered, but the only thing between them and everyone else were a few bits of 10cm-wide tape, made into a fence by being wrapped around some hip-height poles stuck into the ground. Nobody seemed worried about the possibility of a dog running under the tape and trying to scoff a bird, and actually, none of the dogs tried. The birds didn’t seem worried, and everyone enjoyed their view of the birds without being hampered by chicken wire or anything else you’d expect to see in more safety-conscious places. Vive la France!