France under Fire!
15th August 2018
Brie sous Archiac, France
Brie-sous-Archiac is a commune with a population 241, last time anyone counted, in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwestern France
A pretty decent night at St Fort sur le Ne but a couple of niggles if I was being picky. A noisy, rackety light (training?) aircraft spent a good long session doing bumps and turns low over the town just as it was getting dark at 9.30pm and the hitherto very quiet main road that we were parked up within earshot of became particularly active for a time at about 1am. Revellers, today being a holiday, returning home perhaps?
The nearby citizens of the town seemed to awake rather early with several cars starting up and driving away from various houses at about 5.30am this morning - we were up by then so no problem, just a surprise. The local early risers seemed to excite a pack of (I can only assume) kennelled dogs somewhere in the near distance who then kept up a continuous cacophony of discordant barking that was still going strong when we packed up and left at about 8am.
But all that’s only if I’m being picky as it was otherwise a perfect location and overall we got an excellent nights rest there. Cool at dawn with a heavy dew meant wet boots at the end of a jolly decent walk through majestic boulevards of high Poplars which lined the banks and meadows of the river Ne.
A short drive down the arrow straight D731 - my assumption is the Romans got about a good bit in this part of the world - to Archiac where a Carrefour Contact was just opening. I avoid, if possible, large Carrefour stores as they are way too big for my comfort and tend to be very pricey but the little carrefour Contacts that appear in small towns are really rather good. Everything you want in a compact store and, unless its my imagination, they are noticeably cheaper than their big brother variant.
So, fresh bread and meat today, which I wasn't at all sure would be possible to achieve but it seems France these days closes down less and less on it’s public holidays preferring to see them as a day of commercial opportunity to relieve folk of their dosh - more inline with their protestant neighbours to the north and east!
The little Carrefour also had an outdoor launderette so on a mad impulse I put my bedding through a wash and dry cycle. What unbridled luxury, clean sheets tonight!
South from Archiac on a minor D road towards saint Ciers Champagne through yet more very beautiful and extensive vine growing country. We quickly spotted a decent bit of forest from the main road and headed towards it to find at it’s entrance a sign declaring no four wheel drive vehicle from 01 Oct to 31 March from which information I took to mean that we were OK to drive along it today!
It’s blissfully peaceful here within the forest in the dappled shade and so far just one white van has passed by which didn’t seem to show any noticeable interest in us.
GPS coordinates for today:
Latitude : 45.48169 (45° 28′ 54.07″ N)
Longitude : -0.29805 (0° 17′ 52.99″ W)
accuracy of signal : 9 m
We had a walkabout on arrival and it is all stunningly beautiful hereabouts but, yet again, an obviously very active place in the hunting season - which may, in this part of the world, can start as early as the middle of next month I was shocked to recently learn!
I’m guessing all this solitude we're currently enjoying is going to change early next month. The holidays will over with the kids back at school and folk back in their homes and places of employment. The grape harvest will begin and the harvesting of maize and sunflower will commence. Most significantly though, the hunters will be out in force making every rural part of France where you don’t have a clear line of sight for some considerable distance a potential war zone.
If not employed grape picking, or have work in prospect, by then I’m currently thinking that will be the time to head back to the coast which will be much quieter without the young families on holiday there and hunters tend not to discharge their guns on the actual beaches!
This hunting business is a real problem in Europe in general and France in particular where it’s undertaken with such zeal by so many people. Personally, I can see no justification to hunt any wild animal, by any means, in any part of the world at this stage of the 21st century. All wildlife, globally, is under threat of extinction from farming, urbanisation, industrialisation and pollution without the need for us to go out and shoot what little remains with rifles and shotguns purely to satisfy our baser instincts.
If you shoot a rabbit, take it home skin it, gut it, cook it and subsequently eat it then that’s one thing but how many of today’s hunters shoot for the pot? Very few, if any. In this day and age people buy their daily food at a supermarket and judging by the number of old white small Citroen vans routinely to be seen in their carparks - a means of transport much favoured by those Frenchmen who like to go out into the woods to shoot wild animals - that includes hunters!
I don’t envy future generations their environmental inheritance but, then again, they do say that what you've never had you don’t miss so perhaps they’ll be happy regardless?
All ten billion plus of them jostling each other for a bit of space!
Champagne Charlie! A charmed life