A legend comes to Moissac: meeting Carl Sassenrath 8-9 July, 2006

Moissac is a pleasant little town to the north-west of Toulouse, where much fruit is grown. Carl Sassenrath is a large pleasant guy who grows fruit and is also The Man spoken of in hushed whispers whenever the efficient and elegant programming of AmigaOS (then known as Workbench) and REBOL is mentioned.

Ye gods, but it’s hot. We arrange via crackly cellphone to meet in the shade of a handy café on the edge of Moissac’s town square.

It is late Saturday morning, and a market day, so everyone has spent ages trying to park. The Sassenraths aren’t used to the manual gearchange on their hire car, which doesn’t make things any easier. Chit-chat – we discover Carl and Cindy are over here with their daughter’s ballet troupe – a nice cold beer or two, and we realise we’re hungry. We opt to leave the cars where they are and walk around looking for a restaurant. In the broiling sun. It takes a while: there are fancy restaurants in Moissac, but we’re not rich. Some of the others are closed, or full. When in France, never leave finding a place to eat until after 1 pm. In the end, we meet up with some other parents from the ballet troupe gang and infest a pleasant little eatery just opposite the abbey. Much heavily-accented trilingual hilarity ensues when we discover the Patronne is Spanish. Good food too.

The weather continuing rather more than fine, we flee to the shade of the monuments: museum, abbey, cloisters. Loads of history – the oldest part of the abbey/monastery complex dates from the 7th century – and much fun had in trying to work out which bits belong to which period. Above all, nice cool cloisters. No wonder the monks loved them. It’s very peaceful and only our feeling sorry for Marc, outside in the broiling sun, finally gets us to leave.

Afterwards, we purchase cooling liquids (soda, water, fruit juice), and things to eat later that evening, then go admire various magnificent local views. No photos of this, you’ll have to visit the area yourself.

We learn of the Sassenrath ranch and their very own vin de pays: Sassenranch. This I must try. It’s very good, resembling a quality AOC Cahors (which is a robust dark red wine, fruity and/or spicy undertones, goes well with cassoulet, preserved duck or goose, red meat, and cheese if you must know). We drink it, while chatting and dabbling our feet in the outdoor jacuzzi back at the gîte Carl and Cindy co-rent with the other ballet parents. I manage to keep the bottle as a souvenir.

Day 2

If possible, the weather’s even hotter. Those who couldn’t make it on the Saturday, more fool they, home in via intensive use of cellphones and swearing: Voxel the Pagestream king, CamYL the ex-president of my local computer club.

We meet at Mad Informatique, run by Franck, and I have brought a micro-A1 for Carl to play with. Silly bugger forgot the camera, though, so we have no photographic record of The Day Carl Sassenrath Discovered OS4.

Anyway, we all crowd into Franck’s house and start playing with the AmigaOne. REBOL runs on it just fine, and Carl gives a a fascinating glimpse of just how simple yet powerful REBOL can be. It’s also highly portable: administrators of heterogeneous networks using IM or distributed apps take note.

Franck shows us a game he’s working on. Looks promising.

Finally we all realise we are desperately hungry and start to pack everything away prior to going over to Franck’s dad’s place for lunch. Carl asks me whether the µA1 I’d provided for the demo runs on a 1.7 or 1.8 GHz chip. I explain it is a 800 MHz G3. He is suitably impressed: the AmigaOS tradition of small and fast has been carried on despite his departure from the scene.

The afternoon is delightful, with barbecues, good wine, much chatting and exchanging of T-shirts. You had to be there.

The party finally breaks up, some start on the long journey home, others find somewhere to watch the France-Italy World Cup final. Yeah, that final. I’m not really into football but the punchups were quite good.

I return home after a weird weekend. I have just met a living legend and he’s a really nice, ordinary guy.

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One response to “A legend comes to Moissac: meeting Carl Sassenrath 8-9 July, 2006

  1. Alan Crandall

    well Carl got back to his roots after his visit to France by showing up at AmiWest http://www.sacc.org/amiwest/ and had a good time talking to the hardware/software people behind OS 4 and letting at the people at the show know what’s on the plate for Rebol 3

Go on, bother me. You know you want to.

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