Tuesday, November 24, 2015
The rate of change in landscape can be as rapid as a fallen building, or as gradual as the creeping threat of floods with climate change, but we like to feel it remote in our immediate surroundings, at the millenia speed of eroding granite.We have been startled in Brittany to discover last week that the state is to sell off some of our forests, those symbols of life before human settlement, of the longevity that spawns legends. Forests that were once noisy places of human abode and economic activity are now mostly silent and dressed in recreational attire of finger-posts and picnic tables. Is this an identity to be perpetuated for the sake of our need to believe nature is all around us and that we are still alive in some meaningful way? Do we need forests? Of course we do. I clung to my land this week with gratitude.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
|Currently writing about this ancient bridge - Pont Krac'h|
Turning my attention (at last) to the new landscape book, I finally realised the degree of concentration it is going to need and a huge investment of time. So I made the big decision to finish with Brittany Walks, after 11 years of offering a monthly (until recently twice monthly!) programme of guided walks. I'm sure it's the right thing at the right time, but it represents a great change in my working schedule, and I'll miss the many lovely people who have supported the walks, some of them since the very beginning.
I am also coming to the end of the walking for the new Finistère walking guide which will be out next spring. Of course there remains masses of work to do on the background information, maps and page lay-out, but psychologically finishing the field work feels as if the project is almost over in terms of mental (and very physical) commitment. My mind will soon be much clearer and able to focus on the landscape essays. Whether this new book will be only in French is a big decision to be made over the winter. It will rather depend on publishers in the end and whether separate editions in the UK and France is really a viable option. I almost feel that there are two different books there. This long winter will tell.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
|Chateau de Dinan|
Thursday, October 22, 2015
So today I was on Cap Sizun, revisiting some favourite sections of the coastal path and enjoying the mild sea air, softened by occasional misty rain drifting across the high cliffs, as below at Kastell Koz.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Each day he walked the boundary of this area, an action commemorated today in the annual Tromenie walk (extended to the full 12km every six years). The chapel of Penity attached to his imposing church in the village centre has the saint's tomb. Locronan sits between the Bois du Duc and the Bois du Nevet, remnants of ancient forest. Anyone following the walk (to feature in my new book) will have the sense of the numinous landscape that is the source of these legends and religious affiliations.
But the other more obvious face of the village, which has brought many film-crews (including Roman Polanski who filmed some scenes for Tess of the d'Urbervilles here) and attracts hordes of tourists throughout the year, is made up of handsome 17-18th century façades around the centre square before the church. Remarkably unspoilt, these reflect the wealth derived from sail-cloth making in the heyday of the Breton cloth trade.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Saturday, October 10, 2015
|High moor by Jill Jamieson|