Have you ever dreamt of running away to join the circus? Well, you can if you live in France.  Joining the circus is a legitimate career choice. Circus skills are taught in schools as part of the physical education programme. Our daughter learnt to balance on a low wire, juggle and throw a diabolo.  Our neighbour’s son became such an enthusiast of the subject that he used to ride his uni-cycle up and down the road. There are two circus schools in France, where students can get a degree qualification. While researching this book I found, to my surprise, that there is a school in Bristol that also teaches circus skills. ‘Stop clowning around’, is probably never said by teachers there! Circuses regularly appear in town, usually setting up in supermarket carparks. French circuses still have performing animals and often a part of their attraction is the mini zoo they bring along with them.  We were looking at the animals one day, when we heard anxious shouts from the big top. A tiger that should have been returning to its cage by means of a tunnel had found a gap. Fortunately, there were enough fair-ground workers on hand to prevent it from escaping into the town. We beat a hasty retreat!

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