Here in Bon Abri the rabbits remain very bold and sit chewing in quiet corners all over the gardens. To watch them sitting up, back straight, apparently staring straight ahead and idly chewing you would think that they did not have a care in the world.
A few days ago I was out enjoying the pleasure of the deepening twilight when I heard a fearful ‘crying’ from the woods. My first thought was of a couple of fighting cats but then as I listened I thought that it sounded too cultivated, not manic enough for cats, more a fight in Sloane Square than Albert Square. I plunged into the dimness of the wood in pursuit of the sounds and crept quietly along the slope. After a few minutes I could see a thicket of bramble that vibrated with animal movement deep inside. I crept closer, a twig snapped and a pregnant hush fell over the small dell. There was no movement from the brambles and we all waited. As the seconds passed I became bored and edged forward snapping another twig as I did so. The thicket burst into life.
One animal evidently went left, two on diverging paths went right and a fourth headed directly towards me all betrayed by the rapid crunching of desiccated leaves and the vibration of the moving brambles. To my left an adult fox burst from cover its mouth packed full of feathers as it ran off with its kill. The two to the right had gone to cover but the one approaching me kept coming. I waited and then a tiny fox-cub emerged from the undergrowth head down running towards me. From two metres it saw my feet and stopped. Like a character in a cartoon it slowly looked up and we very briefly made eye contact. The little fellow turned and scampered back into the thicket where moments before it had been receiving lessons in life skills. I turned and walked back the way I had come pleasantly fulfilled by our brief encounter.
For those regular viewers of this blog I have an apology to make. The beautiful cornflower-blue flower that I had named as a cornflower is, in-fact, a Nigella. It is certainly cornflower-blue but is a very different plant and comes from the family Ranunculaceae. These include buttercups and crowsfoot. Interestingly (well, I think so) Ranunclus means little frog from the Latin Rana, frog. The seeds have great culinary potential I believe so I shall be keeping an eye on the flower-heads over the next few weeks.
On the topic of apologies the following photograph of the Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia) is the image I forgot to include with the blog that led to a discussion on snakes.
A few days back we took another trip down to Carcassonne since there were a couple of things to sort out. It gave me an opportunity to stop at the monument to the building of the canal des deux Mers. It is situated on a rocky outcrop close to the highest point of the canal (and hence where the main water supply comes in). The obelisk looks very impressive. However it is locked up behind high walls and iron gates that seem to be permanently closed. On the subject of the canal I was idling away a few minutes hanging over the water and watching life pass by when an almost silent barge glided below me. The vessel seemed to have a home port of Yarmouth (although there are not many canals on the Isle of Wight) and was, as far as I could see, entirely solar powered.
The journey back to Puymangou was punctuated by a real spectacle as we passed from the river Isle over the Forêt de la Double towards the Dronne valley. The road is a slow series of bends through mostly thick forest giving a few glimpses of sky as you progress. I noticed after a while, as the twilight crept in, that a very dark cloud had begun to bubble up along the northern horizon. I then realised that there were shots of bright light within the cloudmass. These lights became bigger and stronger and we could clearly see the lightning chasing through the boiling clouds. The huge storm cloud stayed clumped together. By the time that we arrived back in Bon Abri the lightning spat and shot inside and across the cloud-face. I parked, put the kettle on and set up a camera to record some of the stunning light-show. After about 45 minutes the cloud finally sank beyond the northern horizon and was gone. I shall post a few minutes of ‘video’ when I have done some editing.
As a rather poignant post-script we were travelling through the village of Sourzac on the Isle river and close to the equally peaceful town of Mussidan a few days ago. We always take a look at the war memorial whenever we are in a village and are still shocked by the numbers listed for the 1914 to 1918 war. Often there will be names for the wars in Algeria and Indochina and sometimes three or four names for 1939 to ’45. Here there were four names for the ’39-’45 period and below them I was confused to see 18 names for the 11th June 1944 (one was 16 years old and three were 17). Back in Bon Abri I ran a quick search and found that in peaceful and tranquil Mussidan on the 11th June 1944 there was a total death-toll of 74 (including these 18)if you included both sides. It was a chilling list and yet another truly shocking event in the days after D-day. However it does not compare to the events in Oradure-sur-Glane on the 10th June 1944.
Visit the website on: http://www.bonabri-puymangou.com