I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

L'Escapade

Since Le Grand Lemps I'd been walking along the northern slope of a wide and fertile, flat-bottomed valley... 


Characteristic of this area was the unusual and attractive nature of its building materials...


You would find examples of this herringbone-patterned stonework everywhere: on walls and on drinking fountains...


... on lavoirs...


... and on churches...



I left the ridge...


... and crossed a flat plain of cereal crops. Here a farmer is turning hay...


... at the edge of a field of harvested maize...


The lane-sides were full of teasel, scabious, centaury and marjoram. Purple-flowering mint crowded the stream-sides. Hedges were heavy with fat, black sloes and other berries, but the blackberries were shrivelled or had been eaten. I passed a fig tree. I admired the tightened cups of the wild carrot's seed heads (I think wild carrot is known as Queen Anne's lace in the US). Chestnuts and acorns rolled under my feet. A rabbit lolloped into the undergrowth.

I rested for a while on a bench near a pond in the village of Faramans. Then, at Pommier-de-Beaurepair, climbed a wooded ridge which took me to Revel-Tourdan, where I spent the night at an auberge called 'L'Escapade' (faire une escapade - 'to run away on an exciting, perhaps risky, adventure...')

6 comments:

Ruth said...

I always find your litany of vegetation poetic and alluring. In fact I think I'm addicted to it. You can go on and on as a naturalist ad infinitum as far as I'm concerned.

The herringbone stonework is intriguing. I wonder how it began there in particular.

I like those closed cupped heads of Queen Anne's Lace, too. I keep an eye on them all winter, when they receive snow into their little wells and become sparkly with ice crystals.

It's the season now for roasted chestnuts. I understand some are edible, and some not. I wonder how one tells the difference.

Did you take notes on your faire une escapade? Between you and Fermor, I don't know how else you'd remember so many details (and he after 45 years!).

George said...

Great photos again, Robert. With each new set of photos on the Geneva-Le Puy camino, I ask myself whether I would rather be walking in the lush green countryside of France or the barren Meseta of Spain. Eventually, of course, I must do both.

"Faire une escapade." Absolument! Toujours! Pour moi, ces escapades son nécessaires pour une bonne vie.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Why does it sound so much more exciting in French than it does in English I wonder.

Can I come with you next time?

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Ruth. You are so kind about my modest blog. As for chestnuts, leave the horse chestnuts to the squirrels, even to the grey American ones, but gather then roast the sweet chestnuts, or simply boil them in water. They are delicious. I keep a diary on my trips - when I remember - but I'm sure I don't notice or forget many details. I'm a generalist, a dilettante, perhaps knowing a little about a lot, and nothing about very much. But I do like to observe, and I do own a great collection of naturalists' identification guides!

George, just loved the way my 'escapade' provoked a response in French from you! Excellent, mon ami...

Pat (Weaver) - you can, bien sûr. With your help I'd be able to identify all the wild flowers, farm crops and livestock!

Friko said...

and the adventure continues apace....
Peaceful and picturesque France, a country made for walking and contemplating.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, Friko ... indeed.