Wednesday, 18 April 2007
My corner of Southern France
The poor wretched souls were roasted alive, stretched out in agony on a rack. Defiant to the end not one single one of them abjured or denounced their faith. To this day it is possible to visit their final resting place high up in the Pyrenees and climb their mountain fastnesses at Montségur. I am of course talking about the Cathars for which the area of the Languedoc is now famous. Long before Dan Brown wrote the Da Vinci Code Simon de Montfort was riding the ancient droveways urging his men on to ever greater cruelties. Did you know for example that La Cité de Carcassonne is the second most visited attraction in France. I didn’t know either till I was told and if absolute truth be known had never even heard of Carcassonne although I do now know that on July 14th they have the most spectacular firework display in Europe. Kate Mosse’s best selling book The Labyrinth brings alive the ancient fortress fantastically although in the crowded summer months I would rather be taking a picnic along the Canal du Midi nearby in the shade of the plane trees.
It’s very easy to take for granted the area in which you live isn’t it ? Especially if like us you live in an area besieged by tourists and holiday makers. Its all too tempting to avoid these hot spots completely but sometimes when Wise Owl and I trot off down to the Mediteranean with our sun umbrellas and picnic we always come back so totally refreshed and enthused we wonder why we don’t play the tourist more often.
I’m sitting here with a slight breeze blowing through the sitting room, there’s a single cylinder tractor gently ticking over at the water pump in the village and a blackbird singing it’s heart out on the boughs of the blossom trees.
His Lordship has rolled back the cover of the pool and it’s twinkling rather invitingly. ‘64 degrees’ he proclaims in a triumphant fashion. I think he’s implying something.
Tempting wouldn’t you say ?