Tuesday, July 16, 2019

June: hot enough to wash a bear; birds fail to eat all the cherries

June was a wonderful month, even allowing for the excessive heat. In fact it was hot enough to wash Gregory Bear, much loved successor to Artur van Gelderen.  now in the Bethnal Green childhood museum - somewhere.  And, gosh, was Gregory dirty!

Gregory sunbathing himself dry

  For the first time ever in the near half century * we have been at La Chaise we had more cherries than there were birds, or small children, to eat them. Adults gathered in quantity but never had the time to conserve or preserve.  It is much easier to eat them than to stone them..

These are the cultivated cherries just ripening in early June

  The cultivated cherry trees also had more than enough at a low level for even the stickiest small person.  The wild cherry trees, merisier, in French out did themselves.  They are tall trees, most cherries beyond ground tied adults, or even adults on ladders.   They taste quite different to the cultivated kind, slightly more acid, a little less flesh and a smaller pip.  Locally, those who can manage to pluck sufficient, just bottle them in alcohol.

Merisier wood is prized by ebenistes for use as an inlay - given the narrowness of their trunks there is little enough around. The drive down to the gites is now covered in dried cherries

A wild cherry tree bearing a very full load

And talking of carpenters we cannot close our June diary without mentioning Miguel, Tempest Miguel, an early arrival.  Miguel managed to destroy one of the defining images of  La Chaise:  the twin oaks at the head of the ravine.   (Our own private wild life reserve)

Sadly I do not have a picture of the twin oaks upright - but I remember the day young James Brown, an acrobatic tree surgeon, to slightly mistranslate the French, shinned up one oak, tied an 'elastic' band round it, crossed to its  twin, thus holding them together.  Some quarter of a century later, Miguel struck.

Divided, they fell.

*actually about 10 years short of half a century..