Thursday, 12 March 2009
Living close to the river Loire
This morning I decided to walk down to the river with the dog. It's about a half hour round trip and about 10 minutes until I reach our nearest vineyard overlooking the river. The view is spectacular and one that I will never tire of. Comme elle est belle, la fleuve! Not a particularly beautiful morning but incredibly still, no leaves rustling, no cars driving by, no other sounds apart from the Woodpecker high up in a nearby tree. And I realise just how incredibly lucky we are to be living in this beautiful place, so close to the river Loire, surrounded by nature and vines and history. The little village of Le Thoureil sits alongside the river and although many of the old tuffeau houses are owned by Parisiens who frequent them only once or twice a year, it remains alive thanks to the Ecole Primaire located right on the riverfront next to the library. The 'cantine' has the best view one could wish for although I'm sure many of the children will only appreciate it much later on in life as they go about their day oblivious of the beauty of their surroundings.
Just above the river road and running parallel with it, is a track leading along to the cemetery. It runs along the back of the houses allowing a peek over their roof terraces, constructed when the houses were built by the wealthy merchants who used to sit and admire their wares toing and froing along the river. These days there is very little traffic on the water as the sandbanks make it impossible to navigate - even the boat that takes tourists out to see the rare birds embarrasses itself by being grounded from time to time.
This morning the river is still and glacial - no obvious sign of currents, nothing being swept along its way. Sometimes it seems more like the sea, with waves transporting branches swiftly down river. Most years, it floods (although it has not done so this year), halting traffic along the road and covering our nearby fields.
As I return back to our hamlet, I see the 'car' struggling up the hill to collect the school children, and my neighbour who has cycled out to the vineyard to continue pruning her vines. I realise I'm a million miles away from the economic crisis all around me (one that will affect our business as well I'm sure).