Tuesday, August 17, 2010

La Belle France: Douze Points

For the past couple of nights we've been staying here, and very lovely it is too. It's in Nontron in the Dordogne (you are correct, Mr Pudding, it's not Nonton as I called it in my previous post!)

At the back of the house is a sheer drop so the balcony looks over a steep, wooded valley. It's a beautiful view.

Last night, after midnight, I looked out of the window and the valley was pitch dark. I could hear two owls calling to each other - one doing the "to whit" part and one answering with the "to whoo". I never saw them but I could track their movements across the valley by listening to their calls - and at the same time I was looking at all the stars and watching the occasional tiny flashing light of an aeroplane crossing the sky.

I love all the wildlife that we've seen in France. The places that we've visited have been predominantly rural and I've seen many animals that aren't that common in Britain these days, sadly.

As we drove through a village, I saw a red squirrel carrying some item of food or other.

On a boat trip in beautiful Brantome yesterday, dragonflies flew all round the boat and we saw two water voles swimming through the water.

There are swallows everywhere, swooping down and catching insects.

At the house in Burgundy where we stayed, bats were constantly flying in and out of the cellar. As we left the caves at Villars today, a really tiny bat was clinging to the roof in the doorway: I've never seen a bat at such close quarters before.

Of course, there are all of these in Britain too: it's just that the wildlife seems more plentiful here.

To me, one of the indicators of the niceness of a country is the plentifulness of its wildlife. And, of course, the beauty of its scenery and, crucially, the quality of its croissants.

I'm pretty impressed with France, I must say.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

"I'm pretty impressed with France, I must say." Yes. But is France impressed with you and your two roguish travelling companions?
Glad to hear that the break is going so well.

11:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we just saw the very same water voles in Brantôme this evening, swimming from side to side then climbing up to perch on boat propellers for a good preen!! Tanya & Angelo on holiday in France, 18.8.2010 (http://www.valle-maggia.ch)

10:11 pm  

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