Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour

It is mild, foggy and manageable again, the tree trunks greasy and sleek, a very few abstract shapes of icicles, fallen and broken or attaching still to brambles and ivy.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Tredaniel plan d'eau, morning

One stone tossed onto the ice rests there, the second splashes and sinks.  Frosted edges sharpen the identity of  every leaf.

Short fat hazel catkins hold sturdily to bare winter branches.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Down the road, early evening.

The swept-up, bare branches of the poplars in the valley look like the bristles of great brushes, turned upside-down to sweep the drifts of dust-blue cloud across the evening sky.

Lamballe plan d'eau, morning

The water is unaccountably low; ducks mooch around unaccustomed stony beaches, herons and cormorants stand proud in the middle, and the clumps of moor grass no longer make floating islands.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Hill above Henon, evening

We stop on the way home, and walk by headlight and torchlight.  The village below, church and houses, glow, and the lights along the coast far off shine like beads.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Down the road, late afternoon

A quad bike slithers up the road as we slither down it.

Two spikes of dock and the line of the electric fence are all that break the snow's whiteness.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon

The snow, which has not long started, is still at the granular stage, settling on the sandy paths but not yet on the grass, and creaking rather than crunching underfoot.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Up the road, afternoon

Really the strangest weather: warm sunshine and mild, but with grainy snow swirling down.  By the time we get round though, it is harder and colder, bouncing off Molly's nose.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Watermill, Guette-es-Lievres, afternoon.

The autumn leaves are thin and transparent and lacy.  The river must have flooded very recently, parts of the path are washed clean of leaves and covered in soft silt.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Down the road,early evening.

It is early evening, which not so long ago would have been afternoon.  Everywhere is desaturated by rain and greyness, a white achillea flower looks like a piece of litter.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Up the road, afternoon

An odd white cable hangs, free and apparently purposeless, from the electricity pole..  It flaps and taps in the wind against the pole like a halyard on a boat's mast.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Down the road, early evening.

I light our first fire, to air the house, before we go out, and smell the smoke from it on the damp mild air all the way down the road.

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour

In spring this deep shadowy stretch is dotted with hawthorn petals, in summer laced with spent chestnut catkins, and now bristly with rotting chestnut husks and patterned with yellow leaves.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

We venture further afield looking for sloes, but I've left it late, and many are withered and finished.  Then, when nearly home, we find a bush of fat glossy ones.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

A very tiny old lady, unknown to me, buttonholes me on the corner.  She's staying with her daughter, but homesick for Paris; here, she says, it is like a desert.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

I know the silky plates and domes of these mushrooms are edible, but not worth the bother.  Leave them to be beautiful among the heart-shaped leaf litter of the poplars.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Whilst enjoying the scenery, I'm thinking about making things: Christmas cards from photos, sloe gin, chicken fricassee and rice with some of the jar of chestnut puree mixed into it...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

In an explosion of noise and colour, a cock pheasant bursts up out of Marcelle's orange marigold bed.  I am sorry to have driven it from its place of safety.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

The wind from the north which blows my hair out sideways, also carries a late, hasty swallow, flying low and lonely across the track, over the fields and far away.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Tredaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

The tapping of a small ball hammer on a plank, close.  Wait, and I'm right, the woodpecker flaps away, like a black and white chequerboard with a red backing.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Tredaniel plan d'eau, morning.

Molly suddenly leaps into the car with uncharacteristic haste, then leaps out again.  I'm puzzled, then see a bumblebee crawling where she has just been. She is terrified but unstung.

Road back from Henon, evening, Friday (not really a walk, but out with Mol anyway)

The streaming wet road is alive with amphibians: frogs, toads, and salamanders of all shapes and sizes.  For Tom, trying to avoid them whilst driving is a rather fraught business.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Up the road, morning.

A perfect morning of dew and cobwebs, I have forgotten the hunters.  Yet, utterly despite myself,  I enjoy watching the handsome Breton spaniels working the stubble in the blue mist.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Tredaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

A lorryload of live pigs is in the carpark, rattling and grunting somewhat though not as rank-smelling and shrieking as sometimes.  I make myself look, and tell them I'm sorry.

Up the road, afternoon (Monday).

Returning, I see bonfire smoke;  Tom, back indoors, says it is about finished.

I go down anyway, to kick the ashes and throw stray twigs and roots into the embers.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Up the road, lunchtime.

We may hate the first day of hunting, but Molly loves it, with  rank, smelly hunters' dogs perfuming every verge and corner, and a pheasant whirring up from the ditch.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

Near the carpark, a flat, palm-sized stone is surrounded by fragments of spiral snailshells, bronze and yellow and Roman, together with many goblets of acorns, twigs and curled brown leaves.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Up the road, late afternoon.

Leaving, I deadhead some dried-blood red flowers of the windowbox geraniums, drying and autumnal now but still blooming. Coming back, I pick and eat a single ripe russet cherry tomato.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Kerbiriou, morning

We go down the lane once more before leaving, and look down to the harbour and headland at Terenez and across the bay for perhaps the last time this year.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Down the road, evening

You really can't beat Hopkins' 'dappled with damson west' for the clouds at sunset on days like this, when they seem like a bloom on the skin of the sky.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Up the road, afternoon

A wheatear, bold white rump and black tail tip, bobs onto a nearby fence, then to an overhead wire, then a tree, watching me.  Charming, not least because of its name.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Down the road, morning / Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

1. Every curl on the young bullock's sidelong face stands out in the dewy morning light.

2.  A single pale dog violet, strange and unseasonable, flowers next to fallen yellow poplar leaf.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Down the road, evening.

Things are done that can't be undone and I'll see you no more, yet clouds flock to the west, swallows call and the sun bursts, and joy won't be denied.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Approach to Bogard, morning.

Looking across the Arcadian pools and pasture to the chateau, with its Enlightenment gables and wings and pediments, and seeing a yellow van of La Poste rolling past it at speed.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

This arboretum specialises in different oaks - the etymology of 'Quessoy' is related to an old word for 'oak'.  A saw-tooth leafed (?) species recalls how closely they are related to sweet chestnuts.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

The Russian woman's house door is open, and some shoes and a small, deep blue glass vase stand on the step.  But she herself is still not to be seen.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

Amongst the samey overcooked foliage of the season and the river's low-running sludginess, a bed of hydrangeas, blues and whites, and purple heathers flowering makes a welcome splash of colour.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Victor's dahlias are in full swing in the patch in front of his concrete breeze wall.  Some of them are perfectly balanced bicolours, like stylised red and white cauliflowers.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Up the road, morning.

At this time, you can walk into pools of shadow which are virgin shade, not yet touched by the sun.  They have a deeper, cooler, more intense feel to them.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Down the road, evening.

The bird pivoting and bobbing over the wheatfield is too light and agile for a buzzard.  Sure enough, I catch the white ring-tail of a female hen-harrier, an infrequent sight.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Down the road, afternoon.

Pierre Poisson drives his old orange tractor across the levelled dusty field.  In the shovel behind it are three of his grandchildren, Sarah, Sebastian and Quentin, in green cut-down overalls.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Hill above Hénon, evening.

The faraway sea and cloudbank are broad bands of Persian blue, but between is a rose sky, with engraved towers of cloud, tiny with distance, more luminous than the fields.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

The sandy path wavers almost unbearably with heat and light, the sun rebounding pitilessly from its glassy surface.  We shade-hop, glad to take the cooler tree-lined grassy route at last.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

The last field of wheat is still to be cut, brown and dry and tired, the bristled heads bending over on themselves, as if asking for the relief of harvest.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Down the road, evening.

Swifts, up from the town, flying high above the swallows.  We only really see them out here at the beginning and end of their season, ranging and feeding, getting ready.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Pinky-brown dead leaves from Brochain's eucalyptus tree have fallen into the patches of soft tar on the road.  They flatten and meld and crack, and look like some decorative effect.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Down the road, afternoon.

Swallows are whirling and sweeping effortlessly in and out around the giant bales of straw and over the field of barley stubble as if it were a prickly gold sea.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Down the road, evening, just before the rain.

Only the heron flying between hills and cloudbank is enough for the drama of  soot-grey, sulphurous sky and land, and cylinders of straw, solemn as menhirs in the stubbled fields.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Woods above Arondel, walking Moos with Mol.

It's cooler in the clump of fir trees, and in the pebble-shaped shadows under the beech and holly.  A flash of scarlet reveals the berries of a single wild arum.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Up the road, morning.

The  recent winds have blown down many of the mirabel plums. but many remain unripened on the trees, which means we might be able to come picking them later with visitors.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Up the road, evening.

Clouds whipped and piled like ice-cream on a cold metal counter, taken to the seaside on a chill south wind.  And I ask you, what am I doing wearing shorts?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Down the road, afternoon.

A red admiral, some gatekeepers, a peacock, a male and female brimstone, she prettier, paler and greener than he is, a tortoiseshell, all bright and slow, hatched from the rain.

Down the road, evening (Saturday).

A green combine, its planes and surfaces flashing greyly as it turns through a halo of dust, a rust-red tractor, the field hatched and corrugated, they are cutting the barley.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Water mill, Guettes-es-Lievres, morning.

In the softly flickering limelight of woods and running river, the damselflies are flashes of startling luminescence: electric blue, emerald green and bright copper, dancing over the water like willow-the-wisps.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

It feels like later in the summer than it is, with dry brown grasses, purple knapweed and yellow ragwort, the water lilies finished and the rugosa roses turning into hips already.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Down the road, afternoon.

The small hayfield is cut, fragrant as ambrosia.  Only find a plump pile and lie in it, listen to Mol bustling, try and fail to imagine another way to be.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

As we come down, bramble and hydrangea leaves start to mutter, and approaching the pool, it is circled and drummed dramatically by raindrops, as if the water itself is thirsty.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Down the road, evening.

The buzzard drops from the flowering chestnut tree and drifts across the barleyfield.  The crow catches up on a sharp black horizontal, rams it from behind before the next tree.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Down the road, evening.

Late, and the lopsided chestnut's long shadow waves like a giant over the wheatfield, the road is cool for Molly's comfort, and the day's matters move easily over the mind.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Down the road, early evening.

Some oats have got in with the seed barley.  A few stems grow twice its height, delicate, green, feathery,  like sons and daughters who favour another side of the family.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, morning.

There are many very large, blue and green dragonflies, copperwire winged, wheeling, skimming and hooping to lay eggs in the water.

In the bushes, a rabbit thumps as we pass.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Down the road, evening.

The heart is slightly less heavy now, though perhaps the relief is illusory, or temporary.  People must be walking around with such crushing weights inside them all the time.  How?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

The river has grown low and sluggish; the light through the overhanging trees reflects on its surface in patches of rust and milk, a tidemark of scum makes contours lines.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon

Pointless trying to identify baby birds' calls, they are all identical: an insistent 'pseee'.  This is a wagtail, flittering about the grass, not flying off until we are quite close.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon

I suddenly become aware that the path is covered in thousands of tiny brown froglets making their way from the water.  I hope I haven't inadvertently trodden on any already.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Down the road, afternoon.

The barley looks like it needs the hairdresser: its topmost fringes are bleached and brassy highlights, and stray strands of wheat and rough grass stand out longer than the rest.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Down the road, early evening.

There is a strange whitish glow everywhere, everything softened, waiting, murmuring slightly. A chill has descended, a change in wind and weather. 

A splash of red campion against the blue-green.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Down the road, early evening.

A mustard-coloured motorbike, low-slung, with gleaming chrome and a quiet engine, and its rider with flying black leather fringes and flames on his helmet, are an unusual sight hereabouts.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

The poplars are shedding great ticklish drifts of kapok, and also small round tripartite seedpods which burst when squeezed, so the kapok unpacks itself, expanding like foam from an aerosol.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

The mirabelles will be plentiful this year.  They hang unripe on the trees in clusters like tiny bright green eggs; some are even falling already in an early June drop.

Down the road, evening (Sunday).

The hogweed stands out like Elizabethan embroidery couched against the plushy velvet of the barley.

It's cool enough to be glad to turn back, thinking about chicken soup and dumplings.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour, afternoon.

On the darkest part of the track, the hawthorns overhead have dropped millions of tiny round petals, so the black ground is covered in a pointillist array of white dots.

Up the road, afternoon (Friday).

The barley is green-gold silk, the wheat almost the blue-green of leeks, like Caesar's chariot team were said to wear.

But I want to drink Marcel's wine-red peonies.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Down the road, early evening.

Smells of tarmac moistened after rain, and of new-mown-hay of the cut verges.  I sit cross-legged in the road playing with the tiny turned oak spinning top from my pocket.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Up the road, morning.

Already the road is hot, but there are pools of shade to cool us.  Was there a moment before when I stood in this familiar ash tree's finely cross-hatched shadow?

Down the road, evening. (Why not, I've neglected it long enough?)

The solitary small orange and brown butterfly wanders along, then settles on the verge among the grass blades and buttercups. It takes off again as my shadow falls on it.

Down the road, early evening.

The countryside has turned furry: plush heads of barley and also the seeds of willow, which have been filling the air with lint for days, tickling our eyes and noses.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Down the road, early evening.

The red buds of the sorrel are emerging; I associate them with mild and sunny days, a chalky pink haze against the bright greens of the late spring grass and verges.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

Violets, purple vetch, red clover, stitchwort, woodspurge, speedwell and alkanet,  primroses still,.  We walk as far as the fishing pool and sit on the low stone parapet of the bridge.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

There is an algal growth which I have not seen here before, ominous of nitrate pollution.  The unseasonable cold wind has blown it into a corner, a spongy, wrinkled green mass.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Despite the poplars glowing coppery gold in the sun, the bright green grass and wheat, the dandelions turning to clocks, it is cold; I almost wish I were wearing gloves.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Lamballe, round the lake, with Iso and Princeling.

Momentarily, I'm back twenty years, and the one who runs and clambers and chuckles ahead, frowns and smiles at me from brown-gold eyes under forward-falling hair, is my sister's lad.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Hill above Hénon, afternoon.

The spring wheat, whose tramlines we walk down, is one green, the horizontal haze of new beech another, the leaflets emerging from the dark strokes of the chestnuts another still.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

A largish adder suns itself on the path, until becoming aware I'm watching it and making off  into the marshy grass.

Despite this, we lie happily under the flowering crabtree.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Here and there in the verges there is a bright yellow buttercup standing out among the crowds of stitchwort, like a glossy fried egg yoke standing out from the white.    

Monday, 26 April 2010

No. 501 - Up the road early evening.

[ I just noticed that before this recent pause in activity here, I had reached 500 posts.  I have appreciated the combination of discipline and indulgence which this blog has offered me, and with the change of season and renewed resolve, I'll try to write here more regularly now.]


Ash and oak, splash or soak, seem to be about neck and neck here, so who knows what we'll get?  The leaves everywhere are catching rapid fire, a greening blaze.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Spring is put on hold.  Everywhere is covered in a cold white layer of cloud, and the wind is chill.  Yet the dandelions are bursting yellow suns in the fields.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Down the road, late afternoon.

For the first time this year, sandals, rather over-optimistic.  As the muckspreading tractor passes, we step onto the verge, and I receive my first nettle sting of the year too.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Up the road, afternoon

The swallows have been here for a week or so, but silently, feeding and restoring their strength.  Today they are singing, coming together in flittering displays as they swoop upward.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Water mill, Guettes-es-Lievres, morning.

The daffodils stretch up and out of sight.  With the light behind them, they glow like yellow stars, I feel as if we are walking through galaxies of them.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

It is the translucency of spring blossoms, the prayer flags of magnolia and the silver and gold luminescence of willow catkins, as they dance and spar with wind and light...

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

The brambles never quite lose their leaves, so that the springing bright green new shoots stand out over last year's bottle brown and purple ones, leathery and mined by insects.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

That's the cold hard southerly wind we sometimes get at this time of year, blowing in flashes of sun and splashes of rain, and rippling the surface of the puddles.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

The Limousin bull and his cows are suddenly frisky, high-tailing around the field, butting and rubbing necks and foreheads.  There seems no violence and little sex involved, just high spirits.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

Swallows, wheeling over the water, accompanied by sand martins.  I don't remember that they've made me cry before.  I understand that somewhere I doubted, this time, they'd still come back.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Up the road, and right, past the water tower, morning.

It's an unlovely route in many ways, agricultural dereliction, but its unfamiliarity renders it  interesting, and we get to talk to the donkey, who is skittish and wary of us.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

The bare, still wintry stems of the dogwood are one yellow, like sulphur, faded, matt and greenish, while the daffodils and the pompoms of witchhazel are another, new and glowing.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Quessoy arboretum, afternoon.

To watch the water flowing towards the bridge makes you feel crowded and pressured, on the other side, watching it flow away, brings release and lightness. Try it and see!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Lamballe, round the lake.

Alders and grebes, a goose with a tangerine bill watches and is watched by a toddler with breadcrumbs.  Oh the pretty springtime, how glad we all are to be out!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour, morning.

The birds are busy in the leafless trees, so I can easily see the hammer-drilling spotted woodpecker, and the rowdy gang of jays who bound about with their crests raised.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

In red overalls, Ludovic is pruning the prunus.  Victor has trimmed the gorse hedge, leaving a few sprays of yellow flowers.  Antoines crocuses make brave violet, mauve and gold stripes.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

A single primrose opens reluctant and pale in the bank, looking huddled and miserable.  The daffodils outside Brochain's are flowering at last; other years they can be out before February.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

A whole grey-brown hydrangea head is blown and bounced down the Brochain's garden path.  It puts one in mind of a tumbleweed, or a whelk's empty egg-case on the beach.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Up the road, morning. But she's mine and I love her.

The young cocker, white coat tasselled with black and ears black-fringed, is exquisitely named Ermine.  Delicately angular, deep muzzled and feathery, she makes Mol look round and dishevelled and small-headed.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Down the road, evening.

The lower the sun goes down below the horizon behind us, the higher is the coloured band across the top of the hills in front where its light still reaches.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

It really is a skylark, full song.  Trying to see it makes me sneeze; I'm sure when I was younger I could always find them, but now focussing is impossible.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

The roads have become river beds, and getting up the hill in the wind is hard work in the wind.

On the homeward stretch, a patch of blue sky clears.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Down the road, late afternoon.

Two ends of the rainbow, broken pillars, bright to north and south.  Between, a tapering swathe of black cloud, which throws a brief and petulant shower of hail onto us.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

The iron gate, flaked painted white and algal greenish, with rosetted medallions, is wedged shut with a flat stone.  Sliding my arm between the bars, I replace it behind me.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Jardins du Thabor, Rennes.

Amorous lovers romp on the 'authorised lawn'; park-keepers berate us for walking on an unauthorised one. 

A cheerful dreadlocked man appears with a troop of footballing children; the lovers desist.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, early evening.

The church clock strikes six; it is bright twilight, reflecting stilly on the face of the water.  Four mallards rest there unwontedly long, then take off towards the lower ponds.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Marcelle and Helene, sisters in their eighties, tease me in patois and we grumble about the cold, and how we miss the sun and light. 

So grey, what's to say?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Trédaniel plan d'eau, afternoon

There are many yellow hazel catkins, the only signs of spring save for unfurling foxglove leaves.  On one bush, a single dry brown nut from last autumn remains alongside them.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Down the road, early evening.

After an afternoon with friends of film watching, tea, rock cakes and cheerful chatter, it's good to stretch our legs, and take in the liquid, low sunshine flooding the world.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Up the road, afternoon (Tuesday).

The day is biting cold and grey, so the sun surprises me: a white, palely tinted disc, with a patina of moving cloud, hanging over the pines on the hilltop.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Down the road, evening.

The lapwings stir and rise from the field, as always in company with a white gull or two.  I'm sorry to disturb them, but love seeing their twinkling monochrome flight.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Down the road, late afternoon.

Mildness and murk, and just as far as the corner of our field.  Mol shakes her head in the damp air, and I insist she stays out of the mud.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Pledran, Porridge's woods.

We enjoy a mild, bright, misty day, but our walk is not as it should be.  Where is Porridge?  Muddy and sheepish, she is waiting for us when we return.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Up the road, morning (Sunday)

Released from the Snow Queen's thrall, lapwings glean again in the fields, mistle thrushes whistle their clear, simple tunes, skylarks sing - full song, not fragments - starlings pretend to be blackbirds.  

Approach to Bogard, morning (Saturday).

The pool opposite the chateau is enlarged with meltwater to a lake, and is criss-crossed by many ducks.  I rather wish they were white swans, but they look fine anyway.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Up the road, morning (Wednesday).

Victor and his elderly nephew are attacking the road ice with a pickaxe, old Helene watching.  The are not very systematic or achieving much, but seem to be enjoying themselves.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Down the road, afternoon.

Snow on the road hard as tarmac, thickness unknown, we walk the centre and edges.  Colour, balm and life are all in the copper-cobalt-lavender sky, the topmost twigs of trees.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Up the road, afternoon.

Down at the corner, the wind has lifted the snow into tiny peaks and ruffles.  A single maize stump pokes from a bank of it, dark and odd and eye-catching.

Up the road, morning.

The snow takes us into the past, very few, slow cars and quiet, the road becomes a lane once more, and Molly comes off her her lead and wanders freely.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Up the road, afternoon

Sliding on the packed road snow, small footprints to Marcelle's gate, a boy on a quad bike, Guy and Monique walking jauntily, a pink anvil cloud over Bel Air.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Down the road, early evening.

Evening will be clear and perishingly cold; the sun fiery through the cross-hatching of leafless trees, and the shadows long.  My windscreen has a sheet over it when we return.

Up the road, morning.

I never could resist thin ice on puddles; spoiling it with a crack, pressing down till a small geyser of muddy water spurts up through, then the inevitable wet foot.