Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A walk in the forest concentrates the mind on the changing season and the sounds becoming more evident as fresh energies stir. The shallow rasp of my dog's breath contrasts with the slow, gentle in- and exhalations of the wind, and falling sap dries the rustle of browning leaves and brittle ferns. The post-deluge urgent clamour of water is now hushed to gossipy eddies along the rocky stream beds. Many of the footpaths are sporting wiggly stripes where their topcoat has been stripped by temporary torrents forcing their way downhill.
It's been a wonderful day, and best of all, I can actually see it. After nearly eight months of living in a blurred world, my vision is clear and balance restored, so I am well in tune with this equinox...
Saturday, September 20, 2014
|Old slab bridge on the Queffleuth|
The water-quality of the Queffleuth is high, making it a habitat for otters, trout and salmon, just as it once made the river good for paper-production and the site of many mills. The most interesting feature on the circuit is perhaps the irrigation system once used to keep the Prat ar Gaor (Goats' meadow) well-watered even in times of drought. A mini-barrage and valve system were constructed to feed a bief - a supply channel similar on a smaller scale to the bief de partage of the Nantes-Brest Canal - cut straight to enclose the land and connect the two ends of a wide bend in the main river course. From this trenches were cut across the meadow in the 'fish-bone style' with a central spine and many off-shoots, taking moisture to almost all parts of the pasture land. This skeleton outline is still just visible on the ground.
Apart from historical and natural interest, it's a pretty route, well worth a gentle afternoon stroll. Park in the lay-by just off the D769 at Le Pléen (turning to Pleyber-Christ) and follow well-placed and (for once) consistent green waymarks.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Friday, September 05, 2014
For the moment, I'm working on his later time in England and the almost laughable contrast between the first stay during the Revolution, when he was - literally- a writer starving in a garret in Holborn, and his return in 1822 as French ambassador to the glittering parties and empty social whirl of the Portland Place embassy. This contrast in fortunes is a typical example of the ups and downs of a remarkable individual in a tumultuous era. Despite direct participation in France's most turbulent period of history, something in Chateaubriand's own nature, set hard by the stones of Combourg, seemed to keep him emotionally strolling on the bank rather than plunged in the river of events.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Far fewer cars with foreign or out-of-department number-plates about, shops back to lunch-time closure, restaurant hours soon to be curtailed - it's time to get back to work. What a relief!