Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 5

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 5

They go low, so we go high.

We drove south past Laruns into the mountains up to the Lac de Bious-Artigues at 1400m altitude. We were shocked, shocked I tell you, to find the car park by the lake full, with well-equipped and, worse – fit-looking – hikers setting forth. We were most aggrieved, having had the forests and mountains to ourselves the previous two days – well, except for the cattle and horses, but they didn’t clog up the paths, they weren’t smugly thin and they didn’t have hiking poles and expensive walking gear. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 5”

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 3

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 3

We were hungry and empty when we ate on the unlikely named Col Deus Coïgts at 1068m. We’d climbed up from the villages of Louvie-Juzon and Castet on the valley floor at 400m and it took us four hours to get there. The woods around us as we ate, with tall beech trees reaching up imperiously, were a thing of inordinate beauty. A tree creeper climbed up a bark twenty metres away, doing his methodological thing. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 3”

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 2

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 2

Never miss an opportunity to enter a boulanger’s shop in the morning. I recommend it. The smell of the fresh bread and pastries, the look of their stacked fine golden familiar shapes. The appetite for a holiday breakfast and the anticipation of that first bite of crunchy crust. The taste of the soft white bread, with butter and tea. It’s all right there in the ringing of the bell when you open the door and step inside to the cheerful ‘bonjour’ that awaits you. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 2”

Cycling to Coomenole

Cycling to Coomenole

I cycled over the road to Coomenole. It isn’t a long cycle from Baile an Chalaidh, but there are a few climbs and my legs aren’t what they used to be, so I took my time. Thanks be to God for the granny cog on the old Bentini. I got there in about 45 minutes, with a couple of scenery breaks on the hills (ahem). Continue reading “Cycling to Coomenole”

On Gruissan Plage 3. Sounds like…

On Gruissan Plage 3. Sounds like…

When you go somewhere new it’s always interesting to listen. The sounds of a different place are thought-provoking. Stimulating. We don’t usually pay attention. They often go in one ear and out the other. The eyes have it (haha).

Dermot said that the sound of the fierce Tramontane evoked ancient fears and he was right. This wind blows over Gruissan from the north from time to time, sweeping down over the Massif and out into the sea, and one day when we were there it gusted to a violent 70 kmph. Continue reading “On Gruissan Plage 3. Sounds like…”

On Gruissan Plage. 1: The Evening.

On Gruissan Plage.   1: The Evening.

It is evening. I am writing on the balcony. The sun is slanting across the chalets. Its light is softening, running to red.

The chalets are mostly white, white legs, white bodies, their gables ends pristine and clear.

Shadows rise. The shadows of electrical wires rise on walls. Continue reading “On Gruissan Plage. 1: The Evening.”

The morning sun, the evening sun

The morning sun, the evening sun

The morning sun talks about today. The evening sun talks about tomorrow.

I love the evening sun the best.

The morning light’s a wonder, and it’s fresh. And whiter than the evening light, and pristine cool. It floats up over the hedge, bundled with optimism and energy, rising, encouraging something meaningful from the day. Expectant with significance, the morning sun. Continue reading “The morning sun, the evening sun”