Tuesday 2 July 2013

picnic in the woods

Tuesday 11.30am.
I've been translating since seven o'clock and my late morning French class has just been cancelled at the last minute.

The sun is shining and I've had enough of lighting policies for one day.

There is only one thing for it. We grab the picnic basket, fill it with good things (organic spelt loaf and tomatoes, goats cheese, ripe peaches, olives and a thermos of chai tea) and head up for a dejeuner sur l'herbe in the fields above St Sauveur.

We spread picnic blanket and map of the valley out on the grass. Perched on a patch of grass on an otherwise wooded hillside, we have a sublime view up towards Barèges, across to Chèze and up to the pic du Bergons. We eat slowly in the midday sun, spreading copious amounts of bûche de chevre onto thick slices of the slightly nutty spelt loaf. Only one thing missing: on a oublié le vin. 

I drink in the view, watching the clouds gather and disperse on the Soum de Moustayou peak which towers above our place. Nico plays the favourite game of map maniacs, 'Spot the Peak'. In the long grass around us, bumblebees lazily gather pollen, ants occasionally nibble my bare feet and scent of heather and wild mountain thyme wafts through the air.

...After a couple of hours we feel a little more energetic and go on a foraging mission, rooting out wild herbs (thyme and chives) and mushrooms. We gather a modest basketful but are somewhat disappointed that the mushrooms are so thin on the ground today. Then we cross an old, beret-clad chap rooting around in the long grass and realise that, when in competition with un ancien, we are lucky to have found anything at all.

All too soon it is time to head back down to the village. There is just one more foraging spot that we have to stop by on the way, a little café by Napoléon bridge, where we find some delicious ice-creams waiting for us by the roadside...

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