Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sunlight, and a pale blue sky ...

So the phone rang today and, as one will - on occasion - I answered it, and some young woman marketing droid claiming to be from a travel agency congratulated me on having won a free, gratis, and totally for-nothing holiday!
Sadly, I am old enough to no longer believe in these things, and for a short while I toyed with the idea of disappearing down the phone line at the speed of a wave-form in copper, only to emerge in some call centre where I'd gift everyone present a virulent case of hookworm maggots ... but the prospect of seeing them reduced to bones within minutes was not enough to compensate for the realisation that I'd surely bump my head going through the copper/fibre-optic couplers, so I contented myself with wishing the AI a good day, and hanging up.

And then I had occasion to order a book for Rick from the Grauniad - as they're English liberals I hardly expected efficiency or competence, but even so - I guess the library pixies despatched to get a copy got lost in the stacks, or maybe the scribe that is preparing my hand-written copy is drunk ... despite the assurance on the site that I would receive an email when the order was stuck in the post that never actually happened, and it was only when I rang (and was put on hold for ten minutes) that I learnt that my order had been sent out on the 12th. With alarmingly good timing, it arrived on the 23rd. Brexit, I guess.

In other news, I seem to recall (admittedly rather vaguely) talking about the project to install some wind turbines at Moux. There was a public meeting (in the disused toilet that now holds the filing cabinets from 1947) and public opinion having been rightfully disregarded, the process proceeded to the next step, the expertise. This was done and the report handed in, and lo! Moux was an ideal spot for windmills!

But my dumb has never been more founded, and you may colour me speechless, for apparently the mairie has asked for a contre-expertise, to say that Moux is not in fact a good place to install aeoliens, and this despite the fact that the project would have involved them being built on land owned by M. Bollano, ex-maire and greasy eminence of the village.

I is perplex. Maybe the Dear Leader is growing balls - although I rather doubt it - more likely, I suspect, is the possibility that should a wind farm not be built then compensation would be paid ... it's sad how cynical one can become.

Whatever, it's been but a week since Rick set a match to his traditional solstice balefire (paraffin is a great boon to the budding arsonist) and it is already starting to feel like Spring, though the year's not even ended. The days are lengthening perceptibly, the evening light is glorious, and the lazy tramontane wind has been notable by its absence. It'll all end in tears, I know, but I am shamelessly profiting from it whilst I can. And did I say that it's up to 18° in the afternoon some days, hotter if you're in the sun and out of the breeze?

Come to that, having better things to do the other weekend I took the pack out for a decent walk. We is at the eastern extremity of the montagne d'Alaric, a limestone outcropping that stretches some 20km east from Carcassonne, and reaches the dizzy height of 590m. (I know. It's the best we can do around here.)

From that extremity there are two lower ridges that go a few km further east, with a sheltered plain between, and when you leave Moux by the south-west you go through a natural cutting in the northern ridge and from thence east to Fontcouverte (the true birthplace of our famous Saint Régis), follow the GR77 south and west up into the Alaric, or just go straight ahead, crossing the plain and following the rough road up and over the southern ridge.

So that's what we did. Alarmingly beautiful in its savage way, with dew still on the spiderwebs covering the moss on the rocky slopes on the north, sunlight filtering through the pines above, and a bright provençal blue sky and the air was chill. Then we'd get out into a clearing, or a little plateau, and off with the jacket because too hot, past the ripped-up earth where the sangliers had been looking for something to eat, and on and up under the sun.

Anyway, the year is coming to an end so I guess I should just wish you a Furry New Bear, and leave it at that. Mind how you go, now.


  1. And a hoppy new beer yourself. You will be delighted to know that the weather in Wellyton has turned to the vile side of dismal, with gale-force winds and low-flying wetness.

  2. Your kinderling are both well. Malyon is looking forward to spending $2000 to have her idiot dog shifted to Brisbane. Jeremy was disconsolate at the prospect of a formal Xmas Dinner with his formal relatives and his grandmother, so I gave him my "White Mischief" t-shirt from the Garage Brewery to wear, the one covered with a motif of fornicating bunnies.