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. 2: Bonjour, une Baguette S’il Vous Plaît

On Gruissan Plage. 2: Bonjour, une Baguette S’il Vous Plaît

What was I looking forward to most, on my holidays? What was I thinking about most in the weeks beforehand, in the days getting stuff ready, on the drive to the airport, in the plane, on the drive out to Gruissan Plage? On those succulent days before a holiday?

Was it the sunshine, the warmth, the sound of the waves wafting up from the beach? Bare feet and sandals, no socks? The beach, stretching itself out long and lovely, exotic in sunshine? Non, monsieur. Non, madame. Continue reading “On Gruissan Plage. 2: Bonjour, une Baguette S’il Vous Plaît”

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.”

Five Days Walking in France – Day 5: Saint-Jean-de-Côle et Angoulême

Five Days Walking in France – Day 5: Saint-Jean-de-Côle et Angoulême

We did a bit of sightseeing before today’s walk (our last of 2016 together) in Saint-Jean-de-Côle, which is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. M. Besson and most of the books had recommended it. And the Romanesque Byzantine church to Saint-Jean Baptiste  was very special I must say, its stone walls almost white, with small rounded chapels to the side. They had choral music playing through the sound-system and long elegant candles (Pad and I lit two) and I could have stayed there longer and prayed. There was a map on a notice board at the side showing a walk through the village all the way to Santiago de Compostela, a good walk, beginning in Vezelay – almost 1,500 km according to Googlemaps. Now that would be a walk and a talk. But we agreed to settle for somewhat less that Friday. Maybe some other time. Continue reading “Five Days Walking in France – Day 5: Saint-Jean-de-Côle et Angoulême”

Five Days Walking in France – Day 4: Words of Love

Five Days Walking in France – Day 4: Words of Love

Thursday came with our first clear dawn and a hard frost. I put on a hat and gloves for the short haul down to Madame Aldi – we weren’t quite on first name terms yet, myself and the woman who opened it up in the morning, but we were getting there. Light had been filling my East facing bedroom since well before eight and I went outside with a cup of tea to enjoy the sun’s rising over the glen. It came up clear under a blue sky ribboned with aircraft contrails, my breath misting in the cold Autumn air, long shadows appearing behind the garden chairs and the porch column and on the pages of my notepad and my pen was enshadowed now too, and the back of my cup. Funny how the shadows are longest at the dawn and the dusk. Mist from my nose and mouth in the cold, mist billowing gently from my cup of tea. Mist in the soft stream of condensed air rising from the central heating chimney of the house below. Continue reading “Five Days Walking in France – Day 4: Words of Love”

Five Days Walking in France – Day 3: Spotted Apples

Five Days Walking in France – Day 3: Spotted Apples

Reader, we ate them. The spotted apples on the tree on the short walk outside Nontron. On the winding road near the stream, the little apple tree just there, as pastoral a picture as you could hope for. I wish I’d taken a photo now. I remembered those lines from Big Yellow Taxi: Continue reading “Five Days Walking in France – Day 3: Spotted Apples”