Thursday was market day back in the Bishop Auckland of my youth.
This was decades before the liberalisation of licensing laws but the pubs were allowed to stay open all afternoon, with predictable results on the streets. Otherwise, I recall the buses running more frequently, but little or nothing of the market itself.
Market day in Le Lavandou is also Thursday.
France has always had all-day drinking for the few that seem to want it, and open displays of drunkenness on the streets are rare (though binge drinking is catching on, prompting the mayor to order earlier closure of bars here after some skirmishes between rival louts).
But when I leave the Var a few days from now, I will take memories of Thursday mornings in the marché provençal.
I do not visit the market anything like every week, but when I do go, my senses are assailed by the mélange of sights and smells just as, on the busier days, my shoulder and ribs are assailed in the bustle of fellow shoppers
Live here and you grow to take it for granted, even to mutter in irritation at the invasion of tourists. Go away again and, I am sure, you will long to be back, stocking up on tapenade, fresh fruit and charcuterie or handing over small change for a mound of mussels for moules marinières or moules au roquefort.
I will also miss rounding off those occasional market expeditions with a glass of Guinness at my favourite bar, Le Centre. I was irrationally proud of being the only customer who ordered the black stuff, and was honoured that they obtained supplies, as I thought, just for me.