Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Great Tree Question

The Great Tree Question in these highly  climate wise, sensitive, media highlighted days resolves itself into:   To Cut - or Not To Cut? 

At La Chaise we are surrounded by some 18 hectares of mixed woodland of which only five are cultivated, cleared and cossetted firs. These five also host a wild boar motel with mud bath and regular supplies of maize.  The rest get on as best they can, dying, losing branches, succumbing to rot,blight and wild weather.

This is what happened to twin millenial oaks after typhoon 'Miguel' passed through in June this year.

The most recent, most impressive woodland disaster in the Dordogne was at the turn of the millenium.   One of our greatest and probably oldes oaks was felled - but tactfully fell onto a path rather than a roof.  Its stump was more than two metres in diameter.

Now we are looking to cut the older oaks again but are very aware than many people may disapprove.
But to be realistic, a two hundred year old oak has a head that stunts the growth of any saplings, from its own acorns or  those of other species.  All of us, human, animal must make way for the young.
And sometimes the young are nurtured by the very old.

Youth being nurtured by an ancestor.

And as the small ones grow, the old left standing continue to breathe.   As the sun sets slowly in the west and the wind drops, wisps of vapour, the breath of the trees, is visible on the skyline across our valley.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A sentimental road journey - la nostalgie

Driving back from Merignac airport one darkish evening I was rather tired and cross - anyone would be who had just fought their way through Gatwick South to a plane. Fortunately the rocade is not the bumper to bump jam in the evenings as it is in the daytime.   So I was gradually soothed, avoided taking the turn off to Toulouse and headed dutifully towards Bordeaux Centre. 

Once over the dreaded Pont d'Aquitaine*, I remembered I had to take the second right turn, try to squeeze in between lorries thundering down on my right in order to join the rocade.  I had to be in the very rightmost lane in order to get off the rocade to get onto the A 89 to Libourne and Lyons. We were still on the free part of this motorway.

 Then the  blue signs for the peage loomed up I took a wrong turning on the A89 and headed for Libourne Centre.    This takes one off the motorway to  as I quickly discovered.  So I drove home, which is near Perigueux, from signboard to signboard, starting towards St Medard de Guizieres which I knew was somewhere near.  We spent a couple of hours wandering through villages and vinyards north of Bergerac and eventually found a link to Perigueux.

* I dreaded it from its inception. Then it was a a steepish four lane bridge, slung on metal strings between four metal towers.   The formal speed limit was 70 km/ph.   Now it is a six lane bridge with no immediately visible change to the untutored eye. It just got wider.  The speed limit is still 70km/ph.