Thursday, September 13, 2012

François Skyvington's moped road movie #7

Episode #7 of the road movie was presented on Tuesday afternoon.

In this episode #7, François has moved down to the coastal region of northern Germany known as East Frisia, which lies alongside the northern part of the Netherlands.

On a country road, he was surprised to come upon two teams of men who were playing a curious game that consisted of tossing a big ball as far as possible along the macadam.

The rules of game were not immediately obvious. Players and onlookers were scattered all along the road, and they would start to shout wildly as soon as a ball ran off the macadam and into the grass.

In fact, there's a red team and a blue team, from neighboring villages. Each team (if I understand correctly) has its own ball, and the game—known as bossein—can extend over a length of roadway of 5 to 10 kilometers.

Besides, the players don't seem to be troubled by the presence of vehicles on the road.

The winners are the team that uses the lesser number of tosses to cover the distance. So, in a way, it's a bit like golf. François had a toss or two, towards the end of the wet afternoon, but he wasn't particularly impressive.

After the match, he was invited along to a tasty meal that included large servings of sausages and potatoes, accompanied by beer.

By the time François was ready to leave the bossein context, night had fallen.

Next on the agenda, the following morning, was a visit to an ancient windmill.

It had been restored by Theo, who was now the chief miller.

Inside the windmill, François stepped into a fabulous machine world whose centuries-old wheels and cogs were made out of wood.

Afterwards, the miller and his wife initiated François into one of the old traditions of East Frisia: tea.

The next day, in the port of Emden, François found his way to a distinguished establishment that blends high-quality teas.

The East Frisians seem to be connoisseurs in the tea domain.

The specialist at Emden blends his teas with the same quest for excellence as a Scotsman blending whisky, or a Frenchman producing brandy.

The various alternatives are compared and judged as if the teashop were a laboratory... which it is, in a way.

And the specimens are served and compared in an experimental context.

The next day, François met up with a giant named Tamme who works as a chiropractor with horses.

Tamme uses a high-tech device that enables a lame horse to walk on a treadmill immersed in water.

Viewers were impressed by a sequence in which the giant chiropractor manipulated rapidly the leg of a giant horse in such a way that the bones made a distinct crack.

François was apparently capable of performing a similar manipulation on a lame horse.

Then he was brought in contact with a huge white horse that had some kind of a problem.

I held my breath when I saw François climbing up onto the back of  this beast... but everything went over well.

Even the incongruous presence of Tamme as a pillion passenger on the orange moped seemed to be problem-free.

Finally, François terminated his interesting experiences in East Frisia by an excursion in a marvelous old wooden sailing boat.

The combination of old wood and ropes had the same magic charm as the interior of Theo's ancient windwill.

The orange moped, too, went on this boat trip.

At one point, François (who, I believe, might be described as a relatively experienced sailor) took the helm.

The same North Sea winds that drove the old sailing boat (not to mention Theo's windmill) was generating electricity on the shores of East Frisia.

Back on land, François left East Frisia under a damp steel-gray sky.

As a TV spectator, I had greatly enjoyed the tone of this episode.

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