July 30, 2012
Many of the walks out from the hameau are nicely circuitous and also flexible in length. Usually, my early evening routes are 7, 10 or 12 kms of up and down hill and through varied scenery – vineyards of course, holm oak woodland, garrigue type scrub, wild flower knolls, along streams, village roads – all without seeing another human at close quarters. Work goes on in the vineyards until dusk and many vehicles use the small road network – most drivers make acknowledgement (crazy English – walking!!). It’s possible to cast the eye across 180 degrees and see not a sign of human life – no buildings or roads – apart from the obvious tending of the vines. Yesterday’s stroll encompassed Les Mattes and the wild flower knoll (on a previous post) now ploughed up for the planting of more vines. Areas get left fallow and then bought back into use on a cyclical system. I was keen to find the correct route, having failed last time, around Le Grange de Péret. Then I ended up ploughing through bramble and jumping ditches! The land that I presume goes with Le Grange is quite beautifully managed – as though unmanaged - with well selected objets left as though . . . . such as this part of a camion.
. . . opera pours out of the open windows of Le Grange and lots of German voices to be heard yesterday – thought so! Just before the buildings I found 2 plants of Echinops ritro, thrusting out of the path edge. That was my ident anyway! Native to here, yes, but strange in this very rural landscape although there is plenty of a dwarf and very pale papery Eryngium which looks at home with the other flora.
Round the bend into the back end of Lenthéric and its many domaines, decided to stop by some varied cultivation – quite a relief after acres of vine stripes – and monitor the tomatoes. There should be a photo of the guardian – four paws - here, but he was too busy trying to eat the camera. Farm dogs - usually hounds for la chasse - make a lot of noise and fuss, need to sniff, and quite often accompany whoever for a few metres along until boredom sets in. Sort of predictable and quite amusing!
Strolling out off the village to the moulin, a strange sweet smell wafted from the west. Very sweet but also pungent . . .
. . . dark skinned blacks, of course, to avoid skin cancer. A big surprise to see a herd – more than 50 – in this area. We’re used to goats and some pale cattle inhabiting the oak scrub, but the warning is the sound of bells as against ‘perfume’!
Little piggy bottoms! And a poem that some might find tasteless and some tasty! and a video – poem by S. Milligan.
In England once there lived a big
And wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody it was plain
That Piggy had a massive brain.
He worked out sums inside his head,
There was no book he hadn’t read.
He knew what made an airplane fly,
He knew how engines worked and why.
He knew all this, but in the end
One question drove him round the bend:
He simply couldn’t puzzle out
What LIFE was really all about.
What was the reason for his birth?
Why was he placed upon this earth?
His giant brain went round and round.
Alas, no answer could be found.
Till suddenly one wondrous night.
All in a flash he saw the light.
He jumped up like a ballet dancer
And yelled, “By gum, I’ve got the answer!”
“They want my bacon slice by slice
“To sell at a tremendous price!
“They want my tender juicy chops
“To put in all the butcher’s shops!
“They want my pork to make a roast
“And that’s the part’ll cost the most!
“They want my sausages in strings!
“They even want my chitterlings!
“The butcher’s shop! The carving knife!
“That is the reason for my life!”
Such thoughts as these are not designed
To give a pig great piece of mind.
Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,
A pail of pigswill in his hand,
And piggy with a mighty roar,
Bashes the farmer to the floor…
Now comes the rather grizzly bit
So let’s not make too much of it,
Except that you must understand
That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland,
He ate him up from head to toe,
Chewing the pieces nice and slow.
It took an hour to reach the feet,
Because there was so much to eat,
And when he finished, Pig, of course,
Felt absolutely no remorse.
Slowly he scratched his brainy head
And with a little smile he said,
“I had a fairly powerful hunch
“That he might have me for his lunch.
“And so, because I feared the worst,
“I thought I’d better eat him first.” Roald Dahl
Just another strange sighting of a doorway in Aigues Vivres – close by here. Hooves, yes, but of what. I’ll stop now as it’s getting ghoulish!