Mirror mirror on the ground

Every year on 15 August my village Mirabel-aux-Baronnies turns into a big flea market cum party – it is the day of the Fête du village!

The greatest concentration of people is always around the wine-tasting stands, where all the nearby cooperatives and many independent wine producers have their wines on offer. You only have to pick up your tasting glass before embarking on your tasting adventure.

All over the village people set up small stands to sell toys no longer in use, clothes no longer in use, trinkets no longer in use, furniture no longer in use, chipped plates, worn-out shoes and well-read books. In the main street artists from the area showcase their handicraft and art work.

I remembered from previous years that some interesting items could be found in front of the church, and this was the case this year as well. There was for instance a whole collection of mirrors, which I went back to photograph a couple of times in the changing light.

If you needed a clarinet, a saxophone, a violin or a cello you might find something to your liking.

No village feast is complete without a band!

Among all the thousands of things for sale my eyes fell on a small table which could be mine for 5 euros. Hmmm. Needed some reflection. When I came back a little later the price had gone down.

Silly me still couldn’t make up my mind whether or not to make this investment so I went home. Then I suddenly realised how much I wanted to have that precise table so I hurried back.

It was gone.

Water and vine

My last post was about the enormous water masses at Victoria Falls. Well, the little river Eygues that flows near my village Mirabel-aux-Baronnies in southern France can’t really compete with the mighty Zambezi. There is no water fall, for instance.

The name Eygues (you can also spell it Aygues, Aigues or Aigue if you like) means “water”, by the way. Not a very innovative name for a river, but of course it is descriptive.

What is nice is that you can go for a walk along the river, there are six parts totalling some 30 km or so. It starts – or ends – in St Maurice-sur-Eygues, where you will be immersed in the vineyards and can easily, if you are a wine lover, start dreaming about the end product of the grapes.

Don’t you agree that the grass looks like a signposting saying “Look this way”?

I actually did look the way indicated by the grass, and discovered some photogenic leaves:

If  you would like to immerse yourself in the river after the strenuous (no, only joking, it is rather the opposite of strenuous) vineyard immersion, I’m sorry to disappoint you: at least around St Maurice it is not allowed, nor is it particularly inviting with all the shrubs and thorny branches you would have to pass through:

 

Why do I always get lost?

I love going for walks in the beautiful countryside around Mirabel-aux-Baronnies, and for that purpose I have a couple of guide books with itineraries, easy and difficult, short and long. The descriptions are rather detailed, with little maps and instructions telling you where to turn left and right, for instance “keep left and pass in front of the large cypress”, or “take the small path on the right and pass behind the abandoned barn”, or “pass below the medieval tower on your right”.

Although I do my utmost to follow the instructions to the letter, I almost always get lost somewhere along the line and find myself on a small winding path going uphill instead of a straight road going downhill. Not that it matters so much, I normally find my way back, but sometimes it shortens the walk, to my great irritation, and sometimes it makes it rather longer. Usually this is no problem either, provided it isn’t a hot day in the summer and I’m running out of water.

A couple of weeks ago I nearly managed though! I just took the wrong path at the very beginning and thus I found myself in front of the abandoned barn instead of behind it. This was easily remedied (although the right path was so overgrown that it was hardly visible), and I continued the walk without any further mishaps. And just a few days later I managed a whole circuit without getting lost in the slightest until the very end where again the path I should have taken wasn’t visible. I think that is a fairly good excuse for not noticing it. But overgrown paths are usually not why I get lost.

When I stroll around inhabited areas I hardly ever lose my way – I think I have a fairly good sense of orientation. So what is it then that makes me take the wrong turn so often in nature? I believe it is … nature!

The landscape, the views, the vineyards, the light – all these catch my attention to a much higher degree than the dry and factual descriptions in the guide books, especially if I walk with my camera, which is often the case.

Also in my defence I must add that it may happen that the indicated cypress just isn’t there anymore, perhaps due to a fierce autumn storm, or it may be that the abandoned barn has been restored and turned into an inhabited house and is no longer recognisable as a barn, or it may have been torn down. Sometimes it really is the guidebook and not me.