Posted by: kathandroger | December 9, 2018

Trespassing, Tracks, and Telethon.

We live right out in the sticks. I am not sure where that expression comes from, but it applies to us in the depths of the French countryside. Not that civilization is far away; the nearest town is only ten minutes, but we feel ensconced in rurality. And wandering the local tracks with the dog is one of our great pleasures. The problem is that some areas, although completely devoid of humans, seem to prohibit entry with lots of signs and warnings. What to do? Well I reckon that if I am doing no harm, and the dog is doing no harm, and nobody knows we are there, then I will do as the French do and ignore stupid rules! So last week we had a lovely wander around a local private lake.IMG_0207 It belongs to a factory in a nearby town and is used as a leisure area in the summer, but in winter nobody is around…except me and the dog. I do feel a bit nervous about trespassing sometimes, and a few weeks ago a large pike decided to jump out of the water very close to us. I jumped almost as high as the fish!
The paths have become very soft recently, after the much needed rain of the past few weeks. Apart from mud on the dog and on the owner, it means the animal tracks are much easier to see. There are lots of Sanglier (wild boar)around, and I found these prints very close to home.IMG_0214 They are big, deep, and show the little spikes behind the main imprint. The only other animal could be the large red deer we have about, but the prints were too close together to be anything other than the pig. And a few metres away his digging in the field could be clearly seen.
Yesterday was the Sanglier hunt in the woods next to out house. About 40 hunters and loads of dogs, all wandering about and shouting and blowing horns, the hunters were on the horns, not the dogs. Kath was out with Polly, and saw an obviously wounded sanglier being chased by several baying hounds and several shouting hunters. I hope it was dispatched quickly. The numbers of wild boar are apparently increasing, and some control must be used, but I am sure there are more efficient methods of extermination. I went out to meet Kath in the village, and was greeted outside our door by a hound in our garden! How he got in I have no idea, as the walls are high and there were no gates open. He was a very friendly chap, however, and gave me a good licking before I let him out to find his mates.
The other change with the rain and the mild weather has been the eruption of fungi everywhere. It seems that over the past couple of days all the different mushrooms have decided to show themselves, and I bet the gatherers are everywhere.IMG_0216 They better be careful of the boar hunters!
I met Kath and the dog at our local village hall to drink a “vin chaud” (hot, spiced red wine) and watch the local parade of old motorbikes and tractors for the annual “Telethon” appeal. This charity raises money for research into rare childhood illnesses, and each year produces huge amounts of cash. We had seen it all last year, but it was good to be with the local mayors and villagers and for me to talk to a chap who has renovated an old Mobylette moped, exactly the same model that I have in the workshop waiting for some tender care. But for me the most interesting exhibit was this chap on his old puffing tractor.IMG_1892 They say that dog owners come to look like their dogs. I didn’t know that tractor owners look like their tractors. The vehicle was large, slow and rumbling, and the lovely owner looked exactly the same!

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