Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A not-Edward Thomas post - except that nature is the main protagonist. As I'm still in the Minervois, France and after a week in Provence, Thomas is less in my thoughts than usual. But the enthusiasm for walking has carried me through some long treks in very hot weather indeed.

I want to mention a marvellous camping site - not a 'site' in the usual sense but a spectacularly pretty farm with locations for tents or small camper-vans dotted around it, none in sight of another. Like wild camping but with WC's and hot showers after a moderate walk uphill. And a beautiful infinity pool with the mountains rising above it.

It belongs to a Dutch couple and most campers or gite-renters were Dutch, but not all. The farm, La Boucoule, is near Montbrun-les-Bains, on the Vaucluse/Drome border, on the northern slopes of Mont Ventoux. Their web-site, www.laboucoule.com, doesn't really do them justice - it was paradise! Great for young families - teens might get a bit grumpy.

Here are some more Provencal pictures, all from the Mont Ventoux area. I have never seen so many cyclists: how admirable they are! Several years ago we drove up Mont Ventoux and I recall very well the disapproving, even contemptuous , looks of the cyclists!  It was in the days when I was trying to be a poet and I did write about it:

We take the  twenty- mile notorious run

lazy by car, winding through oaks and beeches,

gentle and comely in dappled sunlight

passing the earnest panting cyclists,

with all their sweating  superiority.


Suddenly no trees - a startling desert of

white boulders formed from sea-salt

heralds the summit. Dark crests of mountains

range to the Alps, blue - silver, dipping and rippling

like waves seen at eyelevel swimming a choppy sea.


The cyclists arrive, greeting only those 

who undertook their altitude ordeal .

Petrarch climbed here with his brother,

Mistral wrote verses and Tommy Simpson died.

To be there was to share the extraordinary,


but the relentless sunlit stony glare

shows me my motorist’s second-rateness,

not being one of those, grey-haired

beneath their sharp bright helmets,

who are defying time.       

Leaving La Boucoule by tractor.


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