The devil’s forest

I’m developing a ‘Forêt de la Braconne’ obsession. I seem to spend all my days looking for maps of it and wanting to wander through its splendid glory. It’s a big piece of foresty land about 2 miles from our house, stretching almost to Angouleme, La Rochefoucauld and it includes many fascinating things, including forest roads, little lakes, devil stones, devil holes, moving caves (allegedly… I’m holding fire on actual belief until I see it move with my own eyes…) and a never-ending ability to get you lost.

I find myself, these days, being very ‘fairy-tale’. The woods, of course, make me feel all Hansel and Gretel, and I’m quite convinced I should be leaving a trail of pebbles lest we can’t find our way back to civilisation. But the Hansel and Gretel theme has continued – albeit accidentally – with my urge to push Steve into the fire. I don’t know why. When he is poking it, I feel almost compelled to send him face-first into it. It’s alarming. I’ve told him about this, but he still does it. And when I bring my red coat back from England, I shall be in full ‘Red-Riding-Hood’ mode.

Autumn seems a longer season here – it’s definitely not winter yet, despite the cold snaps from time to time. The ferns have faded, the leaves are taking their time to change. In England, autumn seems to be a couple of weeks between wet summer and long wet winter. Here you get the full range. This morning, we had autumn mists. A couple of days ago, we had bright, cold, blue skies. Little rain, as yet. The whole world has faded and is seen as if through a veil. The corn that remains is skeletal and grey-yellow; the trees are soft brown and the sky is filled with amazing hues that words cannot describe. Last night, a pale orange glow settled over the fields as the sun went down – yet the night before, the sky was a vibrant orange-pink, the clouds lilac. Though the colours are softer, they are just as beautiful. I don’t think I ever appreciated autumn like this.

I’m starting to make an autumn quilt (although, as Mr Stephen rightly points out, I am a starter, not a finisher, so watch this space!) with scraps of yellow, red and orange satin (used to make ‘Rey Mysterio’ style luchadore wrestling pants for Jake) which I’m currently sewing leaves on to. I’ve a vague idea of how I want it to look. I saw a fantastic quilt in a patchwork magazine, and it kind of inspired me. Although, if you search for ‘Autumn quilts’ you get so many fabulous designs I think I’ve died and gone to quilting heaven!!


2 thoughts on “The devil’s forest

  1. Love the first photo of the dry leaves!

    I’m afraid I need another translation: “devil stones” and “devil holes”?

    Sounds like Steve better start developing a “sixth sense”! What an odd compulsion!


  2. The ‘devil stone’ is La pierre ceinturee – a stone which the devil allegedly carried on his back. He does a lot of odd things round these parts. It has the imprints of the chains he used to strap it across his back! The devil hole is our ‘Grand Canyon’ as Jake calls it, La Grande Fosse – a ‘big pit’ – some 100 metres across and 50 metres deep – a karst which apparently the devil tried to fill with stones before morning in order to win the souls of the local populace. He failed. However, the ‘fagot de diablotin’ – little (very gay) signs of a dancing imp, mark the pathways. The locals are quite proud of being in such close working relationship with the devil. Loving his work!!! He’s very much under the thumb of the local residents, from the look of things.

    I don’t know where this compulsion to push Steve in the fire come from. Perhaps from the fact he sneaks up on me all the time in order to make me scream. I’m nothing if not a sadist and to see him in pain would give me a strange pleasure.

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