Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn in the Seoune Valley

There's something rather magical and mystical about this time of year in our valley. The two little rivers at the bottom of the hill, coupled with the abudance of lakes, means that the valley is often shrouded in an early morning mist when I take DS and DD to catch the school bus.

On the plateau you can see for miles and miles and the chateaux and fortified villages hang above the mist like little islands.

Down below is a monochrome landscape of greys, blacks and blues and as the sun burns off the mist it's as if an unseen hand is slowly filling in the colours.

I go to the village shop for my morning croissant, often arriving before the boulanger's van, so I catch up the village gossip with Gilles and Sandrine who own the shop until the white van pulls up and we are hit by the glorious smell of fresh baked baguettes.

We're having the most glorious Indian Summer here in France. Day after day of cloudless skies, temperatures in the mid 20s with a gentle breeze, chilly nights drinking hot chocolate on the terrace and watching the stars. You can see the Milky Way here and there's nothing better than lying on your back watching the millions and millions of stars. I'd never seen a shooting star till we came here but now, on a clear night, if you watch carefully you might see half a dozen. I've wished on so many of them but so far that Euromillions win has remained illusive! No seriously, I always wish for world peace!

The trees are all putting on their autumn colours and the woods are a riot of reds, lime greens, brown and oranges. The plane trees that line the road, with their exzemaic trunks, turn the most glorious colours in October.

Our little departement, created by Napoleon himself, is without doubt, the most lovely in France. I've travelled all over and found nothing to rival the beauty of the undulating hills, ancient oak forests and lake filled valleys. Sometimes I stop on the hill down from the village just to take in the view. It's truly uplifting. Many times I've tried to capture it's beauty on film but it's just too big and too wonderful to do justice to it.

It always amazes me that so few people have even heard of it but on the other hand, it means that in the summer we arevnever overrun with tourists like the Dordogne and the Charente. It's known by the discerning few who return year after year and our little village café with a reputation that spans continents, is bursting at the seams with a multitude of different nationalities all chatting away in a maelstrom of languages, sipping chilled rosé or thick, dark coffee.

In the fields, the farmer are busy, working late into the night harvesting the maize while the droopy-headed sunflowers finally give up their seeds. Then it's clearing and ploughing ready for the spring sowing when once again the fields will be filled with yellow rape, golden corn and a multitude of sunflowers.

Wherever we end up, our house and our little valley will have left an indelible mark on my heart and the last time we drive down the hill, past the pond and the gurgling waterfall, past the buzzards who regularly fly down with us, past the deer grazing in the fields, will be bitter-sweet.


manu said...

thats quite a wonderfully expressed sentiment VLiF. I just spent an amazing weekend riding through some parts of your area.. and yeah.. cannot possibly put all that into a picture!

.. for all my whining about the French bureaucracy I think the country makes up for it just by being so stupefyingly beautiful at times :)

(Very) Lost in France said...

Manu - What, and you didn't pop in for a cuppa? VLiF

manu said...

VLiF, I am not sure my motley crew of rowdy motorbikers would have quite fit in with the local scenery :-D .. but there is still a lot of riding weather left! so maybe next time..

(Very) Lost in France said...

Manu, that would have done wonders for my street cred. Just imagine the gossip! VLiF

manu said...

VLiF would you have tea for about 1000+ sad motorbikers?

I think the orange of Autumn this year, will fall a little darker in Toulouse...

(Very) Lost in France said...

Hi Manu - how absolutely awful but what a wonderful tribute to a fellow biker. I'd have gladly made you all a nice cuppa. I read the report in La Depeche and it's obviously not an isolated incident. VLiF