12 August. Always deeply respectful of their royal family, the Queen's birthday is celebrated nationwide. During this public holiday buildings are bedecked in lights in honour of H M Sirikit (the Queen), the most spectacular of which are to be found in the capital around the Grand Palace and Government offices.


14-15 August. During the Fete de la Lavande the little village of Sault, in Haut Provence, is shrouded under an enormous purple haze, as during these two days everything in sight is covered in lavender. This floral tribute incites long bouts of drinking, dancing, and general merriment with an open-air finale on the last night.

Luxembourg (right)

15-17 August. "Streetartnimation" was first held in 1995 for the Year of Culture celebrations, and was so successful that it has become a yearly happening. Events take place in the city, and embrace all things musical and theatrical, ranging from the smallest puppet theatre in the world, to a guy painted green riding a scooter, plus various jazz and blues ensembles.


15-17 August. The Sourdough Rendezvous Goldrush Bathtub Race has the undisputed honour of being the longest bathtub race in the world. Held in the Yukon Territory, that northern bit of Canada wedged between the Northwest Territory and Alaska, the baths run from Whitehorse to Dawson City. The race culminates with the Dawson City Discovery Days festival, which commemorates the discovery of gold in the Klondike in 1896.


16 August. The Banana Slug derby is an annual event held in Orick. The little critters are put through the hoop, in some cases literally, with trophies for winners in all categories.


16-17 August. The summer music festival circuit just keeps on rockin' with V97. Now in its second year, this two-day music event sponsored by golden boy Richard Branson, plays host to the likes of Ash, Beck, Dodgy, Kula Shaker, Prodigy, and no doubt chosen beverage of the day will be Virgin Cola by the barrel load.