It doesn’t seem possible that we are into the last week of August….Already? I can’t bear to think that it will be turning autumnal so very soon. It gives me a certain feeling of melancholy. The signs are there that the year is progressing at a pace that is just a little bit too fast for my liking. With the return to school in just over a week, families are packing up, last minute tidying and clearing is being completed and the shutters will be tightly closed, gates locked and their holiday homes put into hibernation until next year.
Like sitting in a saggy old armchair or wearing a well-worn sweater, it feels as if the Village is settling into its own comfortable space, taking the time to reflect and take stock of the holiday season. Echos of families and friends having BBQ’s into the wee hours, laughter and chatter, glasses clinking, children shouting, more laughter. More wine! But those moments of reflection and peace have already been shattered; a rude awakening! The dawn of the chasse – the hunting season! The periodic bangs of rifles being discharged has broken the tranquility of the mornings…a sure sign of autumn. My hope is always that the animals get away unharmed, and in all honesty I think it’s more a case of ‘boys with toys’ in this region, the ‘macho guys’ gathering for a bit of fun and hopefully little sport. I know that my neighbour has been out hunting for the past 3 years and all that he has managed to hit is a mangy wood pidgeon, which he offered to some friends, lead shot included for free! For me the chasse means I have to choose my routes and days when walking Maggie. We would not be the first to be killed by errant hunters!
On a more pleasant note, the trees and hedgerows have the first hint of change and with that comes an abundance of blackberries; so perfect with apples, and made into a pie. YUMMM! This year they seem to be plentiful, (blackberries that is, not pies) and I must make time to gather some before the short season is ended. I seem to remember from my childhood that they were always full of little maggots or worms, and I was put off eating them. Here they just seem to be plump and void of nasties!
There have been a few mornings when it has had a decidely cooler feel, a slight mist and even some dew. I toyed with the idea of pulling out a sweatshirt but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It would feel as if I was admitting defeat and accepting that summer was drawing to a close. So, shorts, T-shirt and sandals remain the order of the day! Having said that, we have entered another mini heatwave and the last 3 days has seen temps of 37c in the garden. It looks as if we will have at least another week of settled hot and dry weather. But with the cool start to the day, some of the local wildlife have taken to using every opportunity to warm up with a bit of sun-bathing.
This one is totally harmless I know, but snakes are not one of my favoured animals. Using a zoom lens is about as close as I want to get. However, they are rather beautiful, and the markings and colours show how well camouflaged they can be.
As the seasons change and the days grow shorter I have also noticed changes in the sky…just another sign that we are reaching the year’s end. I do love a good sky!
Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t meant to sound all doom and gloom! I absolutely love the seasonal change throughout the year and each month offers something new and wonderful to see and experience in this lovely patch of rural France. I can’t wait for the glorious sight of the leaves changing colour. That, of course, will be another post, but not just yet! We don’t want to wish the year away, do we?
Oh, La Chasse. The bane of the walker’s life. Though I was never above accepting the occasional gift of charcuterie that came our way. And only today, I’ve met an ENGLISH woman who knows as much about fungi as any Frenchman. I shall hang on to her, as the French never give up their secrets on this matter, do they?
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To have fungi knowledge is a great thing…she sounds like a real keeper!
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Definitely. She gave me some fine specimens. Last night’s meal …. sorted.